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Silent Battleground (Submarine Classics by D.M. Ulmer) Paperback – October 10, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Capt. Ulmer, USN SS (Ret.), began his military career by enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1947 and in 1949 while serving as an electrical technician E-4 aboard the submarine USS Clamagore, he was transferred to the Naval Academy. When he asked his commanding officer why he was being sent to Annapolis, the skipper replied, "I don't think you're smart enough to make E-5 and I need the bunk space." Ulmer graduated in 1954 and in 1967 returned to command Clamagore, possibly the only officer to command a U.S. warship having served on it as an enlisted man. Living in Redmond, Washington with his wife Carol, Ulmer has written three other books; Count the Ways, Missing Person and The Roche Harbor Caper. He has also published several articles. Author D. M. Ulmer volunteers as a Seattle Museum of Flight Docent. Three of his short historical dramas have been produced there, the fourth, a musical tribute to an American Aviator hero of WWI is in rehearsal. He also volunteers his time with the Pastoral Care Department at Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Series: Submarine Classics by D.M. Ulmer
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Patriot Media, Publishing; Stated First Edition edition (October 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979164222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979164224
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,844,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was somewhat disappointing in that it lacked the sub vs. sub action scenes that make the story a real page turner. A tale dealing with the start of WWIII should be a "target rich environment" for the author to provide many descriptions of these encounters. However, a good portion of the plot is devoted to "behind the lines" activities that seemed to take the steam out of the story. Also, things seemed to happen a little too quickly and easily to be realistic, despite the high priorities generated by a newly started war. And, during the few action scenes, a map and some diagrams would have helped immeasurably. The basic premise for the plot is believable, but it doesn't include the punch to really hold the reader's interest.
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Format: Paperback
I found a lot of personal memories in this book. As a career submarine officer with seven plus years in command of nuclear submarines Capt. Ulmer's book rang very close to reality. It is a fast read and extremely enjoyable both for the professional and the curious as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great read on several levels.

First , author D. M. Ulmer has the storyteller's gift of drawing the reader right into the story and making us a part of it. I felt like I was LIVING the story as a member of American and Russian submarine crews instead of reading it. The characters are portrayed as real human beings, not as afterthoughts put there to flesh out a war drama. The reader totally perceives the story through the characters' eyes.

On another level the book characterizes the subtleties of human nature under the stress of naval combat, like those that made THE CAINE MUTINY such an epic classic. The officers have conflicting viewpoints about tactics, weapons systems, and each other, but each is seeing only the part of the picture visible from his/her viewpoint.

It shows that the U.S. Navy, for all its accomplishments in maintaining the disciplines required to take nuclear submarines to war, is riven by the same factions of backbiting, personal animosity, and bureaucracies that are so much a part of every other organization. It shows how naval crews trained to make life-and-death decisions in split seconds during the stress of combat are as important as the technological capabilities of weapons systems.

The book also has several strategic messages. The first is that our Navy maybe overemphasizing its reliance surface fleets centered on fat targets like carriers that can be destroyed in an instant by missiles fired by enemy submarines or land based launchers. Another message is that the Navy, like any other organization, sometimes gets its priorities wrong.
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Format: Paperback
FYI, in barely 5 days straight of staying up way past my bedtime, I just read retired sub skipper Don Ulmer's SILENT BATTLEGROUND followed immediately by SHADOWS OF HEROES. Aside from plain ole really enjoying both of them, I was very impressed by Don's ability to weave such fresh imaginative storylines in a genre where much of the published novels' plotting these past 30 years has seemed like a pinch of "Red October" meets a dash of "Crimson Tide." Also I was amazed by the crisp economy of Don's writing style & technique. His 250-page book length of each tale felt more rich, gritty, developed, and intricate that many technothrillers I've read over the years that were 2 or 4 times as long -- including mine! Don's characters are very vivid and I really did care more and more about each of them by the page! I quickly ordered from Amazon the two sequels to SHADOWS OF HEROES, which are THE COLD WAR BENEATH and INSURE PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. They arrived in my mail this morning and I am excited to read them real soon!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I read the bio for the author, I expected a story with an insider's view of undersea warfare- a view from someone that has been on the pointy end of the spear. Mr. Ulmer certainly has the credentials, but it fails to translate to the written page.
A few points for the author or other readers to consider:

As I read the book, something get pinging at me about the way it was written, something familiar, but I couldn't figure it out. Then it came to me- Mr. Ulmer uses dialogue and scenarios similar to the WWII dramas I watched as a kid. Very well written, with a good depth, but the dialogue and actions/thoughts kept striking me as somewhat dated. I could easily picture a younger Charles Heston in the role of the Denver's Weps Officer, with a brunette leading lady from the 50's. Not necessarily a negative, but it kept me from achieving that deeper level of immersion that I seek from this genre. I look for characters in the 1980's to speak and at like characters from the 1980's, not from Here To Eternity. Many times it seemed the characters were a heartbeat away from having a scotch and cigar to congratulate themselves on their masculine prowess in the military arts. Not the image I remember, but they may be very accurate of the time the author served in the 1950's-60's.

The ovall plot is well,done, a nice change from the typical "US Military Kicks Ass". Maybe Russians aren't as dumb as some in our military thought?
I would never choose to argue tactics with a veteran like Mr. Ulmer, he would be considered a subject matter expert by anyone. But could a Russian sub evade an ADCAP simply by surfacing? Isn't there a setting for max depth and max ceiling?

A limited exchange of unclear weapons is interesting, I wish the story delved further into this.
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