Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ships Library

About a year or so ago I got into a tear on reading non-fiction submarine history. If your interested I've read all these books and have provided a summary and short review. I'll start with oldest history to recent.

Under Pressure by A. J. Hill
Story of the S5 boat sinking due to induction valve failure in a couple hundred feet of water. Sub is nose down with only few feet of the stern visible. This is a short read, but a gripping story of endurance and courage by the crew. 226 pages I give four Stars ****

The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas
The story of the USS Squalus SS192 sinking off Portsmouth NH on the eve of WWII. Although the book revolves around the Squalus's rescue, the real story is about the development of submarine rescue methods and Charles "Swede" Momsen. Momsen pioneered free assent techniques and the Rescue Chamber, precursor to the DSRV. Good read a little slow at times due to the writer going into details on submarine rescue development. 309 pages I give it 3 Stars ***

Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey
The USS BARB SS220 WWII story of it's war patrols in the Pacific around Japan, Korea and China coasts. The author, Admiral Fluckey, is one of the few submariners to win the Congressional Metal of Honor. The book covers the boat's 8th thru 12th war patrols with Fluckey as CO and reads like a combination of a novel and Captain's log. Get the version with drawings of the patrol areas, you'll keep referring back to them as you read. By far the best book in this list. 435 pages I give it 5 Stars *****

Blind Man's Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew
Investigative journalist recount of the Cold War intelligence gathering by US Fast Attack Special Ops boats. Covers a good number of cold war events and incidents in one book. Written as a who, what, where and how type of reporting piece, worth the read. 337 pages. I give it 3 Stars ***

Rising Tide by Gary E. Weir and Walter J. Boyne
Cold War history of the Soviet's rush to out distance the US in submarine design. Covers from the Soviets first Nuke boats to the Kursk disaster. I found it very interesting to read and it made me appreciate that my fate was not that of many a Soviet Submariner. Some of those guys from the 60's are probably still glowing from the radiation. Liked it better than "Blind Man's Bluff" just because it was all about the Evil Empire's failures. 336 pages I give it 4 Stars ****

I'm interested if anyone has some other non-fiction submarine favorites they like to share or if you disagree with my evaluations. Just add your recommendation or comments to the comments section.

When you get the chance you should grab one of these books - hit the rack, put the bunk light on and enjoy some reading.

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