Chief Machinist Mate Richard
McKenna, USN (ret.), joined the U.S. Navy in 1931. He served in the Navy for 22 years, including 10 years of active sea duty.
Richard McKenna served in both World War II and the Korean War. After his military service, Richard McKenna
used his GI Bill benefits to attend college where he studied creative writing. Richard McKenna is the author of The
According to the book description of The San Pebbles, “This now-classic novel
by Richard McKenna enjoyed great critical acclaim and commercial success when it was first published in 1962. The winner of
the coveted Harper Prize, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for seven months and was made into a popular motion
picture that continues to be shown on television today.
Set in China on the eve of revolution,
the book tells the story of an old U.S. Navy gunboat, the San Pablo, and her dedicated crew of "Sand Pebbles" on
patrol in the far reaches of the Yangtze River to show the flag and protect American missionaries and businessmen from bandits.
The plot revolves around a newcomer
to the boat, machinist's mate Jake Holman, a maverick and loner who dramatically alters the lives of the crew and the
people they have come to save. A faithful engine-room coolie and a pretty young missionary help Holman gain an appreciation
of China and its people and discover a world of humanity and promise he has never known. It is a story of old loyalties versus
new values, of violence and tenderness, tragedy and humor, and it engages the reader from the first line to the last. This
new paperback edition includes in informative introduction by Robert Shenk, written for the Naval Institute's Classics
of Naval Literature edition in 1984.” Richard McKenna died of a heart attack in 1964.