The Yard:

Building a Destroyer at the Bath Iron Works

by Michael S. Sanders

For a century, the Bath Iron Works has been building some of the finest, dealiest ships in the U.S. Navy. But now the Maine shipyard is facing mounting competition and a pressing need to modernize, especially in the way it launches ships. No more will the great gray leviathans roar down the "ways" -- the traditional inclined ramp -- into the Kennebec River; this ancient technology will give way to the modern dry dock.

The Yardcaptures this moment of change and the end of an era, as old ways give way to new, through the eyes of the workers as they build and launch a U.S. Navy destroyer. From the first cutting of steel to the destroyer's triumphant commisioning, Michael Sanders chronicles the complex evolution of a ship coming into being -- and the incredible world in which it happens. It is a world rich in danger, humor, and lore, one filled with uncertainty, hope, and not a little fear of change as this venerable company fights against steep odds to find its place in a new world.

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All material ©2005 Michael S. Sanders