Left Coast Writers® Stephen Davenport - Ninety-Day Wonder (Corte Madera Store)

Left Coast Writers®
Stephen Davenport

Ninety-Day Wonder
How The Navy Would Have Been Better Off Without Me

Corte Madera Store

Sat., March 9th, 2024 • 2:00pm PT

This event is free to attend and will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact events@bookpassage.com with questions regarding events.

Please join us for a reading by STEPHEN DAVENPORT from his book, NINETY-DAY WONDER, and a Q&A hosted by Book Passage for this event organized by the Left Coast Writers.

"What was I going to do with my B.A. in literature: gather the sailors around me just before taps and read Faulkner to them as they fell asleep?"    

Ensign Stephen Davenport was the most severely underqualified of the Ninety-Day Wonders, the derisive term for commissioned officers in the Naval Reserve with only ninety days of training, all of which were on dry land. For his final navigation exam, he actually plotted a course that landed a fictional destroyer somewhere in the Sierra Mountains. Nevertheless, in August of 1953 he reported to his first assignment aboard the USS Vermillion. He would be overseeing the First Division for training in amphibious landings.    

Once on ship, Davenport quickly learned that while he held authority in title, respect was less easily learned. The Vermillion' First Division was manned by deckhands who could do things he had no idea how to do - like maneuvering a winch to drop a truck into a landing craft bobbing in the waves thirty feet below without killing its crew, or getting a landing craft on and off a beach through huge surf in the middle of the winter. Davenport just called out orders, and he didn't always feel confident in that either. He fell for dangerous pranks by the crew, permitted an inebriated sailor in his underwear to ride a horse up the gangway, and almost caused a collision at sea. Though he served for only two years, Davenport's time in the Naval Reserve was bizarre, incredible, and absolutely unforgettable.    

At times hilarious, other times scary, Ninety-Day Wonder is the riveting account of dangers, triumphs and fundamental lessons learned aboard a ship by an inexperienced officer among far more experienced sailors.    

Stephen Davenport - 1953 graduated from Oberlin College, B.A in literature. 1953-1955 active duty in Naval Reserve. 1955-1957 commercial banker. 1957-2005 satisfying career in independent schools. 2005 to present full-time writer, community volunteer.


Stephen Davenport- photo credit - author.



Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Ninety-Day Wonder: How The Navy Would Have Been Better Off Without Me By Stephen Davenport Cover Image
ISBN: 9780976925545
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: H.H. Bonnell, Publisher - December 4th, 2023