From Annapolis to Scapa Flow
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.