Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Sunk in Kula Gulf: The Final Voyage of the USS Helena and the Incredible Story of Her Survivors in World War II

Recommended Posts



Sunk in Kula Gulf: The Final Voyage of the USS Helena and the Incredible Story of Her Survivors in World War II

By John J. Domagalski

Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2012
6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, xvi + 237 pages
Photographs, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $32.95
ISBN: 9781597978392



John J. Domagalski is on something of a roll, bringing out a new book on American naval history during World War II in the Pacific every couple of years. He brings a very interesting perspective to these works, since they are primarily based on extensive interviews with surviving veterans of the conflict—he has met with almost fifty of these men to record their stories.


Sunk in Kula Gulf shares many characteristics with his previous book, Lost at Guadalcanal. The framework is provided by careful and wide usage of well-established secondary sources selected from the many books published on the United States Navy’s war in the Pacific over the past half century. Into this he incorporates the personal recollections of the veterans and extensive details drawn from extant official combat reports in the archives. The net result is a very rich story that has an immediacy and a human connection that more academic analyses will omit.


Domagalski is not the first author to tap into the power of enriching stark official reports with personal narratives—John Lundstrom comes to mind as another practitioner. Nevertheless, Domagalski is extremely successful in skillfully blending the unadorned factual details of the cruiser Helena’s fight at Kula Gulf in July 1943 with the fascinating and utterly absorbing perspectives of the sailors who fought the ship. This is really history with a human face.


It helps greatly that Domagalski is a very good writer who is able to bring his reader along with him as he tells his story. His prose is simultaneously lucid and compelling. This style of history may not appeal to professional academics but Sunk in Kula Gulf include important material that might otherwise be lost, presents a powerful story, and tells it very well indeed.


James Johnson
San Diego, California

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Need to get a copy, I rode Helena number 3, CA 75, a Heavy Cruiser and helped put her out of commission at San Diego in 1963. Broke my heart when I found out she had been sold for scrap. The string of Helena's, 1, USS Helena PG 9 'Gun Boat', 2, CL 50 'Light Cruiser', 3, CA 75 'Heavy Cruiser' and 4, SSN 725 'Submarine'.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...