Books: Oh Captain, My Captain

THE ARNHEITER AFFAIR by NEIL SHEEHAN 304 pages. Random House. $7.95.

Think of an Ahab without a whale.

Imagine Don Quixote with a sheaf of body counts on all those windmills. Then reflect on the degree of rage generated the last time your wife or children used up all the hot water and left you aching for a bath. Triangulate, and you begin to get a fix on the plight of the U.S.S. Vance under her commander Marcus Aurelius Arnheiter, U.S.N.

The Vance was a leftover World War II DE with popgun armament and an arthritic...

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