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Book Title: De admiraal|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 520 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.1
The author of the book: James Bassett
Edition: Scheltens & Giltay
Date of issue: 1962
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If "The Caine Mutiny" was the penultimate Jack London-esque sea story and "The Sand Pebbles" was the tale of an archetypal sailor (or it could be argued "The Last Detail"), "Harm's Way" is the definitive Admiral's novel. The author, James Bassett was a Public Affairs officer on Admiral "Bull" Halsey's staff during WWII and I assume, his observations of that period are the basis for this novel.
Bassett's characters are finely rendered, especially the protagonist, "Bull" Halsey's doppelganger Adm. Rockwell Torrey (played by a subdued, cancer-stricken John Wayne in the film version). Speaking of which, if you've seen the film, there are enough differences in the book to make it worth your while. After having read the novel, I can appreciate the fantastic job Otto Preminger and his screenwriters did in translating it to celluloid.
This is mostly a character-driven novel, with the majority (but not all) of the action taking place in various operations shacks and ship bridges from Hawaii to the South Pacific. In this book there are more pages devoted to bureaucratic bloodshed than that which occurs in battle. Bassett makes those behind-the-scenes conflicts compelling as any description of violent warfare. All said, this is an excellent volume in the canon of Naval literature.
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Read information about the authorJames Elias Bassett Jr. (1912-1978) was an American newspaper editor and author born in Glendale, California and raised in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Maine, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After college, after which he returned to Los Angeles, California and joined the Times as a reporter. He later served the paper as aviation writer, political analyst and director of the editorial pages until he was named associate editor in 1971. At it's sister publication, The Mirror, he held the posts of political editor, feature editor and city editor.
He entered the United States Navy as lieutenant junior grade in 1941, and went on to become public relations officer for Fleet Admiral William F. (Bull) Halsey. He later retired from the service as a captain, and returned to work at The Times. He held the Bronze Star Medal with combat V.
Bassett took leaves from The Times to serve in Richard Nixon's vice presidential and presidential campaigns of 1952, 1956 and 1960 and was public relations director for the Republican National Committee in 1954.
He drew on his World War II experiences for his novel Harm's Way, which became a bestseller after its publication in 1962 and was made into a motion picture, In Harm's Way starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda.
Other works include, Commander Prince, USN published in 1971, a novel dealing mainly with the events surrounding the Battle of the Java Sea, and The Sky Suspended, published in 1968.
Bassett retired October 1977 after serving 43 years on the staffs of The Los Angeles Times and The Mirror. He was working on two books at the time of his death - one an autobiography and the other a volume on great sea admirals he had observed in the Pacific in World War II. He died in Malibu, California.
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