KAYE TROUT'S BOOK REVIEWS 1

I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

BATTLE DOWNUNDER by Charles W. Rush

Battle Downunder
Charles W. Rush
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO, USA
http://www.outskirtspress.com/
ISBN: 193267263X, $15.95, 218 pp, 2004

"The submarine world of USS STRIKER, its brave officers and crew, the harrowing war patrols, life or death decisions, problems with malfunctioning torpedoes and naval politics . . . all come to life in these pages."

On January 9, 2002, the President of the United States awarded the NAVY CROSS to Captain Charles W. Rush, Jr. for Extraordinary Heroism While Engaged in Military Operations on 11 November l943. A copy of this citation with details of Captain Rush’s heroism while on the submarine BILLFISH is included in this book.

Allow me to quote: "During 12 straight exhaustive hours at his Diving Officer post, his calm demeanor, innovative damage control actions, and demonstrated courage in the face of perceived certain disaster served as the major inspiration to the crew to keep them functioning after most had given up all hope of survival. After finally being relieved by another officer, Captain Rush proceed to the conning tower to assess the situation. He found the helm unmanned, the Captain and all senior officers still incapacitated, and no effective action being taken to counter the relentless depth charge attacks. Captain Rush, in a display of enlightened leadership immediately assumed the conn, obtained a helmsman, and proceed to direct evasive actions to elude the enemy above."

Judging from the detailed citation, much of this story is based on the true life experiences of Captain Rush. However, the story has not been written as a memoir or historical autobiography. It is written as a military-naval adventure with an element of romance, and the author states: "I have tried to illustrate the contrast between a ship commanded by a great captain and one with a washout in charge. There were many great captains. The one in this book is a generic composite."

The main character in this story is a Lieutenant (junior grade) Tom Rhett who volunteered for submarine duty, was supposed to attend submarine school, but the Navy ordered him to the STRIKER in Pearl Harbor and two weeks later he was on war patrol under Commander Michael J. Hanahan, U.S.N.

Through this story we see Tom evolve out of his submarine ignorance and initial panic into an officer who is responsible and holds himself accountable. The characterization of the officers, Tom and crew come to life particularly through their personal, off-duty experiences and relationships. We learn something about a particular part of WWII and the Japanese enemy. Tom and Heather’s developing love weaves itself through these pages and adds a warm, human aspect to a trying time in history.

This POD published books is well-written and well-edited. Battle Downunder definitely was a page-turner for me as I’ve been to sea, delivered yachts, lived and worked in small quarters with others. You’ll definitely get some sense of what life was like in a war patrol submarine. Isn’t that why we read?

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 25, 2006 - Copyright

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