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Robert Shenk

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Captain Robert Shenk, USN (ret.), was captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve who taught at the U.S. Naval and Air Force academies, is a professor of English at the University of New Orleans. According to his biography at the University of New Orleans, “A retired captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Shenk spent some eleven years on active naval duty, part of that service on destroyers and river patrol boats in Vietnam, and the rest of it a professor at two service academies. He put together several naval-related literary projects in the 1990s, including a co-authored biography of Admiral Dan Gallery and an edition of World War II naval memoirs called Authors at Sea, which was a selection of the History Book Club.

 

Professor Bob Shenk wrote his dissertation in the Medieval/Renaissance tradition of moral philosophy as it underlies the drama; it was published by Salzburg Studies in English Literature as The Sinners Progress: A Study of Madness in English Renaissance Drama. Dr. Shenk has also published articles on Medieval Romance, Jacobean Drama, and 18th Century Literature. At UNO, he continues his work in earlier English Literature: he regularly teaches Milton, frequently writes reviews for the Ben Jonson Journal, and occasionally teaches Shakespeare.”

 

Captain Robert Shenk is the author of Naval Institute Guide to Naval Writing.  He is also the editor of Authors at Sea: Modern American Writers Remember Their Naval Service; and a co-author of Admiral Dan Gallery: The Life and Wit of a Navy Original.

 

According to the book description of Admiral Dan Gallery: The Life and Wit of a Navy Original, “In his foreword to this biography about a great friend, Herman Wouk describes the book as "the unadorned truth about . . . a decidedly human gentleman with human failings, more than balanced by rare willpower, brainpower, and humor." A maverick with less than reverential views of the navy that was his life for more than forty years, Gallery was a man of strong character and sharp wit who never shied from controversies and who became known as a formidable opponent. Through the years he repeatedly took courageous public stands on matters of naval policy, including the "Revolt of the Admirals," that nearly cost him his career.

 

Gallery is best known for his dramatic capture of a German submarine (U-505) on the high seas, the first such taking of an enemy vessel since the War of 1812, and for his forceful support of aircraft carriers after the war. He also is known for his success as a writer, and the best of his work makes up a significant part of this book--excerpts from magazine articles, short stories, and letters that are incorporated into this biography by two English professors who vividly portray the highly original man behind the deeds and the writings.

 

Readers will learn about each stage of Gallery's life, from his days at the Naval Academy when he called the Secretary of the Navy's son a draft dodger--and then knocked him out--to his humorous stories about navy life and his final essays and books on such controversial subjects as the Pueblo incident. They will also come to appreciate his public relations successes in getting U-505 moved to Chicago, in sponsoring baseball competitions, and in establishing the navy's steel band.”


The Naval Institute Guide to Naval Writing
Robert Shenk  More Info

Authors at Sea: Modern American Writers Remember Their Naval Service
US Naval Institute Press  More Info

Admiral Dan Gallery: The Life and Wit of a Navy Original
C. Herbert Gilliland  More Info

According to the book description of Naval Institute Guide to Naval Writing, “Written by a naval officer who taught English at two service academies, this is the third edition of the premier guide to professional writing for the naval services. The book is widely used by officers, enlisted men and women and civilians in both the Navy and Marine Corps. Shenk provides sound, practical advice on all common naval writing assignments. This third edition adds a new chapter on writing emails and updates the whole book to take account of the way naval writing is done in today's computer age.”

 

According to a reader of Authors at Sea: Modern American Writers Remember Their Naval Service, “This gem of a small book is a wonderful compilation of reminiscences of a few great, not so great, famous and not so famous people who served our nation at sea during war and peace. My favorite is Alex Haley's essay on The Most Unforgettable Character.... This is a great short read, wonderfully informative and chock full of great personal stories.”

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