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1946; Dodd, Mead & Company publishers, New York; hardbound with blue boards and decorative gilt lettering and ship mast; book in very good condition with strong binding and clean pages.


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Under the Red Sea Sun (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1946) is a book by Edward Ellsberg describing salvage operations of the many ships scuttled by the Italians to block the port of Massawa on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea during World War II. Massawa's excellent harbor was vital first to the Italian then to the British war effort.


Ellsberg, a skilled writer, described how a small group of workers under his direction accomplished an almost Herculean task with virtually no resources. Much of the story is an entertaining account of the bureaucratic politics of working in a remote backwater far from support and assistance.


Ellsberg paints a realistic picture of confusion and incompetence in the early days of the war. He was particularly caustic about the American civilian contractor building facilities at Ghinda and Asmara, where it was much cooler than at Massawa but was too far away for the facilities to ever be used by harbor personnel. The company, Johnson, Drake & Piper, Inc., itself claimed credit for clearing the port in the privately printed book, "Middle East War Projects of Johnson, Drake & Piper, Inc., for the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1942–1943" (New York: Johnson, Drake & Piper, Inc., 1943). That book contains beautiful photographs and drawings showing projects around the Middle East

UNDER THE RED SEA SUN by Commander Edward Ellsberg

SKU: BS249
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