Jampoler, Andrew C.A. 1942-
Jampoler, Andrew C.A. 1942-
Born January 15, 1942; married; wife's name Susan (a geographer). Education: Columbia University's Columbia College and School of International Public Affairs, graduate; Foreign Service Institute School of Language Study, graduate.
Home—Loudon County, VA.
Writer. Has worked as sales and marketing executive for aerospace firms. Military service: U.S. naval aviator; became commanding officer of Patrol Squadron 19 and of Naval Air Station Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA.
Adak: The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2003.
The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt's Flight from the Gallows, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2008.
Andrew C.A. Jampoler, a retired naval aviator, has often written about historic events at sea. His first published book, Adak: The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586, deals with a military aviation disaster. An American spy plane, codenamed Alfa Foxtrot 586, was flying over the Bering Sea one day in the fall of 1978 when one of its engines failed. The pilot attempted to get the aircraft back to land, but ultimately he was forced to crash-land in the icy water southwest of an island called Adak. Of the fifteen crew members, twelve escaped to life rafts; the pilot drowned trying to swim to the rafts, and another man, badly injured, died in the wreckage. Three men in the rafts eventually died of exposure, but the rest survived to be rescued by a Russian fishing trawler—an example, some observers remarked, of cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States, then bitter enemies in the Cold War.
Several critics deemed Jampoler's account of the crash and rescue a dramatic and suspenseful story, and they noted his intimate familiarity with some aspects of it: he had flown the same type of plane, over the same routes. David R. Mets, reviewing for the Air & Space Power Journal, called Jampoler a "marvelous combination of experienced operator in the airplane, service, and region concerned, plus a writer of very considerable talent." His book is "a joy to read," Mets added. Daniel Ford, writing in the Wall Street Journal, commented that Jampoler, with "a gift for narrative and homely metaphor," has written "an adventure story to rival the best you've ever read."
Jampoler followed this work with Sailors in the Holy Land: The 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea and the Search for Sodom and Gomorrah. This expedition, led by naval lieutenant David Lynch, sought to gather scientific data on the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, and also to find the ruins of the two cities that were, according to the Bible, destroyed by God for their wickedness. The crew suffered through the region's intense heat and had some difficult relationships with local tribes, but despite the harsh conditions, only one member died, and ultimately the expedition correctly calculated the elevation of the Dead Sea and collected accurate and useful information about the Jordan. Lynch also convinced himself that he had found the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah under the sea.
In an interview with Neal Conan for National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, Jampoler noted that the expedition reflected a nineteenth-century America that was deeply religious but fascinated by scientific discoveries and advancements. "It was a unique period of change," he told Conan. He further commented that he was drawn to the story because "Lynch's pilgrimage was interesting in its own right as a religious journey" and also because of "the scientific questions that he answered and the success with which he did that."
Some reviewers thought Jampoler had told the expedition's tale in an effective, engaging manner. Andrew Lambert, writing in the International Journal of Naval History, remarked that the author sometimes veers away from his primary topic, but concluded: "If his book is often discursive the rewards for completing the journey are far greater than might initially appear; refreshingly different and thought-provoking." Daniel Pipes, a contributor to the Middle East Quarterly, found Jampoler concentrated on the American sailors at the expense of conveying the Middle East of the time, but allowed that he "gives those details necessary to make the nearly yearlong trip come alive." Lambert summed the book up as a "striking text."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air & Space Power Journal, September 22, 2004, David R. Mets, review of Adak: The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586, p. 121.
International Journal of Middle East Studies, November 1, 2006, Richard A. Freund, review of Sailors in the Holy Land: The 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea and the Search for Sodom and Gomorrah, p. 630.
Journal of Military History, October 1, 2006, James C. Bradford, review of Sailors in the Holy Land, p. 1127.
Middle East Quarterly, March 22, 2006, Daniel Pipes, review of Sailors in the Holy Land, p. 90.
Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2005, review of Sailors in the Holy Land, p. 47.
Sea Power, July 1, 2003, Sherry L. Gardner, review of Adak, p. 45.
Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2003, Daniel Ford, review of Adak, p. 10.
Embassy of Jordan Web site,http://www.jordanembassyus.org/ (September 2, 2008), article on lecture by Andrew Jampoler.
International Journal of Naval History,http://www.ijnhonline.org/ (September 2, 2008), Andrew Lambert, review of Sailors in the Holy Land.
U.S. Naval Institute Web site,http://www.periscope.usni.com/ (August 22, 2008), author profile.