Robert Sinclair Parkin spent decades, both during and after his twenty-year career in the U.S. Navy, interviewing veterans and collecting data on the history of American destroyers.
Seventy-one American destroyers were lost during WWII, 60 of them in confrontations with enemy ships, planes, shore batteries and mines, the other 11 to accidental groundings, friendly mines or severe storms. Parkin (Under the White Ensign) here compiles sketches of each destroyer's career from launch to destruction and a detailed description of the ship's final hours. He begins with an account of the sinking of the Reuben James in 1941 off Iceland, a U-boat victim and the first American warship lost in the war, and concludes with an account of the sinking of the Callaghan in a kamikaze attack in 1945, the 13th destroyer to go down in the waters off Okinawa. Included are descriptions of the capsizing of the Warrington in an Atlantic tempest, the loss of the Corry to German shore batteries on D-Day and the unequal fight between the Monssen and the Japanese battleship Hiei. One of the destroyers, the Stewart, was raised by the Japanese and commissioned into the Imperial Navy. Parkin's colorful style adds to the pleasure this meticulously researched book offers Navy buffs. Illustrations. (Nov.)