The Higgins PT boat is lesser known than the Elco PT boat probably because a future president wasn't driving one that got cut in half by an enemy destroyer. There were only 209 Higgins PT boats built versus 326 Elco 80-foot PT boats, but it’s claimed by various sources that more Higgins 78-foot PT boats survive today.
This soft-cover book measures 8 1/4 by 11 inches, the same as others in this "On Deck" series, and is 80 pages in length, with a good mix of vintage photos and other shots of some surviving restored boats. It is also available in a hardcover version for an additional nine dollars, as stock number SS66008.
After a short introduction, the rest of the book is comprised of photos with detailed descriptions. When the author uses a picture of a restored boat, he tells the reader which one it is. I like this practice, since not all restorations are correct or accurate. One restored boat featured in the book is PT-309, which resides at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. This boat was named "Oh Frankie" after her Skipper met Frank Sinatra at a New York City nightclub, and was credited with sinking 5 enemy ships in the Mediterranean. Even though it’s inside a building (dry) the author did an excellent job of getting some nice photos, and he notes what items on the boat are original and which aren’t.
PT-658 is another restored boat in the custody of "Save the PT Boat, Inc." of Portland, Oregon, and is being continuously worked on. She is floating and is in operating condition…. boy, would I love a ride!
PT-796, which is on dry display at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts, is also covered in the book. Although I don’t know of any kit of the 78-foot Higgins PT boat, Doyle’s work is an excellent reference book for the scratch builder and the PT boat nuts as well.
My thanks to IPMS/USA and Squadron Products for the opportunity to review this book.