The gunners waited, the boats waited; the night held its breath""... and so does the reader, repeatedly, during this vivid history of the PT boat in World War II, before and after. Off Corregidor, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, the coast meant the black coast because little boats functioned safely only at night, attacking shipping with torpedoes, later with an assortment of guns, sometimes carrying troops, strafing enemy-held villages, collecting intelligence from natives or putting agents ashore. On D-Day and at the Battle of Leyte the PT's were the first craft to be launched against the enemy; by mid-1945 the two at Corregidor had grown into a fleet of more than two hundred in the Philippines alone. Mr. Heatter skippered one, which accounts for the immediacy of the descriptions and the appreciation of individual heroism; he understands the boats too, does not regret their displacement, recognizes that another need will produce another craft. This is in the upper echelon of World War II combat histories, unsentimental but stirring.