The crew of an old U.S. Navy destroyer steaming toward a deadly battle in the Java Sea is the focus of this famous novel set at the outbreak of World War II as the Allies attempted to defend the Philippines and Dutch East Indies against superior Japanese forces. Thrust into conflict against the highly trained modern navy, the American sailors often had only their own courage with which to meet the enemy, and Admiral Mack's memorable description of those men as they faced overwhelming odds has assured the book's popularity since it first appeared in hardcover in 1987.
Vice Adm. William P. Mack, the author of numerous books, served as a gunnery officer aboard the destroyer USS John D. Ford in the Java campaign. In 1971 he became commander of the Seventh Fleet and later served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. William P. Mack Jr. has coauthored a number of books with his father.