A gripping account of a natural disaster within a man-made one: war.


A U.S. sailor during World War II recollects his harrowing experiences aboard a Navy destroyer besieged by a typhoon in this debut memoir. 

Robert J. Loyd was born in 1927 in Annapolis, a town in rural Missouri with fewer than 500 inhabitants. His childhood wasn’t always easy—his father died suddenly from appendicitis when the boy was just 5—but he eventually felt relatively happy. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, though, the national mood darkened and he became eager to do his part. He decided to enlist in the Navy when he was only 16, falsifying forms to conceal the fact that he fell two years short of the age requirement. When his mother received the news, her grief was inconsolable, but she supported her son, and he decamped for Idaho for basic training. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the USS Dewey, a destroyer that was part of a naval fleet that handled bombing, patrolling, and escort missions in the South Pacific. In 1943, the Dewey made its way to Pearl Harbor, and in December 1944, the ship faced an adversary more formidable than any weapon the Axis Powers possessed: a typhoon. Low on fuel, Capt. Raymond Calhoun made a bold decision to take the ship directly into the storm, later nicknamed Cobra, which boasted winds as high as 185 miles per hour. The vessel, which began to take on a dangerous amount of water, made it into the storm’s eye, providing a brief moment of refuge. But it was nearly destroyed exiting the other side. This vivid memoir—co-authored by Loyd’s daughter-in-law, Donna—ably captures the terrifying force of the tempest: “The deafening roar of the wind increased, paralleling the intense, unrelenting pitching and crashing of the ship. Powerless, we clung to our leather straps and belts in the dark recesses of our iron ship in a vast ocean in the middle of a raging typhoon.” The authors interpret the sailor’s unlikely survival as a miracle (“Every man who had survived the typhoon on the Dewey felt certain he had come face-to-face with a higher power in the South Pacific those December days in 1944”). Given this riveting account, the reader may be inclined to agree. Compact and exciting, this volume is an excellent peek into World War II naval life. 

A gripping account of a natural disaster within a man-made one: war. 

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5320-1231-0

Page Count: 102

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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