The story of Mike Moran and the men of the Boise, unfairly nicknamed in the Service, ""the reluctant dragon"". The Boise was shot with bad luck, always too late or too soon for action against the enemy, as she plied her way in convoy duty, with her merrarin' to go. When her chance came, almost a year after Pearl Harbor, off Guadalcanal, she won the right to a record of the net result, blazoned now on the forward superstructure, of downing three Jap destroyers and three Jap cruisers. The third cruiser almost wrote finis to that tale, for the Boise was ordered out of the fight, in flames. This is the story of the ship and the men, of the training during the bleak months of unwanted calm, of the spirit that animated them, and of how that training and that spirit served when challenge came. The pattern follows the pattern Forester used in The Ship -- as one sees the different parts of the ship in action, -- gunnery, antiaircraft, damage control, engine room, emergency hospital, and so on. One question lingers, after turning the last page -- did the narrator -- or the men who gave him his material -- soft-pedal too much the part played by other vessels in the task force of which the Boise was but one. Only to the Salt Lake City, coming to the rescue when the Boise was in flames, and taking over from that point, is more than passing mention given. The story would have been more credible had it been more generous.