Continuity and Change in the U.S. Navy

By Lisle Rose

Lisle A. Rose holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of thirteen books, including six published by the University of Missouri Press. He has worked as a sailor, a professor, a diplomat, and a court-appointed special advocate for at-risk children. He lives in Edmonds, Washington.

In this blog, Rose compares his experiences in the Navy in the 1950s to those of the Navy of 1917-1918, the subject of his newest book, AMERICAN SAILORS IN THE GREAT WAR, which received the 2016 Lyman Awards Honorable Mention.

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Subchaser 113 crew

When one reaches the age of eighty, a century doesn’t seem too long ago.  But what impressed me most as I researched and wrote America’s Sailors in the Great War was how close the Navy of 1917-18 was to the Navy I served in 1954-57. In all respects, my Navy was on the cusp of revolutionary changes from a service that had experienced an earlier revolution in the years leading to World War I. For an enlisted man, the most immediate continuity between 1917 and 1955 was habitability.  In 1917, four-tier sleeping “racks” began replacing the hammocks that went back centuries into the Age of Fighting Sail. Compared to today’s enlisted sleeping arrangements with their privacy curtains, individual reading lights and separation between each tier of bunks,  the racks, while an improvement, were still primitive, indeed. I leave it to the reader’s imagination to consider what placing eight men in immediate proximity in often over- or under-heated compartments of 50 or more (no sheets, by the way, just a single wool blanket) would do to a sense of privacy and, indeed, simple hygiene. This is why the Navy in both 1917 and 1956 was absolutely fanatical about cleanliness, with showering every single day being mandatory. Adjacent lockers barely large enough for 2 or 3 days worth of work clothing (formal uniforms and heavier clothing was stored in corners of each compartment) and no personal items completed a very austere environment.

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Three subchasers at New York City returned from overseas

The 1917 Navy retained its emphasis on gunnery, but the first glimmerings of aviation, submarines, etc. showed the way to future developments breathtaking in scope. Those developments really began to be felt in my service in the mid-50s. Supersonic aircraft, guided missile, nuclear propulsion all came with a rush, often overwhelming the senior enlisted people who had entered the service on the eve of World War II as Depression-era kids.  Suddenly, the Navy had to have much brighter people, and to attract them had to make life, especially at sea, more bearable. Guided missile specialists and nuclear submariners were not going to be attracted to primitive living conditions – nor, indeed, to a service in which unquestioned obedience to orders, no matter how fanciful, was the rule.

Today’s sailors are much smarter and more sophisticated than those of my time 60-odd years ago when the service that had its origins in 1917 was beginning to pass from the scene.


AMERICA’S SAILORS IN THE GREAT WAR Rose - Americas Sailors in the Great War 72 dpi
Seas, Skies, and Submarines
Lisle A. Rose
Hardcover: 978-0-8262-2105-6 • $36.95 • 300 pp. • 22 illus. • 3 maps • 6 x 9

Available at Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble, or by calling 800-621-2736.

“In recounting the U.S. Navy’s roles in World War I, Rose makes clear that the Americans were an important component to the ultimate victory, and that the experience laid the keel for the great Navy that would fight and win the next war where the stakes were even higher. Truly a vicariously edifying experience!”—Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Naval Institute, U.S. Naval War College, author of A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy

“A thoroughly researched, must read for those who thrive on real-world details of WW I.  America’s Sailors in the Great War is a fascinating revelation of life on and under the seas, in the torrid North Atlantic and waters surrounding the UK.  Lisle Rose makes clear that the success in moving massive quantities of war material, sustaining supplies, and millions of American troops to the fray resides in large measure on the extraordinary performance of seamen and ships, which did the grudging and hazardous convoy duty.”—Admiral Tom Hayward, USN (Ret.), Former Chief of Naval Operations

Understanding the Unknown: Medicine and Near-Death Experiences

Hagan Cover

9780826221032 · hardcover · 208 pp.

The Science of Near-Death Experiences is available for $20 between September 4th and October 8th. Use the promotion code NDE17 here or call 800-621-2736.

 

As more people share their stories of near-death experiences (NDEs), scientists and medical doctors have advanced their understanding of the nature of consciousness and the implications of NDEs. In The Science of Near-Death Experiences, edited by John C. Hagan, III, MD, physicians discuss what causes the typical—and atypical—near-death experiences we often hear about: a sense of peace, a tunnel of light, meeting with deceased family members and a heavenly experience. The book also discusses so called distressing NDEs which have upsetting and disturbing content suggesting perdition.

Doctors have discovered that the majority of people who experience near-death during surgery do not often discuss it without physicians or nurses asking, “Did anything unusual happen while you were unconscious that you would like to talk about?” In addition, physicians and nurses are often not trained to discuss these occurrences with their patients to help the patients understand and accept what they experienced.

People who have undergone near-death experiences sometimes describe things that they could not have known from their five senses while lying on the operating table. They describe being conscious even while sedated. This acclaimed book offers unique insights and up-to-date information for physicians, nurses, and people who have had NDEs and their families.

William Webster receives The Foundation of the CIA

Schroeder and WebsterRecently, Richard Schroeder (right), author of the newly available The Foundation of the CIA: Harry Truman, the Missouri Gang, and the Origins of the Cold War, delivered a copy of his book to the Honorable William Webster, former director of the CIA. Schroeder told us a little bit about their conversation:

Webster and Roscoe Hillenkotter, who was the first director of the CIA, served together as Naval officers (and were both from Missouri). As Webster described his youth, he was a member of the “Pearl Harbor Class” of freshmen at Amherst College and they all volunteered wholesale for the war. During WWII, he served in “little ships” off Washington State, but was later recalled to duty in Korea and was on a big Schroeder - Missouri at SeaNavy refueling ship when the Chinese entered the war in late 1950. Hillenkoetter, by then having left the CIA and in command of a cruiser division, protected the retreating American and South Korean armies.  Schroeder and Webser are confident that Webster’s ship supported Hillenkoetter’s cruisers and the battleship Missouri. This battleship is the subject of Schroeder’s earlier book, Missouri at Sea.

SchroedNagel - George Caleb Binghamer also notes that Webster and Senator Kit Bond saved the George Caleb Bingham art collection “for the people of Missouri,” adding that, “more Missourians should remember Judge Webster and his contributions to our country—especially at a time when we could use more honor and honesty in Washington.”

Schroeder by Leah W. Schroeder (72 dpi)

Richard E. Schroeder is Adjunct Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. A retired Central Intelligence Agency officer and an Advisory Board Member Emeritus of the International Spy Museum, he lives in Washington, D.C.

THE FOUNDATION OF THE CIA 05 Schroeder cover
Harry Truman, The Missouri Gang, and the Origins of the Cold War
Richard E. Schroeder
$24.95 • hardcover: 978-0-8262-2137-7 • 224 pp. • 53 illus.

Censorship and Corruption in Kansas and Kansas City

A Fool There Was (1915)Directed by Frank Powell Shown: Theda Bara

$24.95 • Paper: 978-0-8262-2110-0

Just over 100 years ago, Kansas became one of only a handful of states to establish its own film censorship board. This board controlled screen content in the state for more than 50 years – if you caught a movie in Kansas before the 1970s, you’re likely to have seen a different version than did the rest of America. Gerald Butter’s Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966 examines the unique political, social, and economic factors that led to the establishment of the censorship board in Kansas, and examines why censorship legislation was enacted, what the attitudes of Kansans were toward censorship, and why it lasted for half a century.

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$24.95 • Paper: 978-0-8262-2114-8

Around the same time that the Kansas Board of Censorship was formed, the notorious political boss, Thomas J. Pendergast, was just getting involved in Kansas City politics. In 1911, Pendergast became  head of the Goats, a faction of the Kansas City Democrats. Over the next fifteen years, he created a powerful political machine that used illegal voting and criminal enforcers to gain power. In 1925, Pendergast took control of Kansas City and ran it as his own personal business. In the 1930s, he received over $30 million annually from gambling, prostitution, and narcotics. In Pendergast! Lawrence Larsen and Nancy Hulston have provided – through extensive research, including use of recently released prison records and previously unavailable family records – a clear look at Pendergast’s life and rise to power.


Banned in Kansas and Pendergast! are both available at Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes&Noble, and on our website, or by calling 800-621-2736.

 

A Fool There Was (1915) Directed by Frank Powell Shown: Theda Bara

BANNED IN KANSAS
Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966
Gerald R. Butters, Jr.
$24.95 • Paperback: 978-0-8262-2110-0
368 pp. • 14 illus. • 6.13 x 9.25

 

 

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PENDERGAST!
Lawrence H. Larsen & Nancy J. Hulston
$24.95 • Paperback: 978-0-8262- 2114-8
256 pages • 35 illus. • 6 x 9

Fall and Winter Catalog

Our 2017 Fall and Winter catalog is now available! This season’s books cover history, philosophy and literature and include topics such as the early, unpublished stories of playwright Lanford Wilson, a history of the founding of the CIA, and a biography of Omar Nelson Bradley. Too see the full array of what’s available, click the image below.

F17 catalog cover

 

The Desk

Our final excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice, “The Desk,” is about the experience of organizational space as symbol and metaphor.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


After Bob departed Frank had the office to himself. Frank’s experience of this space was how dominant Bob’s huge desk was in the space. The desk was very large and had two large extensions attached to it, making a U shape. The desk filled the room, leaving only a four foot aisle around the desk where eight armless metal chairs were lined up against the walls—four in the front and four to the right side. The desk on the left side was near a window, and it was a few feet from the back wall to allow walking around the desk to enter the U-shape. Frank’s experience of the desk in this space was one of sitting in a commanding position where everything else and everyone else were diminished, relegated to the thin strip of small chairs around the sides. Add to this a large high back chair and the feeling was one of power, dominance and mastery—a lord of the universe. When Frank replaced the desk with modern office furniture in the corner opposite the door to the room, the room turned out to be large and easily accommodated a small conference table for meetings in addition to having a welcoming sense of openness.

For more on the ideas behind the book, read a discussion with the authors.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

On sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Sell

Today’s excerpt, from the story “The Sell,” focuses on the powerful influence destructive leaders can have on an organization. For more on the book, read this conversation with the authors: reading guide.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


The chairman introduced the speaker with much fanfare. All the physicians in the department, many of them new, had been required by the chairman to attend this talk. It was a “command performance.” Tom, a tenured basic scientist, was also there and sat and listened to the speaker deliver his talk. The speaker described the medical center and how he envisaged the department would interface with the center and how this relationship building and corporatization would make the department more profitable and competitive.

As he spoke, Tom realized that a continuous strand unifying his talk was how wonderful the present were, how superb the department was, and how by comparison inept and “bad” other departments like surgery were. The speaker made a number of comparisons where the department was portrayed as looking good compared to the other clinical departments that were said to be inept, selfish, unreliable, and possessing a number of other negative qualities.

As his talk proceeded, Tom found himself becoming increasingly ill at ease with this approach. In paying attention to his thoughts and feelings, he was beginning to wonder why he was so upset and angry. He eventually realized that he felt that he and those present were being blatantly seduced. The constant flattery seemed to be leading everyone present to becoming ensnared in a trap the speaker was setting. Tom had a gnawing sense that what the speaker was advocating would hurt the department. When he finished his talk, the audience politely applauded. The speaker invited everyone to ask questions. Tom could hardly restrain himself.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Warehouse

“The Warehouse,” today’s excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice is about the truly dark side of the workplace, where protecting one’s ego becomes the primary consideration for decision making.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


The next day Bob met with the owner, a surgeon who had been recruited to the area because there were few healthcare providers. The surgeon not only owned the plant, but he also owned a car dealership that he said might soon go bankrupt due to a major embezzlement. As the meeting began the owner was looking through a stack of index cards. He explained that he was financially strapped and that he had to find hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new warehouse. The index cards were names of patients who might be talked into having different types of elective surgery–the answer to his cash flow problem.

Bob eventually mentioned to the surgeon/owner that the warehouse was full of spoiled inventory–about 40%, based on a quick count of linear shelf space that he had done in a few minutes after the tour. Bob suggested that if he sold the inventory to big discount store down the street for cost of materials, he would not have to build a warehouse, and he would in fact have a major cash infusion. The owner, being a surgeon, was dependent on the plant manager and a nearby university faculty member who served as a consultant to run the plant efficiently. He was surprised but also ecstatic about the possibilities and he immediately gave the order to his sales manager to sell the spoiled inventory. In a few days the sale was made and trucks delivered the inventory, clearing out the warehouse.

Bob returned home feeling as though he had made a timely contribution to problem solving, albeit passing the problem onto the discount store, not noted in all instances for selling high quality products. Within a week, however, he was informed that he was being terminated. When he inquired about this with the sales manager, he was told that the idea to sell the spoiled inventory had embarrassed both the plant manager and the university professor/consultant. They had lost face with the owner and were furious. His head had to roll.

For more, read a discussion with the authors: Dysfunctional Workplace reading guide


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Temps

Our second story excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice is “The Temps.” This story makes it clear that things are not always rational in the workplace.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


As the calls poured in the supervisors made their best effort to train and supervise the temps. However, this work was made much more difficult by the fact the temps only stayed a few weeks or months and were moved to other jobs by the temp agency. After all they were temps and not permanent employees. This continuous turnover undermined the ability to train them to meaningfully answer patient questions, because each new temp had to learn the job anew, “from scratch.”

After a few months of this the CEO understood he had to hire full-time employees. He had been avoiding doing this because of the expense. The temps and their marginal productivity were cheaper than recruiting and hiring qualified people. It was at this point that the poor customer support on the contracts began to attract negative attention of the two large employers. They began to threaten to pull their contracts. The fear of losing the contracts brought the hiring process to a halt before full-time employees were hired. The temps would have to do. This created a self-fulfilling prophecy and the contracts were ultimately lost.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Empty Office


Today, we present the first in a five-day series of story excerpts from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice by Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein. Their book – which uses a psychodynamically informed perspective to help readers understand why colleagues and bosses can behave in destructive ways – is on sale all week!

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The following excerpt is from “The Empty Desk” in the chapter, “The Geography of Organizational Darkness.”


While consulting with a computer company, an organizational consultant, Robert, had an interview with one of the company’s financial managers, Joan. The subject was her experience of a recent downsizing. Joan was almost out of breath as she spoke. There was panic in her voice. Her story goes as follows.

Am I glad to see you today! Robert, the strangest thing happened Monday. I was off sick Friday. I came in to work on Monday morning and the office next to me was cleared out. There was a desk, a chair, a computer, a couple of file cabinets and bookcases, a wastebasket. And that’s it. Empty. I still can’t believe it, and it’s already Friday. It’s like there’s a big hole in this place. I knew the guy ten years. His name is Don. He was one of our number crunchers. A quiet guy who and just did his work. It seemed like he was always here, always working. He is a computer whiz anyone in the unit could go to for a computer glitch. We aren’t–maybe I should say weren’t, since he’s gone–weren’t exactly friends, but we worked together a lot on projects. He was kind of part of the furniture.

It’s so eerie. I’m numb over it. I keep going next door to look in his office expecting to see him. Maybe I’m imagining that he’s gone, and he’s not. But the place is so empty.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.