Blurb: Book Club Edition. “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” John Paul Jones, USN.
The year is 1941.
The Japanese have struck a mighty blow against America at Pearl Harbor.
In its aftermath America has begun its struggle with Japan for control of the Pacific Ocean.
Captain Rockwell Torrey, USN, commanding officer of the heavy cruiser Old Swayback, is sent out on a search-and-destroy mission against their foes.
This is no simple mission as Japanese submarines lurk in the murky depths and threaten to destroy Torrey’s task force at every opportunity.
Harm’s Way is a thrilling novel of naval fortitude and survival in the combat for the Pacific Ocean. It culminates in a brilliant sea battle off the coast of the strategic island of Levu-Vana where the fate of the Pacific conflict hangs in the balance.
“In both, smaller and larger, Torrey must battle not only with the Japanese but also with his nominal superior who has political friends. The best part of the book, by far, is the climatic naval battle where the American task force is faced with appalling, and in some instances, suicidal odds. Here the book can be described as truly exciting.” Kirkus Reviews
James Bassett’s novel Harm’s Way was made into a film in 1965 that was produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It starred John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda.
During World War II, James Bassett was a staff officer intimately associated with the late Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, and handled his press relations from the Guadalcanal campaign to the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Although he won the Bronze Star with combat clasp, he is proudest of this inscription on a photograph of the famed “Wild Bull”: “To Jim Bassett, tried wartime comrade, shipmate and friend.” Harm’s Way drew greatly upon his wartime experiences and was published in 1962. Bassett retired October 1977 after serving 43 years on the staffs of the Los Angeles Times and The Mirror. He died in 1978.