August 4, 2009
Robert Schultz '74, author of the newly published non-fiction book "We Were Pirates: A Torpedoman's Pacific War," and Robert Hunt, World War II U.S. Navy veteran who served on 12 war patrols as a crewman on a submarine in the western Pacific, will be the featured guests at a book signing session Thursday. Aug. 13, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Luther Book Shop, located in Dahl Centennial Union on the campus of Luther College. Copies of "We Were Pirates" will be available for purchase at the Book Shop, and author Schultz and principle figure Hunt will be signing books.
Schulz, a 1974 Luther graduate and former Luther professor of English who is now writer-in-residence and professor at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., wrote "We Were Pirates" based on his extensive interviews with Hunt. Hunt is the central figure in Schultz's historical account of the life of U.S. sailors on submarines on war patrol in the dangerous waters of the Japanese empire that, in the first years of World War II, stretched north to south from the Alaska's Aleutian Islands to New Guinea and west to east from the Indian Ocean coast of Burma to the Gilbert Islands of the south-central Pacific Ocean.
Hunt served on 12 consecutive war patrols on the submarine USS Tambor. His incredible experiences as a crewman on the American submarine in the Pacific are candidly reported in this eyewitness account of war from a torpedoman's perspective. His account of the war offers the rare perspective of an enlisted seaman that is not available in the more common books and articles which are written from the perspective of high-ranking officers.
During the course of the war, Hunt was at the scene of virtually every major battle area in the Pacific war. He stood on the bow of the Tambor as it cruised into Pearl Harbor just days after the devastation of the surprise Japanese air raid the began the war, peered through binoculars as his boat shadowed Japanese cruisers at the Battle of Midway, ferried guns and supplies to American guerilla fighters in the Philippines, fired torpedoes that sank vital Japanese shipping, and survived a near-fatal, 17-hour depth-charge attack.
Published by U.S. Naval Institute Press, We Were Pirates is Schultz's first non-fiction book. His previous publications include two collections of poetry, "Vein Along the Fault" and "Winter in Eden"; and a novel, "The Madhouse Nudes." He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Award in Fiction, Cornell University's Corson Bishop Poetry Prize, and, from The Virginia Quarterly Review, the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry.
Results of his art and poetry collaboration with Vietnamese-American artist Binh Danh have appeared recently in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Northwest Review, and Subtropics.