"Nobody knew about rocket boats. We were a secret mission as part of the invasion."

There is a secret history, one largely omitted from US naval accounts and World War II stories. Palmer reveals in his book, for perhaps the first time, this secret history. By the author’s own reasoning and from his detailed research, it can be assumed that this history is little known today because of the limited timeline of the program itself and of the inevitable separation of the men involved. Here, the author unveils the circumstantial operations of what was called the Rocket Boat Missions—elite missions that took place in Sicily, Normandy, and Southern France.

When reading this book, it is striking to learn what these young men, the Rocketboatmen, faced in the midst of a powerfully destructive war. Included among them is former New York Yankee Yogi Berra. Through their voices, the writer portrays their bravery and pride in what they were able to accomplish through these special missions as part of the war effort. While Palmer offers a comprehensive insight into these individual men, what is perhaps missing is a deeper exploration of his father, Ensign William H. Palmer, and his role as one of the Rocketboatmen.

At first one might shy away from the dense imagery and naval jargon found within the pages of this work. Upon closer examination, though, the author openly invites us to discover these Rocketboatmen and their achievements. He provides firsthand accounts through diaries, letters, interviews, and photographs that represent their distinctive experiences and personal reflections of the monumental war. Because the book relies heavily on historical documents and eyewitness accounts, Palmer’s words get lost a bit among the piecemeal narrative. Overall, however, his book should appeal to WWII aficionados and historical biography fans, especially with the revelation of this virtually unknown facet of the war.

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