Book Review: Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37)


by Jeff Phister, with Thomas Hone and Paul Goodyear

Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. Pp. xv, 256. Illus., diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN:0806139366

A look at the story of the other battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor , the U.S.S. Oklahoma (BB-37).

The book opens with a biography of the ship, which takes up about a third of the volume, and provides a good look at life in the pre-war battle fleet.  The events of December 7th take up more than half the book.  This account deals in considerable -- and often chilling -- detail with the events of just a few minutes, from the final seconds of peace aboard the old battlewagon, through the repeated torpedo hits that caused her to roll over and come to rest in the mud at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.  We see these this disaster unfold through the memories of scores of the ship's survivors.  These have been woven together so well we get a comprehensive look at what was going on all over the ship that never seems repetitious.  The book ends with a look at the massive salvage effort that followed, and the subsequent loss of the ship while under tow to a scrap yard after the war. 

A very good book that fills a surprising gap in the story of December 7, 1941 , and of great value for anyone interested in Pearl Harbor or the history of the Navy.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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