James Elias Bassett Jr. (1912-1978) was an American newspaper editor and author born in Glendale, California and raised in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Maine, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After college, after which he returned to Los Angeles, California and joined the Times as a reporter. He later served the paper as aviation writer, political analyst and director of the editorial pages until he was named associate editor in 1971. At it's sister publication, The Mirror, he held the posts of political editor, feature editor and city editor.
He entered the United States Navy as lieutenant junior grade in 1941, and went on to become public relations officer for Fleet Admiral William F. (Bull) Halsey. He later retired from the service as a captain, and returned to work at The Times. He held the Bronze Star Medal with combat V.
Bassett took leaves from The Times to serve in Richard Nixon's vice presidential and presidential campaigns of 1952, 1956 and 1960 and was public relations director for the Republican National Committee in 1954.
He drew on his World War II experiences for his novel Harm's Way, which became a bestseller after its publication in 1962 and was made into a motion picture, In Harm's Way, starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda.
Modern Era Naval Fiction
|WWII||Harm's Way||The rise of a naval commander after Pearl Harbor|
|WWII||Commander Prince, USN||A naval commander is given command of a destroyer squadron in the Asiatic Fleet|
|The Sky Suspended||Naval mercenaries in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War|