The winner of the 2006 U.S. Maritime Literature Award, this highly readable book offers a fresh approach to naval history. Adopted by the U.S. Navy for issue to all new Sailors, A Sailor’s History vividly and excitingly brings to life the events that have shaped and inspired the Navy of today. Its perspective is thoroughly and decidedly democratic, highlighting the role of all Sailors—from seaman to admiral. Rather than focus entirely on such naval icons as Jones, Decatur, and Nimitz, as most histories tend to do, author Thomas J. Cutler (a former gunner’s mate and retired lieutenant commander) brings to the forefront the contributions of enlisted people, such as Quartermaster Peter Williams, who steered the ironclad Monitor into history, and Hospital Corpsman Tayinikia Campbell, who saved lives on the USS Cole after the terrorist attack in Yemen. The book’s structure is unique; rather than a straightforward chronological arrangement, the work is grouped thematically in sections named after the Navy’s core principles of honor, courage, and commitment; its traditions of “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Don’t Give Up the Ship”; and other significant aspects. The result is a unique account that captures Navy heritage as well as history, that provides inspiration as well as information, and that celebrates that most essential element of the Navy’s history: the Sailor.
More than any other book in this program, this work is directly and specifically targeted to the enlisted Sailor. It gives the reader a solid foundation in the colorful history of the U.S. Navy, instilling pride in the rich traditions that today’s Sailor’s are carrying forward, making them aware that they are making history themselves as they serve in today’s Navy.