Vol. 13 No. 5, May 2017

Lisle Rose has a new book out:

America's Sailors in the Great War | Seas, Skies and Submarines.

I am enjoying it.

I immediately jumped ahead to the section on submarine chasers, of course. In most books about WWI, chasers are either a marginal note or not mentioned at all. When they are mentioned, it's usually something dismissive, casting the chasers as an also-ran part of the war, an early experiment in ASW and nothing more -- which is to say, not much information is offered about why they were built, what they did, and what happened.

My own book was intended in part to fill that gap: It's about the details of the boats, the equipment and the hunt. But it doesn't cover the overall USN involvement in the war. In Mr. Rose's book you will see the broader picture, nicely setting context, so that when you get to the section on chasers, you'll see them in the setting of the events surrounding their involvement.

If you have read any of the contemporaneous accounts of chasers (see the Resources >> Books section of the website for a list), you'll see the opposite of what you see in most modern accounts, chasers described as being central to the naval war effort. There is always an account of a daring chase leading to the sinking of a submarine; that is, colorful descriptions of events that didn't really happen. (But read the old accounts, anyway. Some of them are highly entertaining, and they give a nice idea of what life on the chasers was like. Just don't take the kill accounts too seriously.)

It seems to me that in America's Sailors in the Great War, Mr. Rose "gets it right," correctly including chasers in the account while avoiding hyperbole and not repeating the undocumented claims of earlier works.

Available here: http://press.umsystem.edu/catalog/productinfo.aspx?id=2325 (and on Amazon).

This month it has started to warm up, so instead of being inside scanning photos and documents, I've been outside working in the yard. However, May can tend to be very rainy here, so maybe I'll get some scanning time in this month.

-- Todd Woofenden, editor

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