November 30th, 2018

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Weekly Book Review

We are getting close to the end of the reviews in the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  (I have access because I do the web-site for the group.)  I think there are two or three more that I'll post over the next few weeks.
Anyway, here's the next one on the list.  The author, who is no longer with us, was one of the founders of SASP.
This and all of the reviews from the files of SASP that I've posted here are also available on the SASP web-site.  (For the most part the reviews are of books written by SASP members, reviewed by SASP members.)

Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s

The Aleutian Solution

Elmer Freeman

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

       This is an informative, educational, and entertaining book.  With candor, a bit of humor, and at times the right amount of self-depreciation, the author relates his wartime experiences in a relatively unknown operational area.

       For most Americans, World War II was an “overseas” war, with little thought given to fighting on our own continent, yet early in the conflict, Japan attempted to establish a foothold on the North American continent.  On the leading edge of a thinly spread defense, Navy patrol planes fought the enemy, operated from primitive bases, and endured some of the worst weather imaginable.  With the Navy’s “can-do” attitude, American “know-how,” ingenuity, and personal courage, they succeeded.

       Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s is Elmer Freeman’s personal accounting of the little known and often overlooked war in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.  Having enlisted in the Navy prior to America’s entry into the war, he went to school to become an Aviation Machinist Mate.  Early on he was in the beaching crew that retrieved his squadron’s PBY seaplanes from the water.  Gaining experience, he became part of a flight crew.  During Freeman’s advancement to senior enlisted man (plane captain) aboard the aircraft, the United States became involved in World War II.  Operations shifted from the Seattle area to the Aleutians to prevent Japanese forces from establishing a presence in North America.  That effort was not entirely successful, as the enemy did for a time occupy two islands in the chain.

       This is not only Freeman’s story, but that of all men of the Navy’s Patrol Plane Squadrons that took part in the campaign.  It also pays tribute to Army and Army Air Force personnel who played an equally important role.

       Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s is richly illustrated with dozens photographs and maps, both from the author’s collection and other accredited sources.  Self-published, a second printing of the revised edition occurred in 2002.  ISBN 0-9632463-1-3 sells for $18.95 (plus $3.00 shipping) and is available form Kedging Publishing Company, 1124 W. 8th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204   


Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Another Bonus Book Review

So happens that I completed my read of Captain Horatio Hornblower: Ship of the Line by C. S. Forester a day or so ago.  Figure I might as well go ahead and post my review of it while I'm thinking of it.
Once again, I don't have any cover art/images for the Hornblower books. This time I'll include my somewhat crude image of a two decked ship of the line)
Ship of the Line

a rather crude attempt to "photo-shop" a picture of a ship of the line.

By C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

            This is early classic Hornblower, the second novel written, and the second part of the larger Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy.  Having salvaged some success from his recent secret mission to the Pacific, Horatio Hornblower now commands a ship of the line, HMS Sutherland (74).  His wife Maria is expecting, but Hornblower’s heart lies with his recent passenger, Lady Barbara Wellesley.  She in turn has married Rear Admiral Leighton under whose command he will soon sail.  Beyond the complications of his personal life, Hornblower’s career depends upon fully manning his ship.
            Sutherland and the two other ships of Leighton’s squadron sail to the Mediterranean, escorting a convoy of East Indiamen.  As the merchant vessels and their naval escort part ways, Hornblower, with Sutherland still undermanned, brashly raids the convoy for hands, justifying his actions upon a chance comment that all had volunteered.  When two of the three vessels arrive at the rendezvous ahead of Leighton, Hornblower is temporarily authorized to cruise independently.  He and Sutherland play havoc with French shipping and military operations in the Western Mediterranean, often resorting to legitimate ruses of war in order to accomplish his mission.
            After leading an ill-advised land based assault on Rosas, Hornblower finds Sutherland on the point of the spear as four French ships of the line make a break for the open sea.  Resolutely he takes his single vessel into combat with the four while waiting for the remainder of Leighton’s squadron to close in.  Assistance does not arrive, the results are predictable, and Hornblower is forced to surrender.
            While this volume has as much, if not more, combat and at-sea action as any of the books in the Hornblower saga, it once again is the character of Hornblower that is the most intriguing.  It is to C. S. Forester’s credit that the complex tale of a very complicated individual is told with straight forward simplicity.  Hornblower’s fear of failure, lack of belief in himself, and conflicting emotional attachments sometimes grate on the reader’s nerves, and yet make him all that more human.  Nor is the author without a sense of humor regarding Hornblower’s exploits in the Mediterranean.  Having left their clothes ashore in order to swim out and attack a French coaster, he and the entire raiding party are forced to return to and board Sutherland wearing nothing but smiles.  Following destruction of the coaster, its vengeful crew discovered and destroyed their clothing.
            Even as a part of the larger Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy, this work stands on its own in many ways.  There are relatively few references to other portions of Hornblower’s career, and for once this reviewer cannot find any technical matters worth taking the author to task about.  Unfortunately this portion of the larger story gets short thrift in the 1951 movie starring Gregory Peck.  About two thirds to three quarters of that film cover the first book, Beat to Quarters, while the second two are squeezed into the final third or quarter of the motion picture.
            The recently read copy is one of a set encompassing the original Hornblower stories and currently in the possession of the reviewer.  All three are old, although it cannot be claimed that they are first editions.  Because of the time they were produced, no ISBN or price information is available.       
steer between them!, Helm

NaNoWriMo Progress

I didn't sign up to do NaNoWriMo, but I have been paralleling it, or as they say with some classes, I've been "auditing" it.  My idea was to work along with the annual Novel Writing Contest to get back on track with the third Stone Island Sea Story.  I'd started it several years ago and for the past few, hadn't made much progress on it.

Somewhere, somehow I ended up with this NaNoWriMo logo, perhaps from last year?

It looks like I'm back on track, as I've no doubt mentioned a few times over the past month.  Basically I've doubled what I'd written up to the first of the month.  And I still have one more writng session to go later this evening.  After last night I'm eight pages short of doubling what I'd written before.  Started with 140 pages and now have 272.  And I've more than doubled the word count, going from 38633 to 79543 total.  In other words I've added 132 more pages and another 40910 words.  If this turns out like the first two books, I'm probably about 2/3 done with it.  It'll probably end up at about 420 pages and around 120k words.  Then of course with some revision and editing it'll drop a bit.
Logo for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club

I've noticed as I worked on the first two, and I'm sure it will happen with this one, that when I edit and revise, rewrite and re-work, that I usually end up taking things out and end up shortening things.  That's a contrast to when I was in school, and when I wrote the original basic story that is becomeing the Stone Island Sea Stories.  Then it seemed I added to something when I rewrote or revised.  I also find myself taking things out when I work on stuff for the newsletters I do, both the Rear Engine Review for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club and SASP News for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.

Logo for Spokane Publishers and Self-Publishers
So I feel like the month has been well worth it.  If I would have done some writing that one day I was at the high school arts and crafts fair, I think I would have doubled the page count which was sort of my goal.  And if I'm really creative later tonight, I still might do that, or I will come really close.  And it looks like I'll end up coming really close to the NaNoWriMo goal of 50k words as well.  However that was never really a goal of mine.  The main thing was just to get back to writing and making some progress.  On that count I think I've been more than successful.

Finally, I finished reading Captain Horatio Hornblower: Ship Of The Line a day or so ago.  Earlier today I posted my review of it here on Live Journal.  Today started reading Captain Horatio Hornblower: Flying Colours, which is the final part of the original, first Hornblower stories.  If all goes as it has been with reading the Hornblower series again, I should be done with it in a week or so.  When I am, I'll post the review for it as well.