Books: Ordeal on the River

YANGTSE INCIDENT (240 pp.)—Lawrence Earl—Knopf ($3).

A stranger on the docks of Hong Kong might have wondered what all the fuss was about. It was only the little British frigate Amethyst, 1,470 tons, and looking a bit shabby at that. But as she hove into view that August day of 1949, the din of sirens, fireworks and lusty British cheers was a considered tribute. In spite of the heavy rain, a squadron of Spitfires repeatedly swooped low in salute. Only as the Amethyst neared her Royal Navy berth did it become plain that she was a shelled cripple. No sooner was she...

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