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Crossing the Line: A Blue Jacket's World War II Odyssey (inscribed by the author)

Alvin Kernan

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ISBN 10: 1557504555 / ISBN 13: 9781557504555
Published by Naval Institute Press, 2005
Condition: fine Hardcover
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About this Item

First edition ("First Printing" stated and number line ending in "2", no additional printins noted, as is correct). Hardcover. 173 pp. with index. Illustrated. Inscribed on the front free endpaper to late Princeton University President Robert Goheen: "for Bob---from one Mellon Fellowship director to another/ Best wishes/ AF'. Laid in is a letter to Goheen from a friend thanking him for the loan of the book. Fine in fine dust jacket. the World War II memoirs of the author, just 17 years old when he left his family's Wyoming ranch to join the Navy in 1941. He was in the Battles of Midway and Okinawa and was aborad the USS Hornet when it was sunk at Guadalcanal. He later became an aerial gunner in torpedo planes and was involved in the first night-fighter action off carriers in 1943. Bookseller Inventory # E15807B

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Crossing the Line: A Blue Jacket's World War...

Publisher: Naval Institute Press

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:fine

Dust Jacket Condition: fine

Edition: First edition.

About this title


Amid the host of personal memoirs published about World War II, Kernan's stands out as the classic description of an enlisted man's perspective of the great age of aircraft carriers. Crossing the Line conveys the realities of a sailor's life on a wartime carrier, relating the inveterate routines along with the moments of sheer terror that mobilized boys into fighting men. Kernan writes with unerring honesty of the enlisted man's struggle to survive with honor; the poor equipment, faulty tactics, and petty rules; the loneliness as well as the congenial interludes with crew mates; the escape sought in barroom brawls and brothels during liberty.


Alvin Kernan, seeing no prospects in his native Wyoming, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the spring of 1941. As a seaman on the U.S.S. Enterprise, he saw the destruction and smelled the fires still burning as the aircraft carrier returned to Pearl Harbor from maneuvers on the day after Japan's surprise attack. Years later he would see and smell much the same thing in Japanese harbors. In the time between, Kernan had some exceptional adventures, which are chronicled in Crossing the Line. This reflective memoir is utterly unpretentious in providing an engaging view of ordinary Americans at war. Leaving the grand historical themes for other writers, Kernan tells us what it was really like for the sailors in the fleet, during fierce combat as well as during some lively recreation.

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