Ship of Ghosts Book Review

Inch High Guy


Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors

By James D. Hornfischer

Hardcover in dustjacket, 530 pages, bibliography, notes, crew list, and index

Published by Bantam Books, 2006

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0-553-80390-5

ISBN-13: 978-0-553-80390-7

Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.0 x 9.4 inches

The USS Houston (CA-30) was a Northampton-class heavy cruiser commissioned in 1930. She had a reputation as a spit and polish ship, and became a favorite of President Franklin Roosevelt, who was embarked several times in the pre-war years. At the beginning of the Pacific War she was the flagship of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, stationed in the Philippines. She joined the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) naval force at Java under the overall command of Admiral Karel Doorman of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She was bombed by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Makassar Strait on 04FEB42, destroying her…

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Spam Tomorrow by Verily Anderson – one woman’s wartime experiences in an eccentric, often funny, realistic account from Furrowed Middlebrow

Northern Reader

Spam Tomorrow: Anderson, Verily: 9781913054212: Books

Spam Tomorrow by Verily Anderson

Spam, that wartime standby, might not be the first choice to name a novel, but this is an eccentric novel of life for one woman and eventually her family in the Second World War. Full of eccentric humour, this book first appeared in 1956, but has more recently been republished by the excellent Dean Street Press in their Furrowed Middlebrow series. Verily Anderson was a prolific writer who kept a diary from childhood, and this book has therefore got all the immediacy of recording events as they happened. Far from a romantic stiff upper lip atmosphere, this book is full of incidents of muddle and confusion, ranging from trying to arrange an instant wedding, through being over treated by enthusiastic volunteers, to the difficulty of getting three tiny children downstairs during a suspected air raid. Full of memorable characters ranging from dodgy lodgers to offhand…

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I Went Looking For The Sunrise

I went looking for the sunrise and all I found was the Full Moon. Gorgeous sight for the end of February 2021. I took several pictures but when I searched my photos on the computer………. tp my surprise I found this photo taken in 1989 when we lived in Ghana. This is one of my sons with a Norwegian friend. The memory of my computer is VERY Strange..

Beach Scene in Accra Ghana

A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell Revisited – The Real “Blitz Spirit”?

Northern Reader

A Chelsea Concerto: Faviell, Frances: 9781911413776: Books

Image result for a chelsea concerto

Following last night’s Documentary “Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley” which I really recommend if you can watch it on catch-up (BBC 1), I thought I would repost one of my older reviews.One of the real life “characters” who featured in the programme was Frances Faviell, who became volunteer auxiliary nurse and had some memorable experiences. At the end they briefly showed the account of the Blitz which she wrote – “A Chelsea Concerto” as well as another four novels.

I was approached to review the book in 2016, as it had just been reprinted by Dean Street Press in their Furrowed Middlebrow series. I really found it an amazing book, so different from the other accounts of the Blitz in London that I have read.

Firstly, despite the fact that this book was written several years after the events described, this does not read like a novel. The Narrator records…

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Highlight of the Day

Much to my surprise when I looked out the window of our apartment what did I see but a COYOTE. He was just sitting among the shrubs near the main building. I had never seen a coyote before. I had heard of other sightings in Ballard and further out in the country. But there was one right before my eyes right here in Shoreline, just a few miles north of Ballard. As I gazed in amazement he casually got up and walked slowly away. I was so excited!

But sorry – no photo. – the coyote was gone before I even thought of getting my camera.


I’ve been slow on blogging recently because I’ve been looking for a particular item to introduce a new series of blog entries. I’ve been searching the innards of this computer. The computer has this account/story hidden somewhere – somewhere in Ancestry stories. I’m sure I didn’t imagine it. I read it here but unfortunately didn’t make a note of it or flag it or whatever so that I could find it again. So I’ve been searching for it for about a week and of course been flailing about in all sorts of directions. It is a very good account of what life was like on the journey to America back in the early 1600’s. So many of my ancestors made this journey in the first half of the 17th century, particularly from 1620 – 1650., from England to New England. I wanted to use this account to introduce a series of profiles of these particular ancestors.

My neat workspace

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood – a powerful tale of loves as the First World War ends

Northern Reader

This is a powerful book with memorable characters in every sense.

A young woman who was an abandoned child with no knowledge of her birth family is the main character of  this second book in the Girls Who Went to War series. It stands alone as a vivid story of the ending of the First World War, and how the myth of a land fit for heroes in many ways proved to be false. The situations that Ella finds herself in, the risks she takes and the love she experiences make for an enormous saga of people and place, a frequently moving story of the fight for survival, and a complex tale of love and loss. With near breathtaking confidence and a sure way with plot and dialogue, this is one woman’s powerful story of a dramatic life that literally kept me awake, so keen was I to find out…

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Choosing The Next Book…….

Do you read a book you really like- do you just sit down and read it nonstop? That is what I have been doing recently. Just enjoying my book reading so much – and hardly waiting to choose and start the next one. This afternoon I plowed along and finished reading Janet At Noon by Jane Duncan aka Janet Sandison. This is the 2nd book of 4. jean in the Morning was the first book in the series of 4. It was published in 1971. I read many of Jane Duncan’s books years ago. She wrote a whole series of “My Friends …..” books. Straight forward and charming. This series I’m reading now is a recent discovery which I obtained from a bookseller in Florida. The copies are each well worn ex-library books. What a find!!

But now I am faced with the joy of choosing my next book. I’ll give Jane Duncan a rest before reading Janet in the Evening, the3rd book of 4. Will I read a John Le Carre or maybe Marley, a take on the Dickens character?