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Resurrection: Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor Hardcover – July 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"[Madsen] has performed a valuable service by adding substantially to the information...on the massive salvage operation." -- The Journal of Military History, July 2004

About the Author

Daniel Madsen is also the author of Forgotten Fleet: The Mothball Navy. He lives in Kenwood, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557504881
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557504883
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on December 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I tried to think of a way to avoid the Paul Harvey-ish cliché of "the rest of the story," but it's hard to do. Nearly all general histories of the Pearl Harbor attack either end with the close of the attack, or move into the (necessarily more important) aspect of America starting to respond to the changed world situation and coming to grips with the onset of war. Epilogues sometimes report that most of the damaged ships actually returned to the battle lines, but in-depth reports of what happened at Pearl Harbor itself following the attack are pretty rare.
Daniel Madsen steps into this void with a book that, to use another cliché, reads like a novel. Where he could easily have gotten bogged down in damage reports or engineering minutia, he instead tells a surprisingly interesting story that turns as much on personalities as on mechanics. Amid the uncertainty of never knowing for sure whether the Japanese would return for a second strike at the fleet, civilian and naval engineers, divers, repair workers, and line officers devised innovative solutions to large and sometimes unprecedented problems. I can't speak too highly of how Madsen succeeds in weaving this into an interesting and well-paced narrative.
Readers familiar with the Pearl Harbor story will appreciate finding out what happened to the ships, and the base as a whole, in the weeks and months following the attack. Although the eyes of the world moved away from Pearl and onto the wider theater of war after the first days of December, 1941, the story of what happened there is still one well worth telling. I commend Daniel Madsen for the fine job he did telling it, and recommend his work to students of the attack and naval history buffs generally.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How many of us ~ naval historians or enthusiasts, or those interested in the Second World War at sea ~ have wondered what happened to the remains of the American battle line in Pearl Harbor after the second wave of Japanese attackers had departed?

For so long have publications glossed over the aftermath with bromides like 'the twilight of the gods [the battleships]' or 'the ascendancy of the aircraft carrier was now established.' At most, we have been used to recounting abbreviated lists of which ships were returned to service in the aftermath of that "infamous" attack. And there is always the spectral image of the burning ARIZONA's for'ard fighting top ... and her poignant memorial today.

But how were the wrecks and hulks dealt with, appraised and evaluated after the fires had begun to die down? What had to be done ~ in the face of the demands and priorities occasioned by the setbacks and defeats which marked the opening months of the Pacific War ~ to begin to even return some of the ships to the oil-smeared surface of Pearl? What were the salvage techniques ~ some old and tried, some forced by circumstance to be innovatively and riskily new ~ employed to roll wrecks upright, stop them from sinking and fouling fairways or berths, and, ultimately, drag them delicately into one of the few available drydocks?

Daniel Madsen rectifies all that, in this thoroughly-researched and well-illustrated (photographs and diagrams) work. In a tale well-told over eight chapters, and beginning 'the morning after' on December 8, 1941, Madsen takes us through everything: logistics, personalities, technicalities.
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Format: Hardcover
Hundreds, maybe thousands of books tell the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the preliminary scheming by Japan, the counteroffensive by the Americans. But until now, only one has told much about the salvage of the sunken warships.

Not nearly as many died raising a fleet from the dead -- fewer than a dozen -- as died on Dec. 7, 1941. Yet the salvors' story has as nearly as much drama and danger as the story of the fighting sailors.

"They were not recognized as heroes," writes Daniel Madsen. "But they should have been."

Much of the work was done underwater, including more than 4,000 dives into the capsized battleship Oklahoma. "Diving in the black, unfamiliar world inside a submerged battleship was extremely hazardous. Lights were of little use in the murky water, and the men had to feel their way carefully through passageways, hatches, machinery and floating debris sometimes many yards from where they entered the ship.

"Face plates could be smashed if the diver collided with a beam or projection. They often had to go up and down ladders, complicating their route back. Pressure differentials caused by pumping or large leaks could suck an unwary diver into a jagged hole. Telephone cables and air hoses were frequently fouled by debris, bulkheads and hatches. Air hoses or diving suits could be punctured by sharp pieces of wreckage.<\q>.<\q>.<\q>. And even if a clear path was maintained for the air hose, there was no guarantee that the pumps and compressors would not break down."

The heat of underwater welding drove dissolved gases out of the water, creating bubbles that exploded from time to time. While not especially dangerous, working with the bubbles must have been stressful.
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