Category Archives: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Status: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Orders for signed copies of my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, have begun to be requested. Those who requested have received their copies. They have also sparked some super email and Facebook exchanges with those who have placed their orders.

Postal rates are going up on January 16, 2023, including “media mail,” which i use to make it financially reasonable. i will not raise any prices for the signed copies until i learn the new rates.

If you would like to order, you can go the “Books” page above, or start a new page on my website (, select Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. If you would like a signed copy, click on the first “Buy Now” button. If not, the other “Buy Now” buttons will go to your preferred on line book seller to purchase. The price varies due to bonuses, discounts, etc.

i hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, Hanukah, and Holiday Season, and a bountiful New Year.

Four Bases: Home Run Replay: Jewells in the Northeast Corner

The book tour was over. but there was one more stop before going home. i had reached the fourth base. It is appropriate it was the “home run” of my travels.

i left Newport on a Friday morning, October 21, and drove to Boston. The wonders of talking about my book to wonderful people had me on a high. Boston was time for family.

My brother Joe and his wife, the novelist Carla Neggers, live in Quechee, Vermont. They came to Boston, a familiar trip they make to visit their daughter and son, and their daughter’s family. i stayed at their son Zach’s apartment. They stayed in ordered pandemonium at their daughter’s home with her husband, son Leo, and two young daughters Oona and Niamh.

It was a great three days. We went to soccer games, we ate at wonderful places. Oona and Niev are smart and super active. Leo has reached the teenage stage, and was relative reclusive, but he too is smart and good young man. i was really impressed as to how he and my brother operated together.

All three of the children adore their grandfather and grandmother. Spending time with the family was like watching the good life the way it should be.

Early each morning, Joe would come over to Zach’s place. He would bring pastries from one of his favorite places and the three of us would talk over the pastries and coffee. We watched sports together and just the three of us ate out Sunday evening, my last day there. It was male family and i kept thinking of Daddy, Joe, and i sharing things together.

i should add that Carla, once again, shared her knowledge about the book business with Kate and me — Kate, a history professor at Fitchburg State, has published a book about the growth of industry in the South, Dollars for Dixie, and is in the process of publishing her second book about college radio stations. Carla is a great writer, and her novels are fun reads. She is also wise in many ways, especially when it comes to publishing a book. i know i left with a better understanding of what i need to do and how.

i departed with a touch of sadness because i know how hard it is for folks in the Southwest corner and Northwest corner to get together. The two places are a long way away from each other. i vowed to get back as frequently as i could in the future.

It was almost a perfect end to a fabulous trip for me. i use “almost” because the flight home was one of the longest and uncomfortable days i’ve spent traveling, and i have had some doozy trips in my time traveling.

But the travel was worth it. Thanks, Carla, Kate, Zach, Conor, Leo, Oona, and Nieve. It was a terrific time for me,

Four Bases: Home Run Replay: Return to My Navy Home

Newport, Rhode Island was my first Navy home. The town and the Navy there were enchanting then and certainly now.

The third leg of my trip to promote my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, was back to Newport to give a “Lecture of Opportunity” for the “Leadership and Ethics” column at the Naval War College. It was an honor to be invited.

RADM Margaret “Peg” Klein

As with my Vanderbilt presentation to promote my appearance, i had angels who had a major role in getting me there. Noreen Leahy, one of the heroines in my book, graduated in the second class with women at the Naval Academy. She continues to work in New York but spends her weekends in her home in Newport. One of Noreen’s classmates lives in Newport. Margaret “Peg” Klein is a retired Rear Admiral Naval Aviator who currently is the Dean of the Leadership and Ethics College at the Naval War College in Newport. The two met with other classmates when Noreen gave Peg a copy of my book.

Meanwhile Ed Hebert, a retired Captain Surface Warfare Officer and golfing friend read my book. When he saw me at the Sea ‘n Air Golf Course on the North Naval Air Station, North Island, he recommended that i present my book to the Surface Warfare Officer’s (SWO’s) course for newly commissioned officers, also in Newport.

Subsequently, i exchanged emails with Emily Baker Black, another heroine in the book, who independently recommended i make a presentation to the SWO school as well as the department head course, also at the SWO school.

After reading my book, Admiral Klein discussed with me the possibility of my providing a “Lecture of Opportunity” at the Naval War College.

With all of this help, the result was i went to Newport the day after my Vanderbilt presentation and held my “Lecture…” at the Naval War College. It was as, if not more rewarding as the Vanderbilt presentation. Instead of NROTC midshipmen, the preponderance of the audience were Navy officers in the Surface Warfare School’s Department Head course. The others there included a special foursome for me.

One, Andrew Nemethy, came down from Adamant, Vermont. Andrew and i were shipmates on my first ship, USS Hawkins (DD 873), who, along with Rob DeWitt, shared the stateroom in forward officers, roamed the Virginia countrysides in a Fiat Spider and BMW road bike on numerous weekends, along with sharing many adventures in Newport and then Norfolk, Virginia, 1968-69. Andrew and i have been plotting for a number of years on getting together, but one in Vermont and one in San Diego does not make for many opportunities. Andrew took advantage of my trip and made our rendezvous after 53 years.

Noreen Leahy, the old XO, Linda Schlesinger, and Emily Black at the Naval War College

To make it almost perfect, three of my heroines from Yosemite. Linda Schlesinger, who lives in Carlsbad just up the road from me in the Southwest corner, and i stayed in Noreen and Jim Leahy’s beautiful home in Middletown, intertwined with Newport. Emily Baker Black, who also lives in Newport, was our social director for my four days there. All three of these women officers were leaders then and leaders now. They also came to my lecture.

i was living my span of Navy life with an officer (Andrew) a shipmate on my first ship and three officers on my last ship.

These three, Andrew, and Admiral Klein, added to the discussion in the lecture. Approximately 25 officers who were attending the department head course at the Surface Warfare School were at the lecture. i had attended that course in 1974 when the school house was known as the Destroyer School. But folks, i was home.

Andrew joined us for dinner the first evening. Afterwards, Noreen and Emily took us all over Newport, including some wonderful dining. One was The Black Pearl, which was my hangout every time i went back. When not dining out, Noreen came up with some fantastic meals of her own leading to sea stories late into the evenings. Linda took this photo on one of those evenings. In the foreground is the work of the Yosemite’s carpenter’s shop. It is a wooden yo-yo, another nickname for Yosemite. The photo on the left is of Frank Kerrigan, our ship’s doctor (and my daughter’s godfather), in his improper service dress blues standing into Palma. the other photo is of Linda in the foreground and LT George Sitton behind her in his flight quarters gear. The book is dedicated to George who died way too soon.

My stay in Newport was one of the best four days of my life. i was taken back to days of yore in oh so many ways.

Thanks Andrew, Noreen, Emily, Linda, Peg, and Alicia Carvalho (the course coordinator for the Leadership and Ethics College at the Naval War College who took exceptional care of me.

My time at Vanderbilt and Newport boosted my spirits beyond any expectations.

Signed Copies of My Book

Dear folks,

After months seeming like years due to my futile battle against the gods of the electronic nether world, i have, with the substantial part of the work belonging to Walker Hicks, managed to figure out how folks can not only buy my book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online stores but can now get a signed copy using a credit card or Google Pay on my website.

If you would like to get a signed copy, go to the “Books” page on this site, click on Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. There are four options for purchasing the book, three online: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Above that there is a “Buy Now” button under “Buy Signed Copies.” There are three options for purchasing, select your choice and enter you information.

We are currently working on having a space for your mailing address and any desired comments you would like me to include with my signature. Hopefully that will be included in the next couple of days. If you would like to order a signed copy earlier, please send me an email ( with your mailing/shipping address and desired comment.

The price for a signed copy includes shipping and taxes.

Thanks. Sorry my delay in making this available.

Four Bases Replay: Home Run: Closure Up the Road

My journey back east provided a second wonderful time for me. And i considered it closure, much needed closure. i had a presentation at Vanderbilt University in the late afternoon, Monday, October 17, 2022.

andrew_ maraniss

Andrew Maraniss is the writer in residence in the Vanderbilt Athletic Department, author of four impactful and moving books. He also writes for ESPN. Better yet, Andrew has become a good friend. He sponsored my making this presentation about my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings at Vanderbilt. If not abetted by Candice Storey Lee, Andrew was certainly supported in his efforts by this amazing woman. She has my utmost respect in so, so many ways. Andrew was an incredible host. We toured the athletic facilities at the McGugin Center and the continuing upgrading of Memorial Gymnasium, the unique and rather incredible facility for men and women’s basketball and the upcoming women’s volleyball programs.

It is always a joy for me to visit the athletic complex at Vandy. i keep thinking about my gym at Lebanon Junior High, 1956-58 and the Castle Heights gym, 1958-62. Both housed the dressing rooms for football, basketball, and Heights’ baseball dressing room was in the Heights gym. They were, compared to Vanderbilt’s facility…how to say this? Perhaps rudimentary. Yet the most impressive thing about Vanderbilt’s facilities was not the sophisticated manner in which they provided the utmost of support for the the athletes, but how they reflect the vision of David Williams, the late Vice Chancellor of Athletics, who said, “We do it the right way, the Vandy way, when addressing Vanderbilt’s dedication to ensure the Commodore athletes are provided an education and a full student-athlete experience, preparing them for life after athletics or pursuing their dreams in their sport at the professional level. i could go on and on, but i will just say i believe in Vanderbilt because Williams’ dream is being realized through the ongoing efforts of Candice Lee, the Vanderbilt head coaches in all of their sports, Andrew Maraniss, and a host of staff dedicated to success, not necessarily defined by always winning. Someday, as Clark Lea, the relative new coach of the football team has said they just might be moving towards winning at the highest level of major and minor collegiate sports. i believe in the Vandy way.

That tour Andrew gave me led to my presentation to about 30 midshipmen (men and women) from Vanderbilt’s NROTC program; their commanding officer, Captain Brian Erickson; the coordinator for military and veteran students, Jill Stratton; and Catherine Hooper, the Vanderbilt staffer who has been working on her novel (coming out soon) parallel to my working on my book who also has become a good friend. Candice.

Middle Tennessee State University Dean of English, Stephen E. Severn, came from Murfreesboro as well. i graduated with a BA in English from MTSU. After the turn of the year, Dr. Severn and i will have a “zoom” discussion about the Dean of English in my time, Scott Peck, and Bill Holland, my professor and friend who gave me insight into the Romantics and especially Wordsworth. The two of them were two of the most impactful people in my life. The discussion will add to the oral history of the MTSU English Department Dr. Severn is creating.

i also received one of the best compliments i have ever received in my life at the conclusion of my presentation. It came from one of the more impressive people i’ve come across: Candice Storey Lee, Phd, Vice Chancellor of Athletics, former basketball star, and a disciple of David Williams.

Candice spoke to the group and said, “It’s easy for someone in a minority to speak up for a minority. It is much more difficult for someone in the majority to speak up for a minority. Jim has done that with his book.”

A final note. In August 1964, i left Vanderbilt and NROTC with my tail between my legs. i was within one course of being the first person to flunk out (and lose my Navy scholarship) without failing a course. i had an amazing 14 D’s in four semesters, failing civil engineering “statics” in the spring semester of 1964. There are many reasons, but that failure has haunted me for my entire life. It also put me on a rather amazing path through life. i have sought closure a number of times and never quite reached it. But going back to present my book to the august group of folks who attended and especially NROTC men and women midshipmen served a closure for me.

Thank you, Andrew, Candice, Catherine, Jill, Captain Erickson, Dean Severn, and all of the midshipmen for making my day.