The Last Battle Station: The Story of the USS Houston, By Duane Schultz,1985, St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 271 pages, Maps, Photo's, Notes, Bibliography, Index. This book recounts the short and violent wartime career of the American Heavy Cruiser, USS Houston. A elegant looking ship, she had all the flaws and virtues of a "Treaty Class" cruiser. Heavy armament, good speed and sea keeping, but painfully thin armor. She, along with the HMAS Perth were lost of Samar with most of her crew in a heroic, yet misguided attempt to prevent the invasion of Java. Schultz lays out her pre-war career as the 'Presidential Yacht" (FDR cruised on her 3 times calling her his favorite ship in the Navy), transfer to the Asiatic Fleet as its flagship, build up to war and escape from the Philippines, convoy duties, port calls, air attacks (one of which cost her the aft 8 inch turret) and the forlorn attempt to stem the Japanese tide bearing down on the Dutch East Indies. The author makes great direct use of survivor's accounts about life aboard a ship at war and peace, their hopes, fear's and uncertainties of their fate. A couple of times perhaps too much as the abandoning of the ship sequence felt a little repetitive, but this is a minor quibble with a otherwise fine book. Be advised that some parts might make any red blooded American feel a deep agitation on how the crew were treated, and surprisingly not only by the Japanese. Lets just say I lost a great deal of respect for the Dutch authorities, though the actual Dutch military on the sharp end are above reproach. Her Admiral's and government in exile however are another matter. Overall a fine book that reveals a part of the war generally overlooked by most accounts.