HISTORY

Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the USS Plunkett

Scribner. Dec. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9781982147631. $30. HIST
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The destroyer USS Plunkett, named for Rear Admiral Charles Peshall Plunkett, was commissioned in 1940, and spent time escorting Atlantic convoys and then moving to the Mediterranean. It served in North Africa and the Invasion of Sicily in 1943. The Battle of Anzio in 1944 ended its regular usage, as the ship experienced a violent, hours-long confrontation with German planes swarming the invasion force; after several near misses, a German bomb killed a third of the Plunkett‘s crew and led to the ship returning to Naples, then to the Unites States for repair. Later, in 1944, the ship offered fire support for D-Day. Journalist and author Sullivan’s (Over the Moat) grandfather, Charlie Gallagher, served on the Plunkett, and when he started research on this book in 2016, only a few members of the crew were still alive. The focus is as much a narrative of the ship’s crew and their recollections as it is the story of the ship and its active wartime career. Included are solid recounts of sailors’ lives on the ship, based on interviews and diary records. An appendix lists those who were killed in action at Anzio and others who were missing in action.
VERDICT An accessible maritime history for libraries with extensive World War II collections.

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