Messimer, Dwight R. 1937-
MESSIMER, Dwight R. 1937-
PERSONAL: Born April 30, 1937, in Ponca City, OK; son of Richard C. (an engineer) and Snow (a homemaker) Messimer; married January 26, 1959; married Renate (a homemaker), January 26, 1959; children: Dale. Ethnicity: "White." Education: San Jose State University, M.A. (history), 1979.
ADDRESSES: Home and offıce—P.O. Box 390149, Mountain View, CA 94039-0149; fax: 650-903-9883. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: San Jose Police Department, San Jose, CA, police officer, detective, and administrator, 1966-89; San Jose State University, San Jose, lecturer in history, 1988-2002. Military service: U.S. Army, 1954-62.
No Margin for Error: The U.S. Navy's TranspacificFlight of 1925, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1981.
Paws of War: The Loss of the U.S.S. Langley and theU.S.S. Pecos, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1983.
In the Hands of Fate: The Story of Patrol Wing Ten, 8December 1941-11 May 1942, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1985.
The Merchant U-Boat: Adventures of the Deutschland,1916-1918, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1988.
Escape, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1994.
Escape from Villingen, 1918, Texas A & M University Press (College Station, TX), 2000.
Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in WorldWar I, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2001.
Verschollen: German U-Boat Losses in World War I, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2002.
Contributor to books, including War, Revolution, and Peace: Essays in Honor of Charles B. Burdick, edited by Joachim Remak, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1987; The U-Boat War in the Caribbean, edited by Gaylord T. M. Kelshall, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1994; Silent Hunters: German U-Boat Commanders of World War II, edited by Theodore Savas, Savas Publishing, 1997; and Voyage of the Deutschland, edited by Paul König, Naval Institute Press, 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Other Court-Martial: The Trial That Made Billy Mitchell; The Raid on Zeebrugge: The German Viewpoint.
SIDELIGHTS: Dwight R. Messimer told CA: "I write because I enjoy writing and because I want to inform my readers on historical subjects about which little or nothing has been written. The motive to write came from within—it was simply something that I had wanted to do since I was a teenager. I have always been an avid reader of military history, and the historians who most influenced me were Walter Lord, Cornelius Ryan, John Terraine, and John Toland.
"As an historian I have frequently said that you don't know how little you know about a topic until you sit down to write about it. That said, my writing starts with research, which continues until I am conversational about the topic. I work on a personal computer, into which I put all my research notes so that I can instantly recall them. When the notes are all entered, I create a general outline to keep me on track and to create a skeleton that I can flesh out with text. The actual writing process starts at around six in the morning and goes until I feel it is time to quit—usually between noon and two. I write as many as seven days a week until the book is finished, which takes from four to six months. I read and edit the completed text for accuracy and style at least three times before I am satisfied that it is ready to submit. I pay particular attention to the active voice, and I strive for tight writing.
"Why write about military history? Because it interests me and it involves human experience. I have written about sinking ships, survival at sea, and escapes. The drama that occurs on a sinking ship is captivating because so many people are involved in so many different situations over a fairly long period of time. Prison camp escapes provide similar drama and human experience for many of the same reasons. There is also high drama in military trials because they too involve human experience. And it is the human experience that interests me as a writer and you as a reader."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Aerospace Power Journal, summer, 2001, Glenn Leinbach, review of Escape from Villingen, 1918, p. 108.
American History Illustrated, November, 1985, review of In the Hands of Fate: The Story of Patrol Wing Ten, 8 December 1941-11 May 1942, p. 8.
Choice, April, 2002, B. H. Groene, review of Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in World War I, p. 1475.
Journal of Military History, July, 2002, John D. Alden, review of Find and Destroy, p. 866.