- ISBN/SKU: 9781591149521
- Binding: Hardcover
- Era: 20th century
- Number of Pages: 192
- Subject: Biography
- Date Available: September 2010
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This action-packed biography focuses on a 1944 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was one of only fifty Jewish midshipmen commissioned in his class during World War II. In the Pacific, Lt. Shulman's destroyer survived both a typhoon and a Japanese kamikaze aircraft attack. After leaving the U.S. Navy and returning to civilian life, he volunteered to help the Haganah, the paramilitary force of the Jewish Agency for Palestine headed by David Ben-Gurion. Shulman had been introduced to Ben-Gurion by his mother, who was an executive with Hadassah,the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Working in New York City, he helped to buy surplus warships for the Haganah's "clandestine" sealift that brought Holocaust survivors from Europe to Palestine.
In early 1948 Ben-Gurion called the 25-year-old Shulman to Israel to set up an academy to train officers and NCOs to man ships of Israel's fledgling navy, which at that point only had the refugee vessels. Beginning with almost no assets, within three months, now-Kvarnit (Commander) Shulman took the Israeli squadron into action against enemy ships, and even against one vessel fighting with Israeli forces. After Israel won its independence most of the 1,200 American and Canadian volunteers went home. Shulman, with his wife and infant son, remained in Israel, settling in Haifa, which would be their home for the next forty years. After Shulman died in 1994, a stained glass window was dedicated in his memory at the U.S. Naval Academy's new Uriah P. Levy Chapel.
Wandres' book fully documents Shulman's role in helping to launch the navy of new Israeli nation. Based on interviews and correspondence with former U.S. Navy shipmates and Machal volunteers, Israeli and American archives, and declassified secret U.S. Department of State documents, The Ablest Navigator provides a unique window into Israel's history and on one of the key Americans who helped to establish and protect the new nation.
J. Wandres is a retired U.S. Navy public affairs specialist who holds an M.S. in video production and a B.A. in English. He has written for Military Officer, Naval History. World War II History, and All Hands. He has edited two award-winning magazines and has written about the U.S. Navy's secret propaganda broadcasts to the German U-boats and the Mulberry Harbors of D-Day An associate with the Center For World War II History and Conflict Resolution, he lives in Aberdeen, NJ.
Praise for The Ablest Navigator
“J. Wandres has written a fast-paced and carefully researched study of one young American’s significant contributions to Israel’s War of Independence. The story of this unsung hero, Paul Shulman, is at once unique and at the same time representative of the efforts of many volunteer warriors whose exploits are largely unknown and certainly insufficiently appreciated…Black and white photos, maps, and an index add to the interest and utility of this most readable and necessary slice of Israel’s history.”
— Sarasota-Manatee Jewish News, August 1, 2011
“It is a special treat to learn about a 20thcentury naval hero who has, until now been little more than a footnote in history. The name Paul Shulman might not ring any bells for many naval historians, but thanks to the well-researched biography by J. Wandres, The Ablest Navigator, the name should be an inspiration not just to young naval officers, but also to young Jews.
This is a new story of naval history, and adds much to the scholarly study of not only U.S. Navy and Israeli history, but also the American Jewish experience.
Wandres has done an admirable amount of research, as evident from his detailed bibliography, endnote and glossary of modern Hebrew terms that was very useful for understanding the book.”
— Naval History Book Reviews, 29 Jul 2011
The Center for World War II Studies and Conflict Resolution at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, New Jersey, recently hosted J. Wandres to present THE ABLEST NAVIGATOR ~ click here to view.