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Dark Waters: An Insider's Account of the Nr-1, the Cold War's Undercover Nuclear Sub Paperback – Bargain Price, February 29, 2004


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Paperback, Bargain Price, February 29, 2004
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0451211618
  • ASIN: B000BSFQKK
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,111,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A former crewmember and a journalist join forces to tell the absorbing tale of the deepest secret weapon in the U.S. Navy’s submarine force, the deep-diving nuclear submarine NR-1. A brainchild of the brilliant and controlling Admiral Rickover, even her construction involved a host of technical problems. When she finally went to sea in 1970, her crew of 12 (including the senior author) found her slow, almost unnavigable on the surface, and facing previously unsuspected threats, such as undersea tsunamis when she operated at her designed depth of 3,000 feet. They and their successors helped place underwater sonar devices, retrieve lost F-14’s with secret Phoenix missiles aboard, and perform many other missions that are only hinted at in the book. They had to survive bad food, accommodations that were anything but ergonomic, a reactor that worked most (but not all) of the time and the persistent curiosity of the Soviet Bloc. The Soviet Bloc is gone, of course, and likewise Admiral Rickover, but the NR-1 sails on, the U. S. Navy’s oldest operational submarine. Her career was not declassified in time for Blind Man’s Bluff, but fans of the earlier book will devour this one with enthusiasm.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In the manner of Sontag and others' Blind Man's Bluff (1998), this history of the U.S. Navy's smallest nuclear submarine, the NR-1, is a now-it-can-be-told volume. Conceived by Admiral Hyman Rickover and constructed in the face of his quirks and quiddities by Electric Boat, the premier U.S. submarine builder, the NR (Naval Reactor) was, when launched in 1969, the deepest-diving vessel in the world--also cramped, slow, and rather less than seaworthy. Despite those limitations and such events as battery fires and reactor failures, she became the world's pioneer long-range deep submersible, placing sonar arrays off the Azores, studying Russian minefields in the Mediterranean, and finding sunken F-14s and Phoenix missiles off Norway. With scientists aboard, she aided pioneering underwater archaeology, and throughout all her risings and divings, her dozen handpicked officers and men enjoyed an esprit de corps that shines from these pages (Vyborny was one of the NR-1's original crew). A useful addition to modern naval history and pure candy for submarine buffs. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book is well done and interesting.
History Nut
Very entertaining history of the capable, unique NR-1, the only nuclear submersible yet built.
Paul Kreemer
Overall the book was mostly interesting and well written.
John G. Hilliard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. Ryan on March 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Dark Waters tells the story of the design, construction and early (late 1960s to late 1970s) operations of the U.S. Navy’s smallest and most classified nuclear submarine, NR-1. Co-written by “plankowner” crewmember, Lee Vyborny, and a professional journalist, Dark Waters tells the inside story of the delayed, far-over-budget initial construction, the crew’s selection and torment by the infamous Admiral Rickover and the difficulties of putting a totally unique vessel into operational service. NR-1, which is still in service, has a tiny 130 horsepower nuclear power plant, displaces a mere 409 tons (compared to 6,900 tons for the Navy’s Los Angeles Class SSNs), and operates with a crew of 12 or fewer. Its most unique aspect is an ability to operate and maneuver indefinitely at depths up to 3,000’ and search out and recover lost objects (e.g., a top secret missile from a sunken aircraft) or pry open our adversaries' military secrets (e.g., a Soviet underwater detection system in the Mediterranean).
During the ten year operational period Vyborny writes about, NR-1 suffered many “near-death” experiences due to equipment failures and the inherent hazards of operating a tiny submarine “on the edge” for extended periods. Several tales of the crew’s ability to get themselves out of tight jams (there was no way anyone on the surface could help them) are riveting, inspiring examples of men living up to the highest traditions of Naval service. These sailors’ little known “inner space” explorations are as intriguing and inspiring as many of NASA’s outer space exploits of the same era.
Unfortunately NR-1’s post-1970s operations are barely mentioned in Dark Waters.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Dougherty on January 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the Cold War has receded into history, we are learning more about the incredible feats of technology and human achievement that went on in that period. Joining the ranks of books (e.g., Sontag & Drew's "Blind Man's Bluff", Craven's "Silent War" and Tyler's "Running Critical") that deal with the role of the US Naval submarine force is "Dark Waters" by Vyborny & Davis. This book combines the story of the development and exploits of the NR-1 with the story of Vyborny's service aboard this submarine. As one of the "plank owners", Vyborny takes us through the long gestation period and the immense technical challenges of building a small, nuclear powered submarine capable of diving far deeper than its' larger sister SSNs. The unique abilities of this submarine to literally drive (on Goodyear truck tires!) along the ocean floor, and the varied uses it is put to during the time period described are fascinating. Vyborny's description of a "routine" short voyage by NR-1 out of Groton that turns into a seafarer's nightmare is vivid and chilling. Along the way we also get further insight into the driving force behind NR-1's development, one of the most fascinating and controversial characters in modern US Naval history, Adm. Rickover. The NR-1 is truly a national resource, and it is a delight to finally have an authoritative insight into the role it has played over the past thirty plus years. Although the book states on its' final page that the NR-1 has become the oldest operational boat in the Navy, I believe the correct statement is that it is the oldest operational submarine in the US Navy (carriers such as CVN 65, Enterprise, predate the NR-1)
I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either submarine history and operations or the Cold War in general. My only reservation is that I wish the book were longer and had even more fascinating stories about this unique submarine and its' crew!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Groton Connecticut, 1966: The keel was laid for a radically new U.S. Navy nuclear submarine. She was to be small, dive deeper than any other, and roll along on the very bottom of the ocean using large tandem sand tires. Propelled by the world's smallest naval nuclear reactor, she would have extraordinary mission duration. She was to be built and to be operated in great secrecy. This was "Submarine NR-1". When she began her sea-trials in 1969, NR-1 was manned by a crew of 12 hand-selected officers and men of the U.S. Navy, joined by three highly trained civilian engineers.
The authors reveal that for the following 33 years, continuing to this day, NR-1 has carried out operations that were at times so secret, even many of the Navy's senior officers were only dimly aware of her existence and capabilities. Vyborny and Davis provide a fast-paced and compelling narrative. We really get to know the "Right Stuff" men who executed those hazardous yet crucially important missions.
"Dark Waters" is peopled with legendary characters like Admiral Hyman G. Rickover and Robert Ballard, the undersea explorer who found the gravesites of Titanic, Bismarck and PT-109. The book does a fine job of capturing the excitement and intrigue, the challenges and dangers of the Cold War as fought aboard NR-1. Reading the book was an engrossing, educational and nail-biting experience.
I recommend Dark Waters to anyone interested in 20th century military history, naval adventure, oceanography, archaeology, scuba diving, military intelligence, defense technology or even the U.S. Space Program.
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