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During World War II merchant seamen endured relentless physical and psychological terror from above and below the sea.
The terror from above came in the form of air attacks, E-boats, merchant raiders, shore batteries, storms, and frigid and icy weather conditions. Below, it came from mines and the dreadful menace of U-boats.
During those dark days, with the free world in jeopardy, humor was a welcome relief. In those few years, not too long ago, the free world laughed, cried, and then laughed again.
Laughter really is the best medicine.
The true stories in this book are of the lighter side of the merchant marine. Some are humorous, some are both humorous and touching. Often mariners found humor the only relief available from the pathos surrounding them. We’re grateful, and a little bit happier ourselves, that they recalled these incidents and have given them to us.
Some of these tales will put a smile on your face, some will make you laugh out loud. “A merchant seaman, a navy sailor and a G.I. walk into this bar and …”
THE MERCHANT MARINE LIGHTER SIDE OF WORLD WAR II
by Gerald Reminick
- Soft cover, 6 x 9, 282 pp., 60+ photos & illus., biblio., index
- SBN 978-1-889901-68-8
- Price: $22.95
Maritime author and lighthouse aficionado JoAnn Semones has written a compelling book to accompany her earlier writings. In her fourth work, JoAnn’s diligent research and love for her subject have focused on the Monterey peninsula and the shipwrecks of Point Pinos at Pacific Grove, California
Referred to fondly as the “Circle of Enchantment,” the spectacular coastline surrounding Monterey conjures up romance, poetry, and picturesque scenes. “Monterey is a little nest of quiet, encircled with an amphitheater of hills, pine-fringed and carpeted with flowers,” an early writer mused.
In 1602, explorer Sebastian Viscaino encountered the bay he named “Monte Rey” in honor of the viceroy of what would later be Mexico. At the northernmost part of the Monterey peninsula, he also observed a thickly wooded area where native pines thrived near the water’s edge. This he called Punta de los Pinos, meaning “Point of the Pines.” Later known as Point Pinos, the area was part of a large Mexican land grant. By 1850 the United States had annexed Alta California, the territory was given statehood, and gold was discovered. Touched with “gold fever,” fortune hunters and ships alike flooded into California, igniting cries for increased aids to navigation.
Jutting out into a sea where opposing currents collide, Point Pinos proved a dangerous and, therefore, ideal location for a lighthouse. Since February 1, 1855, its beacon has flashed nightly as a guide and warning to ships navigating the rocky Monterey peninsula
Today, Point Pinos is the oldest active lighthouse on the Pacific. It is also a site brimming with a rich history of colorful characters, including Spanish adventurers, notorious smugglers, intriguing authors, gritty sea captains, and the first women lighthouse keepers of the West Coast.>
Pirates, Pinnacles and Petticoats, The Shipwrecks of Point Pinos and Monterey Bay
by JoAnn Semones
- Hard cover, 7 x 10, 224 pp., 86 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-63-3
- Price: $26.95
This book is about all the tugboats contracted for by the U.S. government through the end of World War II. Included are the Defense Plant Corporation, the U.S. Maritime Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army and the U.S, Navy. There is a separate chapter on the Mikimiki Army tugs and two appendices of seldom-seen information and photos on military barges. There are diagrams, specifications and more than 500 photos and illustrations. This is the most complete source available for military tugs of that era. It is also a reader-friendly book, avoiding codes and abbreviations and setting forth the information in clear language.
This is the sixth book (the previous volumes are The Liberty Ships From A to Z, The Victory Ships From A to Z, The Tankers From A to Z, The Freighters From A to Z and The Troopships From A to Z) in Capt. Jaffee’s monumental series on the Maritime Commission’s wartime ship-building program and that of its successor, the Maritime Administration.
The Tugboats From A (A.G. Wells) to Z (USS Zuni) is a large format book, 672 pages on high-quality stock. It is a comprehensive reference for everything known about government-built tugboats through the end of the last “good war.”
The Tugboats From A (A.G. Wells) to Z (USS Zuni)
by Capt. Walter W. Jaffee
- Hard cover, 8.5 x 11, 672 pp., 500+ photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-57-2
- Price: $150.00
A great deal has been written about the S.S. United States, probably more than any other passenger liner in history except, perhaps, the Titanic. While the Titanic captures the public imagination because of the disaster of her sinking and the resulting tremendous loss of life, the United States fascinates for other reasons.
Launched in the early 1950s, she was, at that time, sleek, modern and fast. On her maiden voyage she outran the existing speed record for liners on the North Atlantic — the first American-flag ship to do so for nearly 100 years. And there is some satisfaction in knowing that the previous record holders were British.
The United States represented the latest refinements in the art of shipbuilding. This was no accident. Her designer, William Francis Gibbs was the best of the best. He designed her with pride, with passion and as an act of patriotism. He built her with far more aluminum than had ever been used on a ship her size before. This created a superliner that weighed far less than ships of equal capacity and length. Less weight means more speed. He designed and had installed four steam turbines that developed an unheard-of 240,000 horsepower. Rumor had it that she exceeded 38 knots just after launching during her builder’s trials.
Why another book about the S.S. United States? Because, for the first time, author Larry Driscoll has delved into two little-known aspects of the story of “The Big U.” First, he thoroughly explains the personality and character of the vessel’s designer, William Francis Gibbs. Second, through historic records and communications, he describes the rivalry that existed between Cunard Line and United States Lines, and Cunard’s attempts to stop the funding of the American superliner.
Larry Driscoll is also author of an earlier book about the S.S. America.
The Last Great Race, The S.S. United States and the Blue Riband
by Lawrence M. Driscoll
- Hard cover, 8 ½ x 11, 256 pp., 160+ photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-59-6
- Price: $35.00
This book is about all the P-type troopships and passenger liners — the twin-stack Admiral class built in Alameda, California, and the twin-stack General class built in Kearny, New Jersey. Also included are the passenger liners built by the Maritime Commission and the Maritime Administration.
It begins with the U.S. emergency shipbuilding program which started in the 1930s and the evolution of transporting troops and passengers by sea. Every P-type ship is accounted for — from A (Admiral C.F. Hughes) to Z (United States) — including who or what she was named for, and all the other names she became known under, cross-referenced and comprehensively listed in the indices. There are diagrams, specifications and more than 300 photos and illustrations. This is truly “the last word” on the P-type ships, and the most complete. It is also a reader-friendly book, avoiding codes and abbreviations and setting forth the information in clear language.
This is the fifth volume (the previous volumes are The Liberty Ships From A to Z, The Victory Ships From A to Z, The Tankers From A to Z and The Freighters From A to Z) in Capt. Jaffee’s monumental series on the Maritime Commission’s wartime ship-building program and that of its successor, the Maritime Administration.
The Troopships and Passenger Liners From A (Admiral C.F. Hughes) to Z (United States) is a large format book, 256 pages on high-quality stock. It is a comprehensive reference for everything known about all the P-type troopships and passenger liners.
The Troopships and Passenger Liners From A
(Admiral C.F. Hughes) to Z (United States)
by Capt. Walter W. Jaffee.
- Hard cover, 8 ½ x 11, 256 pp., 300+ photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-56-5
- Price: $100.00
Maritime author and lighthouse aficionado JoAnn Semones has written a fascinating book to accompany her earlier works. In her third book, JoAnn’s diligent research and love for her subject have brought her attention farther south, to the shipwrecks of Point Sur, just a few miles south of Monterey, California.
According to Celtic legend, “Thin Places” are areas where two disparate worlds touch, such as land and sea. In these ethereal places the boundary between this world and the next seems almost non-existent. And so it is with the rugged coastline of Big Sur. Twisting and turning along steep, craggy cliffs, high above white-tipped waves, the region’s raw beauty is both spectacular and inspiring.
Most breathtaking is a gigantic dome-shaped rock which seemingly sits at the edge of the world. Known as Point Sur, the lofty monolith is surrounded by massive offshore boulders, dangerous reefs, and swift currents. Its troubled seas doomed many fine ships to destruction. Even a lighthouse, although nearly impossible to build, could not end further tragedy.
The shipwrecks chronicled in these pages illuminate specific moments in time. They allow us to reach into another era, shedding light on who we were and who we have become. They are vivid symbols of our maritime heritage and of our timeless connection with the sea.
SEA OF TROUBLES, The Lost Ships of Point Sur
by JoAnn Semones.
- Hard cover, 7 x 10, 256 pp.
- 90 photos & illus., biblio., index.
- ISBN 978-1-889901-55-8
- Price: $27.95
Between 1853 and 1953, ships of all types – clipper ships, barks, schooners, steamers — sailing the central California Coast fell victim to Pigeon Point’s unpredictable weather and rocky shoreline.
Each shipwreck is an important portal to our past, a significant part of our maritime heritage, linking us to unforgettable times. If it is true that every ship has her own soul, then every shipwreck has a spirit waiting to be rediscovered. It is a voyage worth taking.
SHIPWRECKS, SCALAWAGS AND SCAVENGERS, The Storied Waters of Pigeon Point
by JoAnn Semones.
- Hard cover
- 55 photos & Illus., biblio, index.
- ISBN 978-1-889901-42-8
- Price: $24.95
There is the potential for mystery in every moment as a ship crosses the lonely stretches of the great oceans of the world. Nothing is more intriguing than the story of a ship which has vanished with all hands. Within these pages, maritime author David Grover has captured missing ships from both World Wars, the Sino-Japanese War, and the peacetime between. The ships were chosen for their diversity, and for the interesting circumstances of their disappearances.
VANISHING SHIPS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN
By David H. Grover.
- Soft cover, 224 pp., 24+ photos, biblio., index.
- ISBN: 978-1-889901-52-7
- Price: $17.95
Many seafarers harken back to the “good old days” when cargo was loaded on board a ship in bags, barrels, boxes, crates, bottles, cases, drums, piecemeal and in countless other ways. Freight had textures, odor, feel and character. In this book one can study the evolution of cargo handling from break-bulk ships to early container-break-bulk combination ships to full container ships, barge carriers, liquid natural gas carriers, heavy lift ships and many other types. Inside this volume is everything that is known about the “C” freighters. Every C-type ship is accounted for — from A (Adabelle Lykes) to Z (Zoella Lykes) — including who or what she was named for, and all the other names she became known under, cross-referenced and comprehensively listed in the indexes. There are diagrams, specifications and more than 400 photos and illustrations. The Freighters is truly “the last word” on the C-type freighters, and the most complete. It is also a reader-friendly book, with clean type on high-quality paper, avoiding codes and abbreviations, and setting forth the information in clear language.
This is the fourth volume in Capt. Jaffee’s monumental series on the Maritime Commission’s wartime ship-building program and that of its successor, the Maritime Administration. The other volumes are The Liberty Ships From A to Z, The Victory Ships From A to Z and The Tankers From A to Z.
THE FREIGHTERS from A (Adabelle Lykes) to Z (Zoella Lykes)
by Capt. Walter W. Jaffee.
- Hard cover
- 8 ½ x 11, 672 pp., 400 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-50-3
- Price: $150.00
Author JoAnn Semones made her mark as a maritime historian with her fascinating book, Shipwrecks, Scalawags and Scavengers, the Storied Waters of Pigeon Point. In this, her most recent work, she has focused her attention farther north, to the shipwrecks of Point Montara, just a few miles south of San Francisco.
California Writer John Steinbeck referred to this treacherous strip of shore between Montara and Half Moon Bay as “the hard luck coast.” Along this foggy, final approach to San Francisco, vessels were forced to hug the perilous shoreline, putting them in danger of its rocky outcroppings and unruly seas.
From 1851 to 1946, dozens of ships sank in the notorious corridor between Montara and Half Moon Bay. Each shipwreck represents a separate, yet integrated piece of history, linking us to the past. JoAnn Semones tells the stories of these disasters and near disasters in a scholarly, yet affectionate style that is both easy to read and informative. Here we learn the history of each of these shipwrecks and the lives of the people involved with them — from captain and crew to shipowner to those in the salvage trade to lighthouse keepers to life savers — it is all there.
HARD LUCK COAST, The Perilous Reefs of Point Montara
by JoAnn Semones.
- Hard cover
- 208 pages, 7 x 10, 70 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-51-0
- Price: $26.95
Seized by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge in 1975, the SS Mayaguez was the first American-flag merchant ship taken by a foreign power since the American Revolutionary War.
Author Gerald Reminick describes, in fascinating detail, the seizure of this Sea-Land container ship as she innocently steams toward Thailand. Unprovoked, the Cambodian military captures her as part of a series of piratical acts designed to assert their claim to territorial waters well beyond the limits defined by international law. The reader sits in on executive National Security Counsel sessions with President Ford, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld and others as they ponder the fate of the ship and her crew. With the sad outcome of the USS Pueblo incident still fresh in the public conscious, the decision is made for quick action to recover the vessel. Nothing goes as planned. Learn the final outcome of this historic event.
AN ACT OF PIRACY, The Seizure of the American-flag ship Mayaguez in 1975
by Gerald Reminick.
- Soft cover
- 352 pages, 6 x 9
- ISBN 978-1-889901-47-3
- Price: $22.95
For over a decade during the “Roaring Twenties,” a great white ocean liner would sail from berth 156 in Los Angeles every Saturday. The pier was packed with waving and cheering people looking up at the happy passengers crowding the railings. The vessel’s band on deck played jazz tunes and popular favorites. The captain stood forward on the bridge wing watching the lowering of the gangway amid a hail of colored streamers and confetti. The liner’s whistle would blow at noon, raising the cheering to a higher pitch as the band played “Aloha Oe.” Slowly the great mass of the liner inched away from the dock.
These magnificent ocean liners provided not only a regular connection between the mainland and the islands, but were a high-profile means of proclaiming that Los Angeles was becoming a world class harbor, financial center and artistic metropolis. And the Los Angeles Steamship Company, “LASSCO,” became known across the country.
HOLLYWOOD TO HONOLULU, The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company
by Gordon Ghareeb and Martin Cox.
- 280 pages, 8 ½ x 11,
- ISBN 978-1-889901-44-2
- Price: $35
From World War II to Korea to Vietnam to Desert Storm and Iraq, the machinery of war has depended on the steady delivery of oil, in all its forms, to ships, trains, tanks, planes, trucks, weapons, and the supply lies. And that oil is delivered by tankers. America’s tanker industry began shortly after thediscovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859, grew through the early 20th century, and became standadized during World War II with the development of the T-type tanker — the T1s, T2s and T3s.
Inside this volume is everything that is known about the “T” tankers. It begins with the history of the U.S. emergency shipbuilding program which started in the 1930s and the evolution of transporting oil by sea. But the main focus is on the ships. Every T-type ship is accounted for — from A (A.W. Peake) to Z (Zephyrhills) — including who or what she was named for, and all the other names she became known under, cross-referenced and comprehensively listed in the indexes. There are diagrams, specifications and almost 300 photos and illustrations. The Tankers is truly “the last word” on the T-type tankers, and the most complete. It is also a reader-friendly book, with clean type on high-quality paper, avoiding codes and abbreviations, and setting forth the information in clear language.
This is the third volume in Capt. Jaffee’s monumental series on the Maritime Commission’s wartime ship-building program and that of its successor, the Maritime Administration. The other volumes are The Liberty Ships From A to Z and The Victory Ships From A to Z.
THE TANKERS from A (A.W. Peake) to Z (Zephyrhills) is a large-format book, 528 pages on high-quality stock. It is a comprehensive reference for everything known about all 721 T-type tankers including a separate index of every name a ship sailed under. You can find your ship — or your father’s or grandfather’s — as you discover the indispensable role of Tankers in American history.
THE TANKERS from A (A.W. Peake) to Z (Zephyrhills)
by Capt. Walter W. Jaffee.
- Hard cover, 8 ½ x 11, 528 pp., 300 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-43-5
- Price: $140