I read this book about 16-Mar-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1970. This note was last modified Thursday, 16-Mar-2006 19:09:44 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Butterworth is the same author who has written a lot of military stories as W.E.B. Griffin.
Steve loses both his parents in a car crash, and is separated from his half-siblings and sent to live with his birth father in Alabama. The Boston family thinks his father is a drunkard, and crude, and apparently not very well off. He's been a seaman, we know. He's forbidden contact with Steve by the terms of the custody settlement. Turns out, his father owns a seafood processing business, including 6 pretty big shrimp boats, and lives quite well. His second wife is a smart lady and likes Steve, and his first mate on the charter boat and his wife also like Steve.
Steve likes learning about boats (except the part about getting seasick and sunburned, and getting his ribs stove in), and those around his father help to make up for the fact that his father never bothers to try to teach him anything, or tell him what's going on. Mostly he's smart enough to survive and make points with the onlookers.
There are some references to North/South cultural differences, especially Steve's father insisting on being called "sir", and at least seeming to be prepared to be abusive about some issues. What's missing, though, is any reference to religious differences; or to religion at all. Probably necessary to make it an acceptable juvenile novel.
By the end Steve has decided to throw in his lot with his father and the South.
I don't recall this book containing anybody who's been to Marburg in Germany, or anybody who owns an airplane at all (let alone an Aero Commander), and not much about the Army either.