EAST OF FAREWELL by Howard Hunt

EAST OF FAREWELL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book will be -- in my mind -- so indissolubly linked with Signed With Their Honour (reviewed above) -- that it is difficult to report them separately. Where one book takes the reader into the very spirit of the fliers, the other does the same for the men manning a destroyer on patrol duty. Both crystallize their own segments of this war unlike all other wars so inescapably that they become reality and not fiction:- these things must have happened so..East of Farewell does what Lightship did in making the reader learn to know intimately the officers, their backgrounds, the events that molded them and brought them down to the present. Howard Hunt does it more succintly; it is not his major story, as it was in Lightship. Here is an impelling picture of the battle of the Atlantic, ""not a kid glove ocean these days"" -- of the deadly monotony strained by the underlying tenseness none would acknowledge. One gets the sense of slow motion progress, of the virtually unspoken fear that oil will give out and leave them stranded, of the resentment at feeling cut off by imposed radio silence, by the loss of the part of the convoy and the other destroyers, by the failure of the guard to contact them as they approach their goal, of the grim sense of responsibility towards the merchantmen they are escorting. The days are broken by incidents -- the sighting of an abandoned ship's raft, and all it implies; the necessity of breaking radio silence by notifying Washington of their plight; the danger of being forced to signal one of the merchantmen to douse their running lights -- and always the watch for lurking subs. Then the torpedoing -- three merchantmen lost in quick succession, and the battle between destroyer and submarine, ending in victory. One of the most significant scenes is near the end, when the rules of the sea impel the men to make all shipshape, get haircuts, shaves, and get into uniforms as they approach what stands for civilization again. Hard-biting, tough-spoken, realistic -- but so intensely human and alive that it is never crude and crass. A book for men chiefly.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1942
Publisher: Knopf