New City resident, author and naval veteran James C. McCullagh has written a new novel loosely based on his experiences during and knowledge of the Vietnam War period. McCullagh describes the book as “historical fiction based on real at-sea events.”
“USS Bunker Kills: A Sea Story” is an historical, coming-of-age novel about a British immigrant, Neil Strikker, who joins the American Navy during the height of the Vietnam War. The ammunition ship that carries hundreds of tons of ordnance to be dropped on North Vietnam serves as a microcosm of the racial, social and anti-war tensions present at the time. These themes play out during the cruise, aggravated by the presence of an arsonist on board and extreme racial unrest. The ship’s movement is from west to east; the novel’s movement is from the comedic to the tragic, with the captain, something of a bumbler, stumbling from success to success until the Bunker engages in a firefight with North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Tonkin Gulf. Of the dead and wounded, most are sailors of color.
The book is available on Amazon. McCullagh is the author of over a dozen books of various kinds with Dell, Warner, Rodale, small presses and now Amazon.