Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue

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Halsey’s Typhoon is the story of World War II’s most unexpected disaster at sea. In the final days of 1944, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is the Pacific theater’s most popular and colorful naval hero. After a string of victories, the “Fighting Admiral” and his thirty-thousand-man Third Fleet are charged with protecting General MacArthur’s flank during the invasion of the Philippine island of Mindoro. But in the midst of the landings, Halsey attempts a complicated refueling maneuver and unwittingly drives his 170 ...

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Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue

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Overview

Halsey’s Typhoon is the story of World War II’s most unexpected disaster at sea. In the final days of 1944, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is the Pacific theater’s most popular and colorful naval hero. After a string of victories, the “Fighting Admiral” and his thirty-thousand-man Third Fleet are charged with protecting General MacArthur’s flank during the invasion of the Philippine island of Mindoro. But in the midst of the landings, Halsey attempts a complicated refueling maneuver and unwittingly drives his 170 ships into the teeth of a massive typhoon. Halsey’s men find themselves battling 90-foot waves and 150 mph winds—amid the chaos, three ships are sunk and nearly nine hundred sailors and officers are swept into the Philippine Sea. For three days, small bands of survivors battle dehydration, exhaustion, sharks, and the elements awaiting rescue at the hands of the courageous lieutenant commander Henry Lee Plage, who, defying orders, sails his tiny destroyer escort, the USS Tabberer, back into the storm to rescue drifting sailors. Halsey’s Typhoon is a gripping true tale of courage and survival against impossible odds—and one of the finest untold World War II sagas of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In December 1944, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey and the U.S. 3rd Fleet confronted an onslaught as relentless and deadly as any Japanese attack. A powerful typhoon, surging with 150 mile-per-hour winds, struck the warships in the deepest, most shark-infested waters of the Pacific. Tossed around like playthings, dozens of ships suffered severe damage; but the fate of three destroyers was even worse. The USS Hull, USS Monaghan, and USS Spence capsized in the 70-foot waves, each trapping its crew in a giant steel coffin. In all, 790 men died. Using recently declassified official documents, Halsey's Typhoon captures the unfolding of this "natural" wartime calamity.
Publishers Weekly
At the height of the Second World War in 1944, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was struck by a typhoon that sank three destroyers and drowned 800 sailors. Drury (The Rescue Season) and Clavin (Dark Noon: The Final Voyage of the Fishing Boat Pelican) draw on proceedings of a navy board of inquiry and eyewitness recollections to recreate the catastrophe. On the one hand, this is an absorbing if disjointed maritime disaster saga in which shrieking winds and monstrous waves batter warships to pieces. It's also a study in judgment under pressure, as hard-charging Adm. William "Bull" Halsey (motto: "Kill Japs") keeps his fleet positioned in the storm's path because of faulty weather reports, accusations that he improperly left his station during the earlier Battle of Leyte Gulf and general overaggressiveness. Closer to the waterline, the authors contrast the fecklessness of Capt. James Marks of the U.S.S. Hull, which sank, to the steadiness of Capt. Henry Plage of the U.S.S. Tabberer, which braved mountainous seas to rescue survivors. The trumped-up leadership parable is perhaps unfair to Halsey and Marks. Still, the authors make their account a vivid tale of tragedy and gallantry at sea. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to adult.

Admiral William “Bull” Halsey was the very image of a pugnacious hell-for-leather sea warrior, and he personified the desperate naval struggle that finally devastated Imperial Japan’s dream of empire. Yet even as the world was ringing with his fame, two incidents almost destroyed his reputation and threatened him with the humiliation of a court martial. The first of these took place during the epic Battle of Leyte Gulf, when Halsey fell for a Japanese ruse and abruptly abandoned General MacArthur’s invasion of the Philippines in order to chase down and destroy four empty enemy carriers. The battle was won anyway and the invasion succeeded, but very little of this was due to Halsey’s actions. What happened next might have been written by Shakespeare: the chastened admiral, on his way to refurbish his exhausted forces, led his Third Fleet straight into the teeth of the most intense Pacific cyclone of the century. Shrieking winds and mountainous waves smashed into Halsey’s ships, damaging his largest men-of-war and capsizing three destroyers, which were lost with all of their crewmen. The maritime tragedy was later immortalized by Herman Wouk in The Caine Mutiny. The authors have taken this high drama and presented it in a way that will appeal to a generation now far removed from these events. In their narrative the entire climax of the Pacific War comes to life again, the battles meticulously recast and explained in enough detail to satisfy the most astute military scholar, yet with enough excitement to please YA readers. In particular, they have presented all of the evidence of the oncoming storm that was available to Halsey at the time, in all of itscontradictions and uncertainties. Should the Third Fleet continue on its course, or flee? Ultimately the decision came down to Halsey’s own judgment, and the reader is left to decide if it was prudent or flawed from the outset. In all, this is an excellent piece of military reporting, recommended to all YA and adult collections. Reviewer: Raymond Puffer, Ph.D.
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

Kirkus Reviews
A tale of natural disaster, bad judgment and heroism during World War II. In December 1944, a typhoon overtook a U.S. naval fleet that, under the leadership of Admiral William Halsey, was sailing in the Philippine Sea. The catastrophe was legendary-indeed, some believe it to be the basis for Herman Wouk's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny. All told, three ships were destroyed, and almost 800 men died. Drawing on recently declassified documents, Drury (The Rescue Season, 2001, etc.) and Clavin (Dark Noon, not reviewed, etc.) recreate the terrifying days during which the crew battled the elements. But this is not just a tale of men against nature. It's also a tale of men for, and against, other men: Lieutenant Commander Henry Lee Plage of the USS Tabberer flouted orders in a daring rescue effort. The most moving scenes come at the end of the book, as the survivors reckon with the fate of their many dead comrades. Sailors on the USS Knapp, having recovered a body so mutilated by sharks that it was unidentifiable, recited a service from the Book of Common Prayer, and committed the body back to the sea. Moments later, another body floated up from the depths-it was Lieutenant Lloyd Rust, and he, miraculously, was still alive. The authors' prose is often vivid: The typhoon created not just waves, but "vertical sheet[s] of ocean," slamming against the ships, and the sun that beat down on men struggling to stay afloat is "a red dahlia." Drury and Clavin have managed to avoid the problems that so often plague books with two authors-jerky breaks in the narrative, chapters cast in radically different voices. Still, the book is marred by weak characterization-even the heroic Plage neverbecomes three-dimensional. The inherent drama of the events compensates for the sometimes lackluster storytelling. Agent: Nat Sobel/Sobel Weber Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871139481
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/10/2007
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Drury

A contributing editor and foreign correspondent for Men’s Health magazine, BOB DRURY has reported from numerous war zones. His book The Rescue Season, was made into a documentary by the History Channel.

TOM CLAVIN is the author of seven books, including Dark Noon: The Final Voyage of the Fishing Boat “Pelican.”

ERIC CONGER has voiced over 150 fiction and nonfiction audiobooks. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Paris, he also works as a writer and playwright (The Eclectic Society. He lives in Weehawken, New Jersey, with his wife, Gayle, and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2006

    This Story Has Been Told Before

    When I read that 'Halseys Typhoon' was 'an untold rescue,' I blanched. Havng read 'Halsey's Typhoons' by Hans Christan Adamsom, Co., USAF (Ret) and George Francois Kosco, Capt. USN (Ret), published i 1967, I was astonished at this claim. 'Halsey's Typhoons' (Yes, there were two of them) is a true first hand account of the rescue. Kosco was an eyewitness. Moreover, the original book contains dramatic photographs of the typhoons and their impact on the ships. Drury and Clavin in 'Halsey's Typhoon' deals with the first of the typhoons, Cobra, and not with the second, Viper. Their map of the the path of Cobra is virtualy the same as the map in the original, only slightly modified. That they have used virtually the same title is unconscionable. Moreover the hero of the rescue, Henry L. Plage is quoted at length in the orginal, so this is not an 'untold rescue' by any means. I do not think that the mere listing of 'Halsy's Typhoon' in the middle of the selected biograpy along with numerous other books, exonerates Drury and Calvin from their responsibility to disclose the extent of their reliance, including paraphrasing, on 'Halsey's Typhoon.' Their publishers should be made aware of this, if they were not aware of it from the outset. What the authors have done is irresponsible.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2010

    Great, but Flawed

    Halsey's Typhoon is one of a few recently published WWII books. The subtitle is not accurate. The story of Typhoon Cobra has been told many times, in fact, someone WHO WAS ACTUALLY THERE wrote a book titled Halsey's Typhoons (emphasizing plural and singular). Yes, there were two typhoons.

    Other than this misleading title, there are many other errors throughout the book. The authors have overdone metaphors, as if in a competition to see who could speak the most figuratively. One of the metaphors compares Halsey's destroyers to "Mrs. O'Leary's cows". Really, what does that mean?

    The authors do not know very much about the seamanship and the navy. I have read many WWII novels and histories and have found many conflicting statements. Firstly, Admiral King was not 'Navy Chief of Staff', the position does not exist. They must have been trying to implement different word choice that distract from the meaning of the story. The authors fail to explain ballasting effectively, probably because they do not understand the process. The two authors refer to the flags flown on the ships as "battle gidurons", which are used by land forces, not the navy. Destroyers are constantly referred to as DDs, and destroyer escorts as DEs. As far as I know, this book isn't a technical manual. It is as if the authors attempted to sound like they knew what they were taking about.

    Other than the authors obvious lack of basic seamanship and understanding of the navy, the book is very entertaining. The experiences of the sailors and ensigns is quite astounding. They do a very good job at making the story imminent, and are very good at expressing emotion.

    That is why this book earns three stars. There are many other books out there that accomplish all of the above criteria. I enjoyed reading it but think that anyone with a navy hunch will find the flaws distracting. This is why I recommend Down to the Sea by Bruce Henderson or Battle of the Leyte Gulf.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2009

    Great Read!

    I was impressed with this book's readability. The story was told dramatically and with specificity, flowing seamlessly from descriptions of men, ships, winds, and sea, as if written by one rather than two historian-writers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    A great Read!

    Halsey's Typhoon was quite readable yet full of fascinating information. I appreciated the structure of the book, the quotations heading each section, and the way it handled the difficulties faced by those attempting to define the nature and power of the storm. The book takes a very balanced view of Halsey himself, letting readers make their own decisions as to his competency as a commander. I highly recommend the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2009

    Halsey's Typhoon - Recommended Reading

    This is a well-written book that keeps your interest throughout. Well-known sailors such as Bull Halsey and lesser-known sailors like future president of the United States, Gerald Ford are key players in this documentary. With wind speeds of 125 knots, barometric pressures as low as 26.30 and frequent knockdowns of sturdy US Navy ships, it was a true testament to the seamanship America has produced. Excellent reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2014

    To Mistyfeather

    Yes it is we are at next res. -Dovespots

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2014

    Mistyfeather

    Is this stilll DarkClan? :'(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    GalaxyPool

    She pads in and looks around. "Hello?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Hel thunderclan

    Hyancith res one thank you all who help prevent the raid

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Stormfang

    Landed on his paws. "You could've tried a little harder to get that across in tha first place!" He snarled back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    SnowBlaze

    She shrieked as he attacked her. "W-wolfdash!! What are you doing?!" She cried. Her heart began to race, her eyes scanning frantically for a possible escape route. "Help!!" She screamed. Snow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Wolfdash

    He followed her, shooting a glance at Stormfang.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2014

    SpruceTail

    He padded back to camp.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Silverheart

    Sleeps

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Honey

    She pads around looking around in the den. She gets cold and pads to res 56

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    Darkness

    Oh yeah! ;)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Bloodspill

    No. Youre grounded for a week.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    Ж Weather for Weeks 12/8 - 12/21 Ж

    Weather for Days 12/8 - 12/14 - <p> Monday: Light rain & a dim, cold sun <br> Tuesday: Medium rain & cloudy <br> Wednesday: Downpour raining wirh clouds blocking out all light <br> Thursday: Freezing rain all day & night with no sun <br> Friday: Downpour of freezing rain & flouds all over the territory. <br> Saturday: Rain eases in the night & lightly snows the whole day with a dim sun. <br> Sunday: Snows ha<_>rder. <p> Weather for Days 12/15 - 12/21 - <br> Monday: Light Blizzard with sunl <br> Tuesday: Medium Blizzard with little sun. <br> Wednesday: No sun & dea<_>thly cold blizzard. <br> Thursday: Same as Wednesday <br> Friday: Snow up to 10 feet cover the camp, still snowing. <br> Saturday: Snow stops but clouds cover the sun. <br> Sunday: Clear, sunny day but snow is EVERYWHERE & snow does not melt untill Febu<_>ary. <p> More Upcoming Weather Will Be Posted ~ Nightstar of DarkClan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Striking

    Was gone

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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