HARM'S WAY by James Bassett


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This long, popular novel of the first year of the war in the Pacific is by a journalist who is a political analyst for the Los Angeles Times who was also Admiral Halsey's press officer in the war. The principal figure is a U. S. Navy Captain, later Admiral, Rockwell Torrey, whose character (a steadfast, resolute, tough old sea dog) if not career may well be modeled on that of Admiral Halsey. Torrey is at sea on the day of Pearl Harbor, but his ship is damaged in action and he finds himself under a cloud as a staff officer in Hawaii. He gets his break- and the pace of the book quickens- when he is chosen to command a small task force of ships, troops and planes which for some time has been bogged down in an assault on a small island which is a necessary stepping stone for a larger operation. In both, smaller and larger, Torrey must battle not only with the Japanese but also with his nominal superior who has political friends. The best part of the book, by far, is the climatic naval battle where the American task force is faced with appalling, and in some instances, suicidal odds. Here the book can be described as truly exciting. But Mr. Bassett cannot handle character nearly so well as the combat scenes, particularly where it concerns, as it often does, the love of life of the Admiral and the closest subordinates (i.e. the Admiral's romance with a Navy nurse- he is divorced from his cool Bostonian wife)... A book with wide audience possibilities- which the publishers will sponsor with enthusiasm. Watch it.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1962
Publisher: World