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Halsey's Typhoon

Book Review

 

Title:

Halsey's Typhoon

Author:

Robert Drury and Tom Clavin

ISBN:

0-8711-3948-0

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

April, 2007

Rating:

In the closing days of World War II the United States Navy suffered one of its worst defeats at the hand of an unexpected enemy, the weather. Halsey's Typhoon tells the story of that disaster

In support of General Douglas McArthur's invasion of the Philippine Islands, Task Force 34 under the command of Admiral William "Bull" Halsey was charged with invasion support and protection. After a successful landing at Mindoro  Island, the fleet temporarily withdrew to refuel and rearm their ships.

Worsening weather made this resupply effort dangerous or impossible for most of the ships in the task force. While the larger and faster ships were able  to withdraw to the west and outrun the storm, many of the smaller screening vessels and supply ships were trapped in a typhoon with winds up to 145 miles per hour and waves exceeding 90 feet. Many of these ships were heavily damaged  and three destroyers, the Spence, Hull and Monaghan, capsized and were lost.

Halsey's Typhoon is easy to read and can be finished in an evening. It relies  on first hand narratives by many of the survivors of the typhoon and clearly shows the thoughts and actions of those sailors trapped in the raging storm.  The authors do not attempt to fix blame for the loss of life that approached  1000 sailors and simply tell the story, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions.

Any history buff that wants to know more about this famous incident will find the book interesting and full of pictures, maps and other resources about this facet of history.

 

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