- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Naval Institute Press; First Edition (1st printing) edition (April 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591148413
- ISBN-13: 978-1591148418
- Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,921,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats Hardcover – April 2, 2007
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About the Author
PAUL STILLWELL, an independent historian, is the editor or author of nine previous books, including one on submarines titled Sharks of Steel, which he coauthored with Vice Adm. Robert Y. Kaufman. Other books include three collections of oral histories: Air Raid: Pearl Harbor! Recollections of a Day of Infamy, Assault on Normandy: First-Person Accounts from the Sea Services, and The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers. In addition, he wrote three illustrated battleship histories of the USS Arizona, New Jersey, and Missouri that are filled with stories of crew-members. All of these titles were published by the Naval Institute Press. The Golden Thirteen was named by the New York Times as one of the notable history books of 1993. Stillwell has been a frequent guest on network and cable television programs, including NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, the Discovery Channel, A&E, and the History Channel.
Stillwell was director of the U.S. Naval Institute's history division from 1993 to 2004. Prior to that he served as the first editor-in-chief of the Institute's Naval History magazine and earlier was managing editor of the organization's Proceedings magazine. From 1982 to 2004 he served as director of the Naval Institute s oral history program, one of the oldest and largest in the United States.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Stillwell is a retired Naval Reserve commander who served in the late 1960s on board the tank landing ship Washoe County and the battleship New Jersey. He and his wife Karen live in Arnold, Maryland. They are the parents of three sons, James, Robert, and Joseph.
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Top customer reviews
One of the earliest chapters is a letter written by Theordore Roosevelt (yes, the president), in which he describes his reaction to a trip in the USS Plunger, and gives the order that granted submarine duty pay. The WWI L-boats get a chapter, and the operations in conjunction with the British subs are discussed. The S-boats, O-boats, Far East Service, and inter-war submarine losses are covered in their own chapters. Designing the fleet submarine as well as the Torpedo Data Computer get their own chapters, as does submarine detailing in the era before computers tracking of assignments existed. The Squalus rescue is covered from the standpoint of one of the divers.
The bulk of the chapters cover incidents and stories from WWII. Along the way, we hear from Slade Cutter about life under Lew Parks on Pompano, and what it taught him about submarine command. These chapters also include such notable actions as the exploits of USS Drum, in which the author, Adm Maurice Rindskopf, describes his duty as decoding officer of the ULTRA broadcasts. Told that a Japanese ship will appear at a particular location, he dons a garish yellow Hawaiian shirt. They subsequently find and sink the ship. On the next patrol, the codes come in again, and he again puts on the shirt in anticipation. The crew, figuring it is a good luck charm, immediately put on their own yellow Hawaiian shirts they have all purchased. There are tales of wolfpack operations with Parche, Hammerhead and Steelhead, as told by "Red" Ramage. The USS Darter runs aground after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and all efforts to free her fail. She is finally abandoned, with the crew rescued by the Dace. Balancing these war incidents, are insights into life during that period: reservists at submarine school, crossing the equator, sub sailor's liberty and the experience of being a black submariner. Limited to the mess steward role during WWII, black submariner Hosey Mays stays with the Navy after the war, and eventually becomes rated as an electrician and makes chief.
The post war- Cold War era also gets coverage. Operations under the ice from diesels explorations up to Nautilus are covered by Dr. Waldo Lyons, the visionary scientist who foresaw submarine arctic operations. The experiences with the converted Guppy submarines, with a competition to see who can surface at the steepest angles (72 degrees was captured on film). Regulus missiles at sea are covered in two chapters, with one detailing operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The disastrous GM "pancake" rotary diesel engines of the Tang class get a chapter, complete with a nice picture of the offensive engines. The design and performance of the amazing Albacore, with its Body of Revolution hull have a place in the book. There are numerous other chapters all with fascinating stories to tell.
I found that the pacing of the book was excellent, with different stories and viewpoints interwoven among the varied chapters. A sparse but careful selection of black and white photos accompanies each chapter; some of the men and some of the machines. All in all, an excellent book with "bite-sized" stories that all add up to a superb history of the diesel submarine force.
Great book - highly recommended.