Salt and Steel: Reflections of a Submariner

Edward L. Beach Jr.

Published by Naval Institute Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 1557500541 / ISBN 13: 9781557500540
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Synopsis: With characteristic warmth and humor, Beach relates the many highlights of his career as a submariner that began in World War II with the Battle of Midway and included 12 war patrols in the Pacific. Although he wears 10 decorations for gallantry in combat, among them the Navy Cross, his own accomplishments are never the focus of the book. It is instead the Navy as he saw it. Beach was on the personal staff of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Omar Bradley, just in time for the 'Revolt of the Admirals' over the B-36 bomber and other controversies. Always an interested observer, Beach offers a fascinating look at this and other inner-service rows. As the naval aide to President Eisenhower from 1953 to 1957, he enjoyed a close relationship with the legendary World War II leader and later helped to further Adm. Hyman Rickover's nuclear power program. For those who have read Beach's other works, it will come as not surprise that this book is infused with his intense devotion to the Navy and concern for its future. He credits the Navy with bringing his parents together: His father was the captain of a cruiser sent to quell disturbances in Haiti in 1915, his mother a resident of the island whose family sought his father's protection. He tells of his experiences growing up the son of a naval officer and how that influenced his decision to attend the US Naval Academy--serving as regimental commander before graduating second in the class of 1939. He was first in his class at submarine school in 1941. But in addition to his many accomplishments through the years, Beach encountered disappointments. Among them are his father's court-martial after the wreck of the Memphis and his own failure to be promoted to admiral. But proof of his continuing devotion to the Navy are found in the concluding chapters of the book, where he makes recommendations for the future of the officer corps and ponders the effect of the submarine on naval warfare.

From Booklist: The latest volume by this outstanding American naval writer is both a collection of essays and the closest thing to autobiography Captain Beach is likely ever to give us. He writes with his usual freshness, grace, compassion, and well-informed opinions on his own life, his father's career, Admiral Rickover (who was indispensable to the nuclear propulsion program but impossible to deal with on the personal level) and the intrigues that cost him his promotion to rear admiral, and the role of the U.S. Navy in the twenty-first century, concerning which he also suggests reforms. Along the way, he tells anecdotes about his marriage of more than 50 years, his wartime service, the origins of several of his novels and of the characters in them, and the complexities of having the nuclear submarine Nautilus christened by Mamie Eisenhower. If this should be Beach's last book, it fittingly concludes his career as writer and seafarer. We can most sincerely say, "Sailor, rest your oar." Roland Green

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Title: Salt and Steel: Reflections of a Submariner
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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