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A great read well worth the cost of admission.
By Roger D. Thome
Where do I start? First let me say that I'm an avid reader. I have read over a thousand books in 10 years. I say that not to brag, but to give you a measurement of my sense of comparison when I say that this book was very very good. Military fiction has not been my favorite genre. Tom Clancy goes into way too much detail. Somehow Laswell goes into a lot of detail, but he does it in a way that keeps your interest. His character construct was excellent. I feel as though I personally met and knew each individual in this book. His knowledge of the Navy is thorough and complete. Laswell has complete mastery of the English language. His sentences are perfectly constructed and punctuated. What I enjoyed most of all is his colorful scene descriptions. Here is a quote from a night scene aboard the Farnley:
“The hot humid day had followed the sun westward, leaving a cool midnight breeze. The sky, God’s special gift to the sailor, was free of city lights and urban pollution. Placed on display, all of creation was set on the night’s canopy of blue-black velvet adorned with the glistening diamond dust of billions of lesser stars and the sparkling one-point diamonds of the major stars.
A deep golden harvest moon hung low on the eastern horizon. Its glow cut a pewter path from moon to ship across shifting liquid swells rolling forward to meet the Farnley’s bow. The bow, rocking gently, rose, then floated gently down to embrace the next swell."
Wow, I wish I could write like that.
This is a book about power, control, military politics, friendship, loyalty, hard work, seamanship, all held together by the writing skills and imagination of Larry Laswell.
Gripping Navy Sea Story
By Bill Stein, CAPT, USNR (ret)
I was a young naval officer in the early 70's aboard a similar destroyer like the USS Farnley in Larry Laswell's book. The book captures the real relationships between Admirals, Commodores and ship Commanding Officers, down to the new Division Officer and his relationship with the experienced Master Chief Petty Officer in his division. This book is more in line with "Mr. Roberts", not a shoot 'em up, it tells the story of a ship at war with it's own destructive navy Admiral. This is a book about leadership and how to overcome adversity while keeping a sense of humor. This book should be on the bookshelf of every new Naval Officer. It's difficult to put down until you finish it. Caution, you may lose sleep reading this book when you have a full day of work ahead of you!
In Tom Clancy Fashion
By Michael Carrier
“The Marathon Watch” takes place in the early 1970s. This was during one of the most tumultuous periods in US history—not only was the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War at its height, but the Nixon Administration was dealing with the ever-growing nuclear threat posed by the Soviet Union. Year after year the US produced and deployed more and more Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, and so did the Soviet Union. Because neither power had any ability to defend against incoming missiles, the only plausible strategic approach that the US could come up with was that of “Mutual Assured Destruction,” known best by the apt acronym “MAD.” According to MAD, once the volley of one-hundred megaton nuclear-tipped missiles had virtually destroyed the infrastructures of both the US and the Soviet Union, along with their land-based air capabilities, all that would be left was their respective navies.
Survival following such a war would depend on sea power alone. And survival is the right word. While prior to such a catastrophic exchange of blows both powers sought supremacy; but with the magnitude of destruction wrought to both of them, it was feared that even a second or third-world nation, sensing a power vacuum, might be tempted to swoop in and take advantage. Therefore, US military strategy, developed under the umbrella of MAD turned its attention to a rapidly deployable and self-sustaining navy—one capable of picking up the pieces left after the missiles had done their damage, and to thereby ensure some sort of military, political and maritime order. That’s where Rear Admiral Eickhoff enters the story.
Admiral Eickhoff, while a brilliant military strategist, was driven as much by hubris as he was by any desire to protect US interests. It was he who came up with the Operation Marathon naval exercise. He convinced the Senate Armed Forces Committee of the merits of such an endeavor. If the exercise proved as successful as he claimed it would, it would provide the committee with all the ammunition it needed to fund the procurement process necessary for the development of a more durable navy, one that could survive for a long period without land-based support. Plus, it would propel his career to the next level.
It is with this backdrop that Laswell, in Tom Clancy fashion, develops his intricately involved narrative. I hesitate to give away any of the salient aspects of the story, as they are best left for the reader to discover on his own. But I will include in my review this humorous exchange: “Did you hear about the maple syrup?” Meyers interrupted. “Hell, that’s not maple syrup; that’s my paint.” Meyers looked at the pile of shiny, square metal tins stacked on the aft part of the fantail and asked, “What the hell were you going to do with six-hundred gallons of gray paint?” “I only ordered a hundred gallons,” Biron began, “but that was six months ago. When it didn’t come in, I reordered it the first of the next month. I’ve been doing that for six months. Now the great navy supply eagle gets diarrhea and delivers all six hundred gallons at one time, but instead of paint, I get maple syrup. The only similarity is that they both come in five-gallon containers. What the hell am I going to do with one hundred and twenty tins of maple syrup?”
I thoroughly enjoyed “The Marathon Watch.” I think that any reader who appreciates Tom Clancy’s body of work, particularly his “The Hunt for Red October,” will be able to get into this book. While the plots are quite different, the military milieu is similar, as is Laswell’s attention to detail and descriptive language. In fact, as I sit here completing my review I can still smell bearing-burnt oil from the engine room, and taste salt water on my lips.
As far as the end of the book is concerned: Without a doubt Laswell’s dramatic closing scene is one of the most powerful I have experienced in a very long time. I will not go into it because I would not want to spoil the experience for readers.
“The Marathon Watch” is a very good read. I would love to see this book make it to the big screen.
Best contemporary Navy Book of the Mil. Fiction Genre
By Andrea Luhman
I knew someday I would find a gripping contemporary book about the United States Navy. I’ve been searching for one on par with the plethora of Army Fiction-that is not set in the 1700’s. This book is set in the 1970’s and does a fabulous job showing the political environment the Navy was in during the Vietnam war and the real life danger and adventure sailors encounter out at sea. I am also a big fan of any book that can make me laugh out loud-and The Marathon Watch has all kinds of funny moments.
The cast of characters Laswell put together is fun and a breath of fresh air. A big departure from the stereotypical officer and enlisted characters you run across in the military fiction genre. Lieutenant Lee was my favorite officer. His character was stunning and so real. It was so refreshing to see a character I think anyone who has been in the military long enough has had the pleasure to work with. The actions he takes and doesn’t take in a remarkably difficult situation were right on target and made the outcomes believable.
Watching the leadership evolution of Master Chief Ross and his eventual epiphany was great. I think he showed how even as leaders we still learn new things and uncover situations we could have handled better. Even in a rut, Ross was relatable, human, and always worried about his men. I think his scene at the port in Greece was one of the most hilarious parts of the book.
I also liked the layering of motivations behind the different officers in the book. Why they did the work they did. How actions by one Captain verses another displayed the qualities and abilities an officer imbued with such responsibilities is required to have. I was celebrating the successes of sailors on one ship while mourning with sailors on another.
It was great to read a book able to make the traditions and culture of the US Navy come to life and have meaning. It was relevant and fascinating to read about the capabilities of the different ships-and then watch the sailors push their limits in real world situations. An action packed book I think anyone-civilian or service member could pick up and enjoy. I envision Captain O’Toole might have praised, “Laswell did a very adequate job.” And I agree-outstanding book, I look forward to reading Laswell’s future works.
Couldn't put it down.
By Julia Moran Martz
If not for the battery life of my iPad, I would have finished this book in one long sitting. I loved it — this from a girl who gravitates to zombies who wear fashionable shoes while eating cupcakes ;-}
Yep, this is my first military fiction read. Of course, I have no idea if the lingo is correct but I felt that it was and as though I was there. It was gritty, grimy, and gripping. The dialog feels especially authentic and you are admitted to the thoughts behind every face. I also loved the many layers to the story. It's not a simple point A to Z type of linear story. There are flashbacks, simultaneous happenings, thoughts that are said and unsaid. Keep your wits about you and you won't be disappointed in this complex tale of ego, government red tape, and heroes.
Now where did I put that old screwdriver?
Good read for lovers of military stories
Though I personally am not in the Navy, I have had several family members who were/are and this book does a great job at capturing a lot of the Navy culture that I have heard oh so much about. From the bureaucratic quirks to the unwavering camaraderie between the men, it is no surprise that the author, Larry Laswell has had 8 years of firsthand experience from which to draw from.
This book has plenty of play-by-play action without being bloody and gruesome, but what I liked most was the glimpse at the "behind the scenes" and the various levels at which decisions are made. Plenty of politicking going on every step of the way. It almost had a "House of Cards: Season 1" vibe in some parts in the way that characters were, at times, more concerned with their own career and reputation than the lives of the men whom they command. The story is told from various points of view as the action happens so you do have to keep track of several characters, but they are so well developed it makes it fairly easy. The only thing I think would have made this book even better was a bit more history woven in- checking in with what was going on in the world at the time.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ahead of the rest (Sea story authors)
By Anthony C Holmes
The story was both believable and inspiring. David verse Goliath right verse wrong. Recommend a good read to all who love the sea. Tears to the eyes.
Great book. I really enjoyed reading this
By Kindle Customer
Great book. I really enjoyed reading this. Fast action and well written. You should add this to your must read list
A very well written book
By Gisella Patharkar
I have not finished the book but I think the composition and the writing are masterly. It gives you an insight into what might all be going on a large battleship, in this case an older one, the different personalities of the crew members, what happens when a captain is a bad captain who only thinks of his own importance, the politics involved both on the ship, and by things happening in Washington. The protagonist works in the boiler room and at one point the ship is almost going to explode thanks to lack of proper replacement parts and wrong instructions by the captain. Yet there are also lovely descriptions of the ocean itself. It shows the importance of morale on a ship and what a difference it makes when it is good. Basically it is a small city or community afloat where everybody actually needs to get along.
By Mike Whitfield
I really wasn't sure what this book was about, but it looked interesting enough to blow a couple bucks as I don't often get military books in Bookbub selections. I am SO glad I took the chance as I really, really enjoyed it. Even fresh from reading it, the book is difficult to classify as superficially it does not contain any of the elements one expects in a military book. It does not take place within a war, for instance, even though the ship in question served in World War II. Instead, the book is a mix: man against man, man against environment, man against himself, a character study if you will of the men involved as well as a character study of the ship as an entity and of the navy as an entity. Surprisingly it works quite well on every level. Highly recommended.
Loved this book
By ken strauch
Loved this book, brought back many good memories of my Navy days down in the engine room and fire room. We got FLANK back bells also, just before a hospital ship lost steering and tried to cut my ship in two. His storm sequences were spot on, I was on a T-2 fleet oiler and we had a rogue wave hit us and smashed all the port holes on the bridge, the quartermaster on watch at the time thought we lost the bow of the ship it was under water for so long. When we were hit by it the ship actually was stopped in its path and we on watch were all thrown forward. It was surreal.
You suddenly remember prayer. Laswell knows how the chain of command works also, it was nice to see the good guys won out.
Exciting Action Based Great Leadership Read
By Sam Brick Jr.
Laswell is a very good writer. First books usually show the best but if Larry follows the leadership style he espouses his other reads will exhibit the same effort.
The story itself provides a terrific platform for many military lessons. Lessons of command and many leadership traits. But it is not a school book. Instead the story provides excitement in a fun Navy setting. It hits on tactics, unit pride, and arguably the most important leadership trait of all, intimate understanding and knowledge of your job requirements and your ability to perform. Terrific job and from an old Army guy you deserve a sharp salute!
By Delta Dawn 3 - Sailor
This is one of those books that you can't put down. The problem was that once I started reading it, my wife got upset with me for not paying attention to what needed to be done around the house. It would be a good one to read on a winter day by the fire with a bottle of red.
The battle descriptions made me feel like I was in the middle of it all and really held my attention. The author has a knack for pulling you in and makes you feel like you are there in person. When I put the book down for a few minutes to catch my breath, the story line kept pulling me back in to find out what happened next.
Great Modern Sea Story
By Douglas Snure
WOW! This is the best modern sea story since Mr. Roberts and the Caine Mutiny. Most of my nautical reading deals with the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars and I welcome this modern addition to the literature. I have served in the US Navy, both enlisted and commissioned; been a long time small craft racing navigator and cruising sailor; and served as Docent aboard USS Midway museum. Normally a nagging critic of items nautical, I am at a loss to criticize anything in this book and look forward to more of Larry's writing..
By D. Tuck
I almost didn't read this book. When I started reading I realized that this was not the type of book I usually find to my liking, but I was curious as to where it would lead so I kept reading. The more I read, the more involved I became. This author has great story-telling abilities, great character and story development. I'm not the least interested in military stories but this grabbed me and this author held me captive with his expertise. I believe I'll read his other stories too.
By J. C. H.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a great read. We are a military family but not navy. It was interesting to learn some of the navy terminology. With a captain being so self-absorbed, it’s easy to relate to working for someone like that. Even if you aren't military, you would enjoy reading this book. It really shows the importance of a crew working together in spite of a crazy boss. Can't wait to read the next book by this author
Keeps you on edge
By Tom Buehler
Being very proud of my brother, my father-in-law, former son-in law, my brother-in-law and a former boss (a retired Captain) who all served in the U.S. Navy this novel brought across the great traditions formed over the centuries since it's founding. Laswell captured my desire to read on to the exciting and satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy sea tales of men and their ships I guarantee you will enjoy The Marathon Watch.
I nearly stopped reading this book after the first chapter ...
I nearly stopped reading this book after the first chapter or two because the problems faced by the crew of the Farnley appeared too extreme and contrived, then I realized that Operation Marathon was purposely causing the problems.
The book developed into a gripping tale of how the crew dealt with setbacks and the character development was superb. Hints of humor stopped it being too heavy. Very well written!
Great Humorous telling of a serious story
By Tom J
OH, this is special!
My review of this novel got posted vs. "Quantum Tangle" so I hope I recall what I said!
This is a great story about a serious subject line and yet the author tells it in such a way that I repeatedly found myself in tears as I laughed! It's not often enough that justice is served and that "everyman" is able to succeed against such odds! Great job!
I have always been a sucker for a great sea story and this is one
By Greg McLain
I have always been a sucker for a great sea story and this is one. It was very well written and never boring or slow. The characters were engaging, well developed, and most made you feel proud. I strongly recommend this to everyone, even those who, sadly, are not prone to like stories that depict our servicemen in a favorable and richly deserved honorable light.
And it did not disappoint. The author knows his way around a ship ...
By Amazon Customer
As an old sailor I eagerly dived into this book, and it did not disappoint. The author knows his way around a ship and it shows. Great storyline, great pacing, characters you can cheer for, all work together for a great read! This Shellback is planning to read his other work too! I highly recommend this to you, even if you have read never sailed before.
I am always looking for books about destroyers. My dad was a tin can sailor on the destroyer USS PHILLIP during WW II. He didn't talk about it a lot, but when he did, his stories were riveting. He was very proud of his service in the South Pacific. Books like this help me fill in some of the blanks whether they are fact or fiction.
Absolutely LOVED this book. At first, I wasn't sure where it was going but, as the "plot thickened", I could see how the first few chapters were relevant. Read it on an airplane trip and could not put it down. Great characters, both good and bad guys, heroic and nasty and despicable. Great plot with lots of twists.
I am so very glad that I did
By Amazon Customer
I was hesitant about downloading this book, for I have never read a military based book. However, I am so very glad that I did. It was so well written, that even I understood the lingo. :-) Loved the story and characters. Just downloaded the second book. Can't wait to get started. Thank you for such an enjoyable read.
I wasn't in the Navy, but I found this book fascinating and stayed up all night reading it. Great action, great story, great character development. Technical side along with politics of Nam era military. But most of all the pride and honor that make the US Navy the greatest in the world.
Leadership hidden in a great Sea Story
By Thomas W Henderson
Although I have no association with the Navy, I absolutely loved this story. I served in the military and could almost put a face to every character in book. An absolute page turner that I couldn't put down. If you like military action, and enjoy military novels you will love this story!
This is a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down after starting ...
By Amazon Customer
This is a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down after starting it. The battle descriptions were amazingly detailed and captivating. The personal conflicts and feelings added depth and drake to the story. The technical and engineering descriptions also enhanced and helped the story line.
Outstanding sea tale!
By neely sexton
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first read the synopsis for this book. After the first few pages, I was hooked and couldn't put it down. This is one of the best naval stories I have read in years. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys this type of book. You won't be disappointed!
The Old Ship and the Sea... and more
By W. Russ
Absolutely a top sea story; men challenged by their task, their ship, their personal history and the command structure under which they serve.
I like books that leave you feeling good. This one teaches about honor, commitment and sacrifice. Great values in a great story.
Surface Warfare Adventure Excellence
By Amazon Customer
As a retired Naval Flight Officer in the AAW/C2 arena, I find surface warfare community activity interesting. As military fiction, this book is believable and fast paced. It was a fun read, but also included excellent observations on military leadership. Worthwhile book.
By Jess E. Cooksey
I have always enjoyed stories of the military and the men and women who have and who do serve. Whether in real life or fiction. This is well written and touches on the intrinsic challenges of command and repercussions that can occur on decisions made.
The Marathon Watch
By Facilities Director
This was a great book!! I felt like I was back in the Navy and experiencing all we did, training at sea and at war in Vietnam and as I stood on the flight deck during flight ops.
I look forward reading another one of your great books!!
Great characters, First Grade dialogs
By Amit Tiwary
There is only one way to describe the book. 'Fantastic'. Great characters, First Grade dialogs, beautiful setup, fast paced, First Grade details, and amazing finished product.
Lawrence K. Laswell: Thanks so much for this brilliant book.
A very enjoyable read...
To me the characters were well fleshed out and descriptions of ship life and interactions of the crew kept me up into the wee hours of the night. Even after putting book down I couldn't wait to get back into it...well done Mr. Laswell..
The next Daniel Gallery?
By John E. Entwistle
I read this nonstop, couldn’t put it down. Kindle unlimited gives access to a LOT of fiction, most of it average at best. Marathon watch was way above the norm and quite a good read. Is Larry Laswell the next Daniel Gallery?
Fast-Paced and Intriguing!
By Stewart C. Wolfe
This book captured my interest within the first 20 pages. It really showed the leadership our Navy has within its Chief Petty Officer, and Officer ranks. I can't wait to read more books in this series.
A MUST READ
By J. Bosworth
Easily the best "Navy" book I have ever read - a lot more interesting than the cover photo would indicate. This is the kind of book that got me interested in the Navy many years ago.
By Mary Duaime
Brought back lot of memories, was also on a ship built during WWII THAT BY THE LATE 60's was showing its age. Clearly can relate to the engine room stories, once a snipe always a snipe.
Rising to a new level of "adequate''
This book moved me to write a review. After staying up and reading it in one session.
Good military novel writing is in the details
This novel is well crated in all aspects
By Robert C. Berry
You will not want to put this book down. A great sea story, makes me proud to be former Navy. Looking forward to the next books by this author. PS .Would make a great movie.
By Kindle Customer
Well-developed storyline with a feel good ending. The book will have you cheering for the crew and officers. Strong characters. I would highly recommend this book.
By Amazon Customer
Excellent book that's hard to put down. The Navy should subsidize it as a great recruiting tool. :)
You'll learn about naval ways while being well entertained.
This book was a little slow in the beginning but was a very enjoyable read about courageous men with great determination. I really enjoyed it and recommend it.
Great read for an old sailor.
Descriptive scenes took me back some 50 years ..... I could feel Farnley under my feet as it twisted and pounded at flank speed through rough seas. Great read
Couldn't put it down! Author is very knowledgeable and ...
By Linda Wilson
Couldn't put it down! Author is very knowledgeable and has a sense of humor that runs throughout the book. I couldn't wait to read what happened next!
High Sea Adventure
Well written seemed slow at beginning but once it got moving it was hard to put down. It really kept you one your toes well worth reading.
Great Historical Navy fiction
By Gary G.
Great Historical Navy fiction. Makes you feel like you are there. Having been in the Navy there is a lot you can relate to. Read and enjoy.
Well written and excellent story
By good game so far :).
This was a page turner. Highly enjoyed the different turns and twists throughout the story. Highly recommend to readers of multiple genres
The Admiral who wants more and more power meets ...
By HMC Mike
The Admiral who wants more and more power meets the officer who wants his ship and crew to be a cohesive unit
Common Sense Leadership
By Michael H. Richards
A very entertaining read. As vet, Air Force, I appreciate having to deal with people who have rank, but no street smarts.
By Donald A. Randall
What a great read! When I had to put it down, I could not wait to get back to it. Laswell really knows about the US Navy.
Excellent book for anyone that has ever been in the Navy or enjoys the sea.
Best book I have read in a long time!
Great Sea Story
Really enjoyed this book. Stories about what can happen on the real open sea. Look forward to more of his book
By Richard Ollman
A good look at Navy life and some of the politics behind how things get done. Good story, great characters.
A damn good read for old salts, or those who want to understand them.
A little slow starting out, but once it gets going, you won't be able to put it down. Highly recommended.
By Gerald L. Williams
Story written about sailors by a sailor. Brought back memories of my time on the boats. Well done!
ONE OF THE BEST
By Amazon Customer
I am a avid reader and have read thousands of books. This is an outstanding novel. Read it!
Tin can escapades
By Edward Swindelles
Great. World war two sea story. Also read second one in series. That was great also.
By Amazon Customer
Reminded me of "The Caine Mutiny" at times.
By Michele G.
This was an exceptional read, kept wanting more.
By Charlie D.
Very good read and interesting plot. Enjoyable.
By Robert P. Watrol
Excellent. Made me want to enlist. Navy Pride
By Lawrence H. Lindstrand
Great story line