Memoirs of Ships and Men Author:Walker DeWitt Diamond This is a story of ships and men and war, of the Nazi U-boat terror in the South Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mxeico--of men of the Merchant Marine facing blazing death as they sailed to deliver the goods of victory of World War II. Written by a man who held a key position in U.S. Naval Intelligence, it is an endl... more »essly dramatic account.
When on Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. became involved in the war, Walker Diamond, a World War I veteran then in the Customs Service, determined to get into war service as fast as he could and give everything he had to the cause of freedom.
Lack of a college degree denied him line officer's commission, but through dogged persistence he became a warrant officer in Naval Intelligence...and from the outset knew experiences so varied and so significant that he now feels like an alumnus of "the University of the World." Indeed he had taught men who held high college degrees.
In his job of "collecting, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence information," he met and boarded ships and planes from all over the world, interviewed countless people of all nationalities--all kinds of people, from VIPs to suspected Nazi agents.
And, day and night, he interviewed the survivors, the "lucky ones," in the Merchant Marine service--victims of the U-boat which preyed viciously on ships just off our shores. He heard horrifying tales of death and disaster...and tales of heroism; made numberless friends among ship captains from sll over the world, from hard-bitten old salts to mariners who extended Old World hospitality.
The scene changed with kaleidoscopic rapidity. Unflagging in his zeal to do a flawless job, Diamond worked 10-to-18 hour days, ofttimes around the clock. Amazing bits of information came his way: first-hand descriptions of U-boat torpedoings; the techniques and "etiquette" of sub commanders; odd tales of the sea; rumors and facts and sidelights which, added up and evaluated, could be of decisive use to the Allied cause.
This book is fascinating partly for its revelation of the terror that stalked our coasts, partly--and in significant part--because of the personality of the author: a man determined to serve to his utmost capacity, and a man whose keen psychological insight gives a vivid human-interest flavor to every situation described.
A rich memoir, frank, suspenseful, down-to-earth, dramatic, of a crucial time in our history.« less