The Coast Guard, by Tom Beard

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

This magnificently produced coffee table edition combines brilliant artwork, writing and editing. Its fourteen inches from the top to bottom, with nine inch wide pages and a cover embossed by the Coast Guard seal, constitute a fitting and imposing tribute to the Coast Guard’s 220 – year history. The Coast Guard’s varied and integrated services over more than two centuries have had such an impact in so many diverse areas – national defense, rescue, humanitarian services during disasters, securing commerce and counter-terrorism – that it has in a real sense become a victim of its own versatility. Those who have sought in the past to tell the Coast Guard’s story have often failed to articulate a common theme by which to define its mission and unique character.

The editors of this book, working under the auspices of The Foundation for Coast Guard History, have sought to surmount the obstacle that a multi-mission organization poses to the telling of a cohesive story. They have more than met the challenge.

By organizing the book into four major sections entitled, “Duty,” “History,” “Life,” and “Devotion,” the reader has an instant frame of reference and organizing principle for understanding the overarching mission of the Coast Guard, which your reviewer would describe as protecting and serving humanity in times of war and peace. The book correlates the many ways the Coast Guard performs this mission.

A “Foreword” from Walton Cronkite, a self-professed “Coast Guard junkie,” sets the tone. The distinguished journalist, in his own first-hand contacts with the Coast Guard dating back to World War ll, relates how they were among the first to go into combat after Pearl Harbor; how they set troops ashore during the Allied Landing in North Africa, landed troops on the shores of Normandy on D-Day, and performed similar missions in both Korea and Vietnam. The Coast Guard served with distinction on vessels off the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea, where its crews conducted countless heroic rescues.

The Coast Guard chronicles the many deeds of daring of the Service in peace and war. The book is visually beautiful, with superb photographic displays and drawings interspersed with a well-written narrative. The historical profiles of the Coast Guard at Guadalcanal and Normandy should not be missed by World War ll buffs.

The stirring depictions of Coast Guard life-saving, humanitarian and evacuation mission in New Orleans, during Katrina, and Haiti, during its recent earthquake, are worth the price of the book alone. I highly recommend this book to all caring and patriotic Americans.

Reviewed by: Don Farinacci (2011)

Author's Synopsis

The definitive, official illustrated book on the U.S. Coast Guard, published in a fully updated and revised edition. Since September 11, the Coast Guard’s motto—Semper Paratus, "Always Ready"—has taken on new meaning. From protecting our coastlines to drug interdiction, combat missions, and guarding against terrorism as part of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard maintains a constant vigil in the safeguarding of Americans. Written by an outstanding team of historians and distinguished officers, including the current Commandant USCG Admiral Thad Allen, The Coast Guard has more than 350 pages that tell the story from its origins as both the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Lifesaving Service to lighthouses, ice breakers, and the heroes of Hurricane Katrina. Essays on history, search and rescue, and aviation all have one common focus: the incredibly trained and highly motivated people that make up the Coast Guard.