From Annapolis to Scapa Flow

The Autobiography of Edward L. Beach Sr.

  • Subject: Biography & Memoirs | U.S. Navy
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    January 8, 2003
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    18 oz
Hardcover $36.95
Member Price $29.56 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Fans of Edward L. Beach Jr.'s books, including his classic submarine novel Run Silent, Run Deep and his 200-year history of the U.S. Navy, will be drawn to this memoir by his late father, a U.S. Navy Captain, who was a popular novelist of his era. Not only was Beach Sr. a good storyteller but he also was an astute observer of history in the making, and his naval career spanned the sailing and steam navies. Written in the 1930s but never before published, the book is as much about the U.S. Navy as it is about Beach. In his early days Beach served with Civil War veterans aboard wooden ships, while late in his service his shipmates were the future naval leaders of World War II. His account of the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, the Philippine Insurrection of the early 1900s, Haiti in 1915, the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1918, and the wreck of the Memphis, a cruiser under Beach's command that was destroyed by a 1916 tsunami in Santo Domingo Harbor, is eyewitness reporting at its best. As Beach describes the growth of the Navy, he tells not only what happened but how and why things happened. Beach Jr. puts his father's writing in historical context for today's readers and offers insights into his father's feelings. Rarely does a valuable primary source like this come to light so many years after it was written.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"The autobiography of distinguished naval historian and submariner Edward L. Beach Jr.'s father, gussied up for publication by the son, is a fine study of the old U.S. Navy. The elder Beach graduated from Annapolis in 1888, when the navy still had wooden ships in first-line service, and concluded his career presiding over the launching of the battleship California of Pearl Harbor fame. He had started as an engineering officer before line and engineering specialties were merged; at the Battle of Manila Bay, he saw little more than another officer's boots. He rose through the ranks with extensive sea and shore duty as well as a diplomatic role in establishing the U.S. protectorate over Haiti in 1915. He lost his favorite command, the armored cruiser Memphis, to a tidal wave off Santo Domingo, and ended seagoing commanding the battleship New York as part of the British Grand Fleet. Told with wit, compassion, and consideration for nonnaval readers, Beach's story, thoroughly fascinating for naval buffs, also adds well to the historiography of the U.S. in Haiti." —Booklist
"This charming and insightful memoir is among the most vivid and enjoyable portraits of the early twentieth-century Navy ever written." —Naval War College Review