Captain Sheppard McCloud, an American naval hero from the attack on Pearl Harbor, struggles to overcome both his physical and psychological injuries when he is selected for a new command on a vital mission. He must tackle the demons in his mind and the painful, lingering, injuries he suffered when Japan attacked on December 7th.
McCloud’s been tapped to command the US Navy’s latest capital ship, the Argonne, in the early phases of World War II. He needs to follow his new orders while keeping his fears secret. A commander’s life isn’t easy; McCloud faces a host of challenges and decisions as he assumes total responsibility for the ship and crew. He’s aware that his every move, behavior, and decision influences the men he leads in battle; for it is their performance as the sum total of the ship’s character that is the weapon deciding outcomes.
Carefully researched to accurately depict the US Navy during World War II, Sheppard of the Argonne follows the exploits of Sheppard McCloud during a hypothetical war at sea. It presents rare insight into the command of a capital ship at war, showing how it tests the captain’s leadership as enemy submarines and aircraft attack, culminating in that rarest of historical actions, a gun duel between capital ships.
Sheppard of the Argonne is a fast read, and once the action starts, it becomes a book that keeps your attention through to its dramatic conclusion.
Although not fully physically or emotionally recovered from painful leg injuries sustained in combat near Pearl Harbor, Captain Sheppard McCloud was honored to receive command on one of the Navy’s most modern battle cruisers in 1942. Plagued with self-doubt and guilt following the loss of many of his men and the extensive damage to his previous ship, he struggles to put his mission and instincts first.
On Sheppard’s first cruise as skipper of the Argonne, he is part of America’s first naval task force ordered to take the war to the German fleet in the eastern Atlantic.
In this well written historical novel by an author who is a retired Navy captain, the reader sees the action unfolding not only from Sheppard’s perspective but also from the viewpoint of commanders in other vessels and aircraft. The battle scenes are vivid, the descriptions authentic, horrific, and detailed without being overburden with jargon and minutia.
Sheppard of the Argonne is a story of a complex battle involving carriers, cruisers, submarines, and aircraft. Although skillfully presented from the perspectives of American, German and British characters, it is primarily Sheppard’s story as he works to keep his ship afloat and fighting in a battle that teeters on the edge of disaster.
There are no stereotypes portrayed here, rather men pushed to their limits in courage, decision-making, and training. I find the book a compelling read and as useful in providing sound leadership advice as it is entertaining. Sheppard of the Argonne is highly recommended.
Sheppard of the Argonne is a cleanly organized, well-paced book perfect for military buffs and strategists, but it has something for the everyday reader as well. It is a story about two protagonists: the US Naval fleet growing into expanding technology and the captain seeking inner redemption. They are both done tremendous justice by Weatherly, who exhibits extraordinary knowledge of both the military and human nature.
Weatherly does a masterful job of describing the American, British, and German soldiers (sic) officers and men who will eventually take part in the battle, and most importantly, he makes readers become invested in these characters. He also accomplishes the tricky task of supplying enough detail for hard-core military aficionados without derailing casual readers. Overall, he successfully brings the world of naval warfare to life in all its sound and fury.”
STARRED REVIEW (top 6%)
“This alternative naval military history story is, in a word, authentic. G. William Weatherly is a former U.S. Navy Captain who obviously knows about warships and command, and it shows throughout this gripping novel replete with the sights, sounds and maneuverings of ships at war. Readers beware: Once begun, this book is difficult to put down.
“The author’s finesse with battle scenes would be enough to recommend the book, but Weatherly also provides rare insight into the nature of PTSD and the way a captain’s leadership is tested during command of a capital ship at war.
“The writing powers forward like the behemoths of the sea it portrays, taking readers on a thoroughly enjoyable, volatile journey into the fog of war and the terrifying confusion of battle. The novel is highly recommended, especially for military history buffs and military students, for whom the realistic elements of leadership and command will virtually jump out of every page.”