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Back to the Bennington

Back to the Bennington Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2010 Title Back to the Bennington
Author Richard A. Clark Publisher Merriam Press
Published 2010 ISBN 978-0-557-30785-2
Format 156 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


A number of months ago, a gentleman contact me about some of the historical photos of the AF Guardian that we have online for modelers' reference. He was compiling photos that would be used to illustrate a book he was writing on the USS Bennington.

Entitled 'Back to the Bennington, Tales in the Wake', the author picks up the story of the USS Bennington, CVA 20 during his time aboard from 1953 to 1955. The title looks at the operations of the ship and the exploits of the crew in a series of stories that recount memorable events from the cruise book. Coverage of this title includes:

  • I. A Prelude to Action
  • II. Winds of the Arctic
  • III. Miracle to Remember
  • IV. At Home in Every Port
  • V. Mission Completed
  • VI. Voices of the Crew
  • VII. Role of Carriers; Infrastructure Supporting Carrier Deployment
  • VIII. USS Bennington Historical Notes

The book is a thread of short stories which start from a newcomer's perspective to the major explosion aboard ship that took place off the east coast of the United States and killed over 100 men in 1955. This book differs from most in that it isn't a sterile historical piece written by a historian, rather it is an inside look from the perspective of someone who was there. This work is only a two-year look into the Bennington's career that started as one of many Essex-class carriers produced during World War II then decommissioned in 1946, recommissioned in 1952 during the Korean War and decommissioned again 1970.

If you want some nice reading about life aboard ship and more specifically aboard an aircraft carrier in the mid-1950s, you'll enjoy this one.

Good read!

My sincere thanks to Richard Clark for this review sample.