Captain Puckett: Sea stories of a former Panama Canal pilot


The history and operations of the Panama Canal during the 1980s and 1990s come to life in a new book, Captain Puckett: Sea stories of a former Panama Canal pilot (224 pages, Chestnut Heights Publishing; $19.95 paperback, $9.99 e-book, 2018).

The book, published in April 2018, is available at and other retailers.


In this vibrant personal memoir by retired canal pilot Kenneth P. Puckett, he shares "sea stories" and other personal memories that have made him a popular teacher and lecturer. For nearly 16 years, until he retired in 1996, he helped to guide ships through the historic Panama Canal on more than 1,400 transits.


On these pages he navigates through tales of his rocky childhood in northern Kentucky; his military adventures in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, where he served two tours of Vietnam; and what it was like in Panama in the 1980s as the Central American country fell into chaos under the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega.


Enjoy the breezy storytelling of Captain Puckett as he shares what it was like being a maritime pilot on the canal during its turbulent years of transition to ownership by Panama after nearly a century under U.S. control.


But don't think Captain Puckett didn't have fun along the way. He blends into this autobiography many of his unforgettable sea stories, such as the time he encountered a "pooping monkey" on a ship's bridge, and the time he once pranked a ship's captain into thinking he had plowed his vessel through a banana farm.

CANDY: True Tales of a 1st Cavalry Soldier in the Korean War and Occupied Japan

"CANDY: True Tales of a 1st Cavalry Soldier in the Korean War and Occupied Japan" is the coming-of-age autobiography of a small-town teenager going to war in 1950. Kenny LaRue is like many young men at that time who volunteer for the Army out of a sense of patriotism and duty. Through quirky circumstances, he ends up on the front line of Korea, where he remains firmly in denial he might be killed -- until he sees a buddy blown up by an enemy shell. Kenneth J. LaRue, in collaboration with his son William, tells this story in a no-nonsense way steeped in humanity and humor, including recollections of off-duty antics in Occupied Japan. The title "CANDY" is inspired in part by mispronunciation of Kenny's name by the young "bar girls" in Japan. Candy happens to be, too, a recurring element of his story, from the treats he gives to beggar children in Korea to the Army candy he used to settle his stomach after a brutal battle on Thanksgiving 1951.

Collecting Simpsons! An Unofficial Guide to Merchandise from The Simpsons

COLLECTING SIMPSONS! is a well-designed, humor-filled book that's a definitive guide to the mind-boggling amount of licensed merchandise inspired by "The Simpsons" TV series.

It features:

  • A generous page size of 8 by 11 inches.

  • A detailed price guide listing typical values for more than 1,000 items.

  • More than 375 black-and-white photos, as well as a dozen color ones on the heavy-duty front and back cover. A four-page Photo Index makes it easy to find them all.

  • A brief history of "The Simpsons" and how it became a merchandising marvel.

  • Reviews of Simpsons action figures, collector plates, books, software and other goods.

  • Advice on how to get the best deals when buying Simpsons animation art.

  • A step-by-step autopsy of a talking Bart Simpson doll that reveals exactly how this popular toy works.

  • Photo-filled chapters exploring Simpsons bootlegs and hard-to-find promotional merchandise you won't find in retail stores.


  • Twitter Classic

© 2018 William D. LaRue