The American Years

The Cover of the Book

When a secret decision was made by the British government in 1960, under pressure from US President Eisenhower, to allow an American Polaris base in Scotland, it was a political one made at the height of Cold War fear. Barely eight months later, in March 1961, a crowd of people gathered along the shoreline in the little town of Dunoon to watch the future arrive, in the form of the USS Proteus.

Local people were unsure what to expect. But this rather nondescript gray naval vessel did carry the future for many.

The US Navy base on the Holy Loch was to dominate Dunoon and the Cowal peninsula for the next thirty years. Views of its presence varied. The fears of many locals of the consequences of a nuclear submarine facility on their doorstep were amplified by huge demonstrations against nuclear weapons in the early 1960s. Yet people seemed to welcome the American service personnel and their families and the appeal of American life and glitz was great for many younger residents of a small Scottish town.

Andrene Messersmith, herself a child at the time of the US arrival, has compiled a collection of impressions and memoir from both sides of the Atlantic of what this major change meant to Dunoon.

In the present age of different power balances in the world, The American Years is a social history with resonance for today.

Link to the On Line Book Store for:  The American Years

Argyll Publishing
Argyll PA223AE
ISBN 1 902831 61 6

"The arrival of the Americans in the Holy Loch was a huge happening in Scottish and even international terms, but in its human impact it was most marked on those in the Cowal locality. I offer my own personal memoir - and how it all affected my life and career - but in these pages others tell their colourful tales. This is a significant part of Scotland's rich social history and a great read as welt." George Robertson, Secretary General NATO
Andrene Messersmith was born in Dunoon of Scots-Italian descent. She was a child of 11 when the US Navy arrived in her town and she grew up with the dominating presence of the Holy Loch Polaris submarine base. Eventually she married the son of a US Navy Master Diver and her family connections continue to straddle the Atlantic. She studied art in London and is a textile designer.

Let me introduce Andrene Messersmith, the author of the book, "The American Years".
Andrene and I at the 2005 Holy Loch reunion in Dunoon.

The following pictures are of me. I'm not that vain, I just didn't want to give the whole book away.  And if you have visited my Web Site you would have seen all the photos all ready.

Rear Cover

Copyright 2003 Andrene Messersmith
Argyll Publishing
Argyll PA22 3AE

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without either prior permission in writing from the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying

The rights of Andrene Messersmith to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 1 902831 6 16

Where to get your copy of the book.

The American Years - Dunoon & the US Navy

Added on Sunday 5th October, 2003 by Roland at:

A book has been added to the ships store that chronicles the thirty years the US Navy had a base on the Holy Loch. The book contains stories, interviews and personal thoughts of those who were stationed there and the families who lived there. The cost is $20.00 and includes shipping and handling. Get yours today!

Send payment to:
Site One Holy Loch Association
c/o Gerry Haight - Treasurer
2403 Radcliffe Drive
Arlington, TX 76012

Copyright ©  2003, 2005  JCollins / ThistleGroup.
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This material may not be published or distributed with out written consent.
Started on: 18 September 2003
Last revised: 21 September, 2010 by ThistleGroup.