by James L. Noles Jr.
Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 2010. Pp. xxi, 250.
Illus., Map, notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 0817356037
On November 23, 1943, near Makin Atoll, in the Gilbert Islands, a Japanese submarine put a torpedo into the USS
Liscome Bay (CVE 56). The Kaiser-built “jeep carrier” went down in 23 minutes, with heavy loss of life.
Independent historian Noles, author, among other works, of
Mighty by Sacrifice: The Destruction of an American Bomber Squadron
rightly devotes the first half of the book to setting the stage. Thus, we get to know the ship and her crew, from Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinix to Cook 3
rd Class, Dorie Miller, a hero of Pearl Harbor, in a sometimes very detailed look at life and work aboard a jeep carrier at war.
In the second half of the book, noles gives us a very fast-paced look at the ship’s final 23 minutes. He recounts, often in great detail, the experiences of the survivors, many of whom he interviewed, following some of them through to the end of the war and beyond.
A very good account of one of the worst disasters to overtake an American warship,
Twenty-Three Minutes to Eternity is also a very good introduction to life and service in the fleet during World Wa r II,