Some Interesting Reads

April 18, 2011

I’ve read a few books here and there about the merchant marine, USMMA, USNA, and World War II. Some of these are hard to get in print but I’m sure if you ask around you might be able to find copies at the library, etc…..

Also, here’s a little bit of history about women and the service academies. Officially, Deborah Doane Dempsey was the first to take advantage of women being admitted at the maritime schools and service academies. She did two years at another school and then transferred to Maine Maritime Academy to graduate in 1976. She was not part of the regiment. Of the five federal academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and USMMA) USMMA was the first to admit women into the regiment of midshipmen in 1974. These women completed four years and were members of the class of 1978. The other federal academies did not comply until two years later and admitted women in 1976.

The Captain’s a Woman: Tales of a Merchant Mariner by Deborah Doane Dempsey and Joanne Reckler Foster
This book is not only a great story about an amazing woman, it is a great primer for the everyday person about the merchant marine and life at sea. I found it absolutely fascinating and the industry perspective on things such as the Exxon Valdez accident was  eye-opening.

In Peace and War: A History of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and Chloe G. Kline
A very detailed book that answers practically everything you wanted to know about Kings Point and the modern merchant marine. It’s all politics and unions and quite frankly I’m not sure much has changed.

First Class: Women Join the Ranks at the Naval Academy by Sharon Hanley Disher
Disher is a member of the class of 1980 and this is her account. Attending any of the academies is such a unique experience and she brought it to life and I lived it vicariously through her. I met DH post academy days and I feel this gave me a little insight into some of the experiences he may have had–albeit from a different point of view. Disher and others like her forged new ground and changed the academies forever.

Heroes in Dungarees: The Story of the American Merchant Marine in World War II by John Bunker
Great first-hand accounts of these brave men who had to fight hard after the war to get the credit they deserved.

Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women by Laura Fairchild Brodie
Brodie is a part-time professor at Virginia Military Institute and married to its band director. As such she offers both an insider and outside perspective. As a state-funded school, VMI was ordered by the Supreme Court to admit women in 1996. This is an analysis of how the school made the transition and graduated its first women cadets in 1999.

**I will admit that I did not finish In Peace and War or Breaking Out. I am partial to lighter fair and first person accounts. Both are very well written.**



  1. […] book on the founding of Kings Point and the political and union in-fighting give an insight as to the fact nothing much seems to have […]

  2. […] now everyone feels there is a conspiracy against USMMA. But again, if you read the book on the founding of USMMA this is really nothing new. (If you want to talk conspiracies, let’s talk about how long it […]

  3. […] and modern news reporting. (For example, if you want to learn something new about the Valdez, read The Captain’s a Woman. Capt. Dempsey gives her thoughts from an industry (i.e., a mariner’s) point of view that […]

  4. […] Capt. Dempsey’s story can be read in the Captain’s A Woman. […]

  5. […] this is really hard to write because I do think there are inspiring women out there who sail. Captain Deborah Doanne Dempsey is one and her story is fascinating. I think I would add to my own daughters and my scouts to think […]

  6. […] academies and state schools. Captain Deborah Doane Dempsey holds the distinction of being the first female to graduate from one of the state schools. Interesting to note she only spent two years at the school and was […]

  7. […] Junger’s Perfect Storm? And if you want some insider information about the Exxon Valdez, read The Captain’s A Woman–remember, this oil spill doesn’t even make the Top 10 according to Popular […]

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