Author: Louis R. Harlan
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Total Pages: 244
The tale of (Louis R.) Harlan's transition from adolescence to manhood is related memorably in All at Sea: Coming of Age in World War II. Laced with vignettes depicting the author's naval mistakes, his escapades with and in pursuit of women, and his difficulty in returning to civilian life after the war, All at Sea is a welcome change of pace from more standard, stoic tales of wartime heroism. Harlan's frankness isn't limited to the details of his bouts with ineptitude as a young naval ensign. He also makes pointed observations about the importance of World War II compared to conflicts that have taken place since then, and about the evolution of his own racial attitudes as a product of the South suddenly thrown into settings in which he saw African Americans from a different perspective.