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I cannot remember the author. I thought the title was We Few, We Happy Few, but I have found nothing close to that.

I believe the book was written between 1965-1975. A moth-balled American aircraft carrier is being sent to the scrapyard, and the navy, laboring under the unpopularity of the Vietnam war, decides to have a film made of a reunion of some of the surviving veterans of the war in the Pacific (hoping for a tale of old-fashioned heroism, I suppose).

The back-story is strongly based on that of the USS Franklin (one of the most damaged ships to survive the Pacific campaign. Much of the book is narrated by the man commissioned to make the film, but most of it is framed as interviews with the veterans.

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We Few, We Happy Few (1974) by David Davidson looks like a match.

From the Kirkus review:

What starts out as the making of the usual war-glorifying TV documentary about a heroic aircraft carrier crew towards the dosing days of the Pacific War becomes a rather more profound look at the wherefore behind the courage -- a black guy saving the same bunch of prejudiced rednecks who had been persecuting him because he couldn't distinguish face color in the dark, sailors being more frightened of disobeying the captain's questionable orders than of the Japs, a chaplain priest who courted death because of his shame about having VI). Producer Bill Josephs has the not-so-unenviable task of placating the World War II and still gung ho navy vets who are constantly getting into trouble (when they're not crawling into bed) with his flipped-out hotshot hippie camera crew, plus the peacenik demonstrators endlessly protesting the wrong war at the navy salvage yard, plus his own son, Brad, who makes his stand against the right war in a way most conducive to spending a couple of years in jail. The frenzied hijinks of movie-making and sex join amiably with just the right amount of superficial soul-searching into What Price Glory.

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  • Thanks! I guess the information was there, but drowned by references to a more recent video game ... Or I am simply losing my grip!
    – Barnaby
    Dec 27, 2022 at 2:26
  • @Barnaby it only came up for me in Google Books when I limited the search to 20th century, it has been drowned :)
    – Ayshe
    Dec 27, 2022 at 16:26
  • Thanks! A useful trick to know.
    – Barnaby
    Jan 5 at 2:07

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