Book Review: Battleship Sailor by Theodore C. Mason

Posted July 1st, 2015 by Devin and filed in History, Review

Just finished reading this title. A fantastic look at enlisted life in the Pre-WWII U.S. Navy:
Battleship SailorBattleship Sailor by Theodore C. Mason

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mason has done a fantastic job of describing the life of an enlisted man on a battleship on the eve of WWII. His description of arriving at the training command in San Diego in 1940 was almost exactly the same as mine in 1988: the same late night arrival, not knowing what’s going on, finding an open bunk in a strange barracks in the dark, and the following days of figuring out where one belongs in a totally foreign new world.

His descriptions of time in the fleet also show how little the Navy changed in a half-century, with the boredom of watches, the cliques that form among the men of the same ratings, and the grim predictability of life on a man of war.

The section on Pearl Harbor is actually a minor part of the book, taking up very little of the word count. What is there, though, is well worth reading. His eyewitness account of the battle from the battle-top of USS California provide a unique and focused view of the events, and the rumors that came afterwards.

Very well written, witty and concise, this is one of the best history books, written by someone who was actually present, that I’ve ever read. Highly recommended.

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