Te volume on the shelf in the U.S. Naval Academy’s Nimitz Library looked unimpressive. The binding showed tears, and the book was faded and marred by long-ago ink stains. Dirt on the tops and bottoms of pages testified to its age and many reshelvings. The spine identified the book as King George Was My Shipmate (Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd., 1940). Validating the adage about not judging a book by its cover, the contents were filled with exciting descriptions.
Return-date stamps indicated that a number of individuals, perhaps midshipmen, had checked out the book in the spring of 1941, when the Royal Navy was chasing and sinking the German super battleship Bismarck. The first date stamped in the book was 30 May 1941, the eve of the 25th anniversary of the titanic sea struggle later known as the Battle of Jutland. A century after that 1916 confrontation between the British and German navies, the account remains of interest.