Army & Navy: Admiral, Hell!

Said gusty, bearded Admiral William Sowden Sims, 17 years before Pearl Harbor: "An airplane carrier . . . is in reality a capital ship of much greater offensive power than any battleship." When General Billy Mitchell was court-martialed, the old Admiral (who described his own career as "largely getting into trouble with the principal dignitaries") stood up to defend him.

A multitude of forgotten incidents like these make the story of Sims lively reading during World War II. His son-in-law, Elting E. Morison, has written it in Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy (Houghton, Mifflin; $5), published last week. For 30...

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