Customer Reviews for

Down to the Sea: An Epic Story of Naval Disaster and Heroism in World War II

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 12 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    Mind-boggling detail! Hard to put down.

    An awesome book, both in its details and writing! This should be a model for any historical account, especially modern warfare.

    The account contains events, both major and miniscule, that most people would never realize about the war in the Pacific, no matter how much they thought they knew about it.
    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in WWII battles, or the sea, or both.

    My only complaint is the lack of explanatory maps, other than the (excellent) typhoon chart near the back of the book (?) which I would have loved to know about at Chapter 11.
    Great read!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    My father Samuel 'Sonny' Rosen was one of the sailors who was killed in Typhoon Cobra on December 18, 1944. Bruce Henderson's book Down to the Sea is a masterful recounting of the horror of the loss of three U.S. Navy destroyers in that typhoon. He writes about the technical issues surrounding the tracking of the storm, the military necessity at the time and juxtaposes all of this with poignant stories of the sailors who died in the typhoon. He also does not spare the commanders of the Pacific Fleet and the board of inquiry in their roles before and after the disaster. For me personally, it helped understand in greater detail the agony of all of those involved who died. I was able to get a picture of the last minutes of my father's life, the father who died before I was born.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Very good book

    I thought the way the book was written was very good. The manner in which it told the stories of the ships and people involved were done to tell the total story of the 3 ships. It was not surprising that the officers responsible for the disasters were not found at fault even though they were at responsible. However, anyone having been a enlisted man in the armed forces knows better than to say anything against a officer as the results can be devistating, even if correct. It was a book that is hard to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    I was never a fan of history, but after reading this book, histo

    I was never a fan of history, but after reading this book, history has taken on a whole new meaning. Henderson brings life and real people to a time in history which used to be dates and numbers to me when I learned about it in school. You feel like you're a part of history reading this book and it makes the sacrifice our veterans made for this country so much more real. The things these people did are just unbelievable. Henderson did his research to gather first account information on what really happened and what these amazing people were like. I felt like I knew the crew members on the ship.

    The book was a little hard to follow since it describes in so much detail the lives of different people involved that you can lose the flow of the story, but you quickly learn to understand his style of writing and it makes for a more personal read.

    All in all, a great book and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great story. It is an important part of history.

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Interesting Navy Story in WW11

    I am a budding WW11 history buff and this a good way to start with a Navy saga. Interesting information about true events of WW11. I enjoyed the book.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    A compelling true story.

    Well, Mr. Henderson kept my attention throughout. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to have been caught in the raging typhoon these brave sailors went through. I heard of this story once when I was a civilian guest aboard the USS Gettysburg, a Navy destroyer. I was on the wing tiip off the bridge talking with the captain of the ship and commented about never hearing of a Navy ship going down at sea. He told me the story about the three ships, which were the focus of this amazing book. When I saw the book in print I just had to read more. I was particularly struck by how the high command steered these ships into harm's way, how weather reports were ignored and how insecure officers (only a few) risked the lives of their men to avoid having to make tough decisions. This book has a lot of heros and for a veteran such as myself, it drew a tear or two when I thought about the sacrifices men made, standing by their posts in what surely they must have known was their certain death. A solid read. Well tod.

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    A Men Against the Sea Story Where Nature Wins

    "Down to the Sea" is the story of the US Navy's disastrous encounter with a typhoon in December 1944, which ultimately ended up costing it three destroyers and almost 800 men. Author Bruce Henderson relies on a great number of first person interviews with survivors from the ships that sank to put readers back into that place and time - when World War II in the Pacific was reaching its climax.

    The crewmen of the destroyers that form the centerpiece of the book, especially the doomed Hull, Monaghan and Spence, and the heroic destroyer escort Tabberer, paint a vivid picture of life at sea during wartime, from the stark terror of combat, to the tremendous importance good food can have on morale, to the unique camaraderie aboard the smaller warships.

    Where the book pulls no punches - or lacks balance, depending on your point of view - is when the survivors discuss the actions of their captains leading up to the capsizing of the three destroyers. For a different viewpoint consider reading Typhoon: The Other Enemy, by Capt. C. Raymond Calhoun, captain of another destroyer in the same typhoon, that nearly shared the fate of its sister ships.

    One thing that is very jarring about this book - Henderson uses a "lot of" little short "quotes that really" don't contribute much to the "overall" telling of the story "but sure" make it harder "to read" because of "all the quotation marks."

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    Posted January 8, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted April 17, 2011

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    Posted January 14, 2011

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    Posted December 27, 2009

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    Posted April 23, 2012

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    Posted August 19, 2010

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