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The legend begins here
The legend begins here

Getting the men back home--Alive.

"Action is so rich in detail, the acrid smell of gun powder and blood will sting your nose, and the cries of the wounded and dying will haunt your dreams. Laswell writes about war as it is."

"Powerfully written, so riveting, and so enjoyable that I rate it among the best books I've ever read."

"If your father or grandfather, during WWII, was in the USN you will gain some insight into the training and brotherhood forged by young men who answered the call to serve their country, and yes, for many to die."

Lieutenant Patrick O'Toole is a natural born seaman but is plagued by self-doubt. Horrific nightmares of the bloody slaughter of 163 of his crew mates at Guadalcanal torture him.

Vows to the Fallen is a triumphant chronicle of O'Toole's rise through the naval ranks and his remarkable emergence as an audacious but yet unparalleled military strategist and leader of fighting men. Laswell, a master storyteller and action writer, carries the reader on a breathtaking journey from the disastrous defeat in waters off Guadalcanal, to the devastating loss of O'Toole's second ship at Kogeri Island and on to the awe-Inspiring victory at Ubella Atoll.

But one more battle remains for O'Toole and his men -- a life or death suicide mission to help save over five thousand marines trapped on the Mujatto beach. His mission: bloody and delay a superior naval force lead the Japan's super battleship. Will his guts, grit, strategy and leadership be adequate?

"In Vows to the Fallen Laswell delivers all the elements in a great naval novel: guts, grit, loyalty, great battles, heros, love, humility, introspection, win some - lose some, surprise action, animosity, sorrow, dedication, suspense, surprises and a Vow to the Fallen."

"Larry Laswell is a master storyteller."

"A good mixture of humor, action, history and military strategy.


Duty, Honor, Country
Duty, Honor, Country

Duty with Honor…Above All Else.

The year is 1971. With Cold War tensions at their peak, the U.S.S. Farnley has been selected to take part in Operation Marathon, the brainchild of ambitious and unscrupulous one-star Admiral Eickhoff, who sees the dangerous experiment as his stepping stone to greater power and national prestige. The World War Two-era destroyer—with her outdated technology, low crew morale, and mentally unstable captain—would be an ideal component of the Admiral’s experiment due to her chief characteristic: her expendability.

Failure, however, is not an option for the new Engineering Officer Lee. His enthusiastic faith in the viability of the aged vessel and his dedication to duty with honor puts him at immediate odds with soon-to-retire Chief Petty Officer Ross, while ultimately inspiring his fellow crewmen to help return the Farnley to fighting form. But their dedicated efforts are creating a powerful and unforgiving enemy—and when unexpected catastrophe befalls the Farnley, those manning the old destroyer will suddenly be forced to choose between duty and disobedience, between life and death.

Larry Laswell’s The Marathon Watch is a gripping, authentically detailed naval adventure that harkens back to the heyday of the late, great storyteller Tom Clancy. Based in part on the author’s actual military experiences, it provides a fascinating inside look at the shadowy intricacies of U.S. Navy politics wrapped around an enthralling story of honor, determination, and grave peril during the dark days of America’s Cold War.

Featuring a richly developed cast of officers and crewmen, Laswell’s thrilling chronicle transports the reader aboard the aging World War Two-era destroyer, U.S.S. Farnley, into the perilous heart of an ill-conceived experiment. There the frailties of human nature, the ambitions of unscrupulous men, and the terrible vicissitudes of nature will combine to create a disaster at sea that only courage, ingenuity, and a devotion to duty can possibly overcome.

Want to Know What Really Goes On in the Navy?  Well, Now Hear This! 

Warning: The older Larry gets, the better he was.

Any sailor will tell you sea stories relate bonafide historical events devoid of exaggeration or embellishment. Fairy tales, on the other hand, are well "fairy tales." It’s easy to tell the difference between the two. Tradition demands fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time," whereas sea stories begin with "Now, this ain’t no shit." The tradition of trustworthiness regarding sea stories is so sacred that no one can recall any instance where the veracity of a sea story was questioned. 

Author Larry Laswell, a master of the non sequitur, combines a jaded sense of humor, and what has to be fuzzy memories of his navy experience to produce another editions of A Ship-load of Sea Stories & One Fairy Tale. Civilians chuckle as they travel with Larry through his career in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club. Past and present service members laugh out loud as Larry finds the universal truths, logic, and illogic of military service they left behind.

A Ship-load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale is just for fun.


In the finest tradition of the United States Navy, Larry shares his navy experiences in A Ship-Load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale. Along the way, Larry answers all the questions you never thought to ask, including:

  • What should you remember not to forget just before a jetliner lands on you?
  • How do you avoid KGB kidnappers at lunchtime?
  • What happens when you throw an egg through a radar beam, and what happens if you miss?
  • Where’s The Shrubbery Inn, and why is it so cheap?
  • How do you cheat on navy exams, honestly?
  • What’s the best way to get stoned without breaking any regulations?
  • Why do things get complicated when you enlist in the navy while wearing your army uniform?
  • Why do economic forces indicate that a navy career is a better choice than an army career?
  • What shouldn’t you drink while watching Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars?
  • Did peace ever rule the planets, and did love ever steer the stars?


In the finest tradition of the United States Navy, Larry shares his navy experiences in A Ship-Load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale. Now in Volume 2, Larry answers all the questions you never thought to ask, including: 

  •  What is it every sailor wants on his bucket list?
  •  How would you steal San Francisco’s iconic Haight-Ashbury street sign
  •  What’s a crispy critter and why you don’t want to become one?
  •  What happens when you say, "Kiss me," to a navy shrink?
  •  How could heavy rimmed glasses mess up your wedding ceremony?
  •  Is it possible to create an artificial black hole?
  •  How deep is the swamp at the Dam Neck navy base?
  •  When is it okay for a man to scream, "Help! Help! Rape?"
  •  What does it really mean to be a navy ensign?
  •  What does it mean when a bunch of crusty warrant officers and chiefs invite a young tender ensign out for a few drinks on the beach?
  •  Why was the USS Intrepid’s bulldog mascot, thrown off the ship?
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    Larry Laswell
    Knoxville, TN 37938