A US Navy Captain takes command of a disgraced cruiser and, despite the stunning incompetence of his superiors, turns it into a successful fighting ship during the worst days of the war against the Japanese. From the author of Officers' Wives (1981), The Spoils of War (1985), etc. When Captain Art McKay relieves Win Kemble, his Annapolis roommate, brother-in-law and lifelong best friend, as Commanding Officer of U.S.S. Jefferson City, he finds the ship seething with problems and plagued by thieves, pederasts, con artists, liars, cheats, and cowards. Even the Executive Officer answers to more than half of those names. But the worst problem, the one that haunts the straight sailors as well as the bent, is the ship's reputation. In the most recent action against the enemy, Captain Kemble and the Jefferson City turned tail and ran away rather than endure the merciless pounding suffered by the rest of the ships in the task group. McKay sets to work rebuilding the crew's self-respect as well as their fighting skills, but he is hampered every step of the way by his desire to protect the reputation and career of his predecessor and friend. And once he does turn the Jefferson City into a crack weapon, McKay finds himself stymied again and again by admirals and politics, right up to the last days of the War. A first-rate WW II epic that is well researched, accurately detailed and, despite the reliance on ethnic stereotypes, ultimately moving.