Hardback
November 15, 2022
9780813196220
English
288
1 map, 29 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
9780813196244
9780813196220
English
288
1 map, 29 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
9780813196237
9780813196220
English
288
1 map, 29 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

A Strange Whim of the Sea

The Wreck of the USS Macaw

On January 16, 1944, the submarine rescue vessel USS Macaw ran aground at Midway Atoll while attempting to tow the stranded submarine USS Flier. The Flier was pulled free six days later but another three weeks of salvage efforts plagued by rough seas and equipment failures failed to dislodge the Macaw. On February 12, enormous waves nudged the ship backward into deeper water. As night fell and the Macaw slowly sank, the twenty-two sailors on board—ship's captain Paul W. Burton, his executive officer, and twenty enlisted men—sought refuge in the pilothouse but by the following afternoon, the compartment was almost entirely flooded. Burton gave the order to open the portside door and make for the foremast. Three men succeeded but most of the others were swept overboard. Five of them died, including Burton. Three sailors from the base at Midway also lost their lives in two unauthorized rescue attempts.

Drawing on survivors' contemporaneous written statements and interviews conducted over a span of thirty years, A Strange Whim of the Sea: The Wreck of the USS Macaw traces the ship's service from its launch on San Francisco Bay to its disastrous final days at Midway. It tells a war story short on combat but not on drama, a wartime tragedy in which the conflict is more interpersonal, and perhaps intrapersonal, than international. Ultimately, for Burton and the Macaw the real enemy was the sea, and in a deadly denouement, the sea won. Highlighting the underreported role auxiliary vessels played in the war, A Strange Whim of the Sea engages naval historians and students alike with a previously untold story of struggle, sacrifice, death, and survival in the World War II Pacific.

About the Author

Tim Loughman is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Morro Bay, California.

Reviews

"Tim Loughman does a great service to naval history with this masterful account of the life and death of USS Macaw and of those of its crew who were lost with it. A working ship of war, Macaw now rests in the waters of the Pacific. Loughman brings both it and the men who served and sacrificed their lives back to life in a profound and moving narrative that speaks to both the power of the sea and the strength of the human heart."—James P. Delgado, author of War at Sea: A Shipwrecked History, and The Lost Submarines of Pearl Harbor

"The story of the USS Macaw and her crew, one of the many hard-working yet unsung auxiliary ships of the wartime navy, is an exciting and well researched tale. The inclusion of individual biographies, and the actual sinking when the men abandoned the pilothouse in the teeth of a full Pacific storm, makes this one of the most realistic shipwreck narratives I've encountered. Other books capture well known famous naval battles or service on capital vessels like aircraft carriers and battleships, but the reality of naval service for the majority of enlisted men, and the many hazards and difficulties of naval life they faced, is just as riveting. This is a tribute to those in military service."—Hans K. Van Tilburg, PhD, Maritime Heritage Coordinator, Pacific Islands Region, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, author of A Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters: Life on Board USS Saginaw

9780813196220 : a-strange-whim-of-the-sea-loughman
Hardback
November 15, 2022
$29.95 USD
9780813196244 : a-strange-whim-of-the-sea-loughman
Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
$29.95 USD
9780813196237 : a-strange-whim-of-the-sea-loughman
Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
$29.95 USD

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