BRINKLEY, WILLIAM CLARK (1917–1993). Two of William Clark
Brinkley’s books, Don’t Go Near the Water (1956) and The Ninety and Nine
(1966), are based on his four years of experience in the U.S. Navy during
World War II. Don’t Go Near the Water is not a “sea” story exactly, but it is a navy story: a hilarious tale of incompetence, bureaucratic bumbling, and
a touch of romance in the life of a public information officer on a Pacific
Island during World War II. It was made into a movie of the same title in
1957 starring Glenn Ford. The Ninety and Nine thoughtfully presents the
tragic story of the lives and loves of the officers and crew of a landing ship
tank (LST) in the Mediterranean during the Italian campaign.
A third novel by Brinkley, The Last Ship (1988), is a masterful tale of
suspense set on the last existing U.S. naval vessel after the nuclear war. With
echoes of Neville Shute’s On the Beach (1957), Brinkley weaves a masterful
story of the hopes and fears of the surviving crew of 152 men and twentysix women aboard the Nathan James, their voyage past the blighted coasts
of Europe and Africa, and their strange encounter with a submarine, the last
existing naval vessel of the Soviet Union.