Over the years Homer Hickam of Huntsville has tried his hand at several genres. He’s done straight nonfiction with books like “Torpedo Junction,” series fiction with his WWII Josh Thurlow of the U.S. Coast Guard books, and of course his several volumes of memoir, set in West Virginia, beginning with “Rocket Boys.”
This is an action-adventure novel, a thriller, a yarn, and needs to be taken as such. In the first chapters Thurlow is part of the Marine landing on Tarawa, one of the nastiest battles of all the nasty battles of the Pacific. The Marines went ashore on the wrong tide, the Higgins boats got hung up on the reef and shelled to pieces, and many Marines drowned trying to walk to shore in battle gear. The defending Japanese marines either died in combat or committed suicide. There were nearly no prisoners.
German submarines sank over 400 merchant vessels and some warships before the United States got convoys organized and protected and began to bring to bear the technologies of radar, sonar, air patrols, coastal blackouts, and all the rest.