A story of poor leadership in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
In this debut nonfiction work, Krouse draws connections between his grandfather’s experience on the USS Partridge and Herman Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Caine Mutiny, both stories of ineffective, potentially dangerous captains who created dysfunctional environments on their ships. Krouse doesn’t claim that The Caine Mutiny’s Captain Queeg is in any way based on Adnah Caldin, captain of the Partridge, but uses Wouk’s work as a lens to guide his interpretation of the story he pieces together with help from the surviving sailors. The Partridge began life as a World War I minesweeper, and in World War II, it patrolled the Caribbean until it was transferred to Europe, where its tugboat capabilities were put to work in building the offshore infrastructure that supported the D-Day invasion. Krouse’s grandfather and the other sailors found life on the ship more difficult once Caldin took command, and they often ran afoul of his arbitrary, harsh, or nonsensical orders. When Caldin’s erratic behavior culminated in his leaving the bridge during an emergency, another parallel to The Caine Mutiny, he was removed from command while the Partridge’s construction work led it into danger. Although Caldin was effectively the story’s villain, he was not its center, as Krouse learned from his interviews: “Talking nearly 65 years after events, not one crew member could recall Caldin’s name off the top of their head.” The book tells the stories of many of the Partridge’s sailors, presenting well-rounded portraits of ordinary people in a bad situation. Krouse does a good job of maintaining the tension while slowly revealing the Partridge’s fate, and he does so without veering into melodrama. Wouk’s Navy experience and numerous excerpts from The Caine Mutiny provide a valuable context and a narrative anchor to a story filled with detailed history and persuasive analysis of how one leader failed his men.
This well-written history draws connections to an iconic novel and illuminates the lives of World War II sailors.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)