SEA WOLF: A Biography of John D. Bulkeley, USN by William B. Breuer

SEA WOLF: A Biography of John D. Bulkeley, USN

Email this review


A rousing account of the eventful career of Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley, who's still on active and productive duty with the US Navy at age 77. Military historian Breuer (The Secret War with Germany, Devil Boats, etc.) secured the cooperation of Adm. Bulkeley, comrades in arms, and others. Drawing on their recollections and archival sources, he has fashioned a fast-paced, stranger-than-fiction narrative that could appeal to a wide readership. Best known for his feats of derring-do as commander of a Pt boat squadron in WW II's Pacific theater, Bulkeley won a Congressional Medal of Honor for his bold assaults on Japanese shipping offshore the Philippines; he also skippered the craft that evacuated General MacArthur from Corregidor. Transferred to the ETO, Bulkeley carried out a crucial reconnaissance mission on Utah Beach prior to the Normandy invasion; after D-day, he went on to take a heavy toll on Axis vessels as captain of a destroyer flotilla. In the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, Bulkeley (by then a two-star admiral) was dispatched to Guantanamo Bay; as commander of the important naval base there, he conducted a series of rear-guard actions that discomfited Castro, delighted the world press, and (more often than not) dismayed State Department officials. Following his triumphant return from the Caribbean, the aging but still scrappy sea dog was named head of the Inspection and Survey Board, an unsung but vital agency that monitors shipboard standards of preparedness. In this post, the veteran campaigner has clearly accomplished more of everlasting value than in all his stirring engagements with America's foes. Save for occasional references to the admiral's enduring affection for his English wife, Breuer has comparatively little to say about Bulkeley's personal life. In the context of such rattling good yarns about a man of action, however, the dearth of detail on home and hearth scarcely matters. Overall, then, a fine and fitting tribute to an authentic hero. Profusely illustrated with photographs and maps as well as contemporary news clips and cartoons.

ISBN: 89141-335-9
Publisher: Presidio/Random
Review Posted Online: