The sense of immediacy and authenticity so often lacking in historical chronicles is captured here for the U.S. Navy by the simple device of bringing together the letters, essays, eye-witness accounts, ballads, journals, logbooks and war diaries, written by officers and men who, themselves, served in the Navy. From John Paul Jones' ascription of an encounter with the British ship-of-war Drake in 1778 (""the action was warm, close and obstinate"") to the world-circling cruise of the atomic submarine as logged by its skipper, this keeps up a fascinating flow of intense, often bloody, experiences at sea. What is best is that an ""official"" history was eschewed by Editor Merrill, who instead concentrates on men speaking and writing in their own language. And this language becomes a bit chilling in the cool, filtered, modern Igoept by Captain Beach of the Triton. Nearly all the great U.S. naval disasters, the sinking of the Maine, the great ships lost in the Battle of the Pacific, and every great U.S. naval engagement are recorded through the eyes of men who were there. Public and academic libraries will appreciate this single-source, documentary record.