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on July 24, 2017
If you think your day to day job is tough, you should read this book. I will never complain about over time, boring assignments or tough jobs again.
My God what these guys went through. Every American should read this book. The author's experiences in the terrible living conditions aboard early WWII submarines is too facinating to miss. I don't think our easy going air-conditioned society could do what these men did.
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on January 25, 2014
This book is hard to stop reading. It tells of the day to day environment aboard a submarine in a wartime environment when being the hunted and the hunter is happening at the same time. The author gives a perspective that very few people have ever encountered. There are harrowing experiences, human screw-ups, and poignant moments, such as when the crew evacuates a group of Philippine refugees to Australia.

What helps to make this book exceptional is the self effacing style of the author. The war efforts are not glorified, nor demeaned. He kept a detailed journal of his experiences over many combat missions involving a few different submarines and different skippers, and drew from these notes without a lot of exaggeration.

What also makes this book so fascinating in the way it reveals both the durability and the frailty of the boat and the crew. Attacks on ships rarely went as planned. Equipment is constantly breaking, and often being repaired in a “make-do” fashion. An abscessed tooth is removed from a crew member with pliers disinfected with torpedo alcohol. The skippers often become exhausted while managing the attack operations.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of the war in the Pacific, or in what submarine warfare was truly like in that era.
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on September 5, 2017
I try to read everything I can about Submarine Ops in the Pacific during WWII.
This author does an excellent job of helping us to sense the ups and downs of crew morale resulting from decisions and choices of the Navy in general and the Commanding Officer in the specific.
Thank you Captain Ruhe!
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on January 15, 2013
This book is a very well written account of submarine warfare of WW II. It's like you are with the author as he tells of the encounters on three different subs during the conflict in the South Pacific.
His stories had a particularly emotional effect on me as he mentioned the two subs that my father served onboard during the same time. These were the USS Nautilus and USS Capelin. The pre-war Nautilus made it through the entire war while the Capelin launched in the summer of 1943 at almost the same time as the author's sub was lost near the Celebes Sea, with all crew members, on its second patrol in early December 1943.
The author discusses the Capelin's loss and what might have caused it.
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on May 3, 2017
Superb book!! What a fantastic look at the dedication and bravery of our WW II submariners who put their lives on the line every day as they patrolled waters held by Imperial Japan. I would recommend this book to all as a historical accounting of WWII.
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on November 25, 2012
The author made the people human and the boats and torpedoes ordinary machines, both subject to breakdown under stress. That made things quite understandable.

I disagreed with the author in only one minor matter. Of course, he was a product of his upbringing and times. He credited his survival to "being a Christian". That would offend me had I remained in the Jewish faith I was born into. It presently offends me as an atheist. And it makes no sense. How many Christians were killed in WWII and how many non-Christians survived?

But I recommend this book highly.
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on January 4, 2014
An well written book giving a taste of the travails of old boats and poorly functioning torpedoes that required men of steel inside boats poorly equipped for tropical warfare. The analysis of operations by the author as he prepared himself for moving up the chain of command was an excellent wrap up to each of his patrols. He was not ashamed nor afraid to detail his doubts or mention his shortcomings. I thoroughly enjoyed his descriptions of the challenge of approaching convoyed ships and the tension caused by seemingly unexplainable tactical moves by individual ASW vessels. His descriptions of the anxiety engendered by close approaches to enemy vessels showed clearly that we were blessed by having Americans serving those boats. The mechanical ingenuity and the ability to improvise, both attributes held in high regard in the services were often present in exceptional quantity on the boats. This is a great book for men who have served in submarines and also for those who are curious about the men who enclose themselves in a "sewerpipe" in the service of their country.
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on January 14, 2014
Let me immediately state that what ever I say here is not meant to dishonor those who served or the author. I guess I've read somewhare around 8 - 10 WWII submarine themed books and this one is pretty much consistent with the rest. The author covers his personal experiences on subs during the War starting in an old S-boat and ending in a modern fleet boat. Much of the book addresses the basic aspects of living in and operating a submarine at war. There are numerous accounts of dive actions, close calls with destroyers, planes and equipment failure. One thing I found interesting and empathetically frustrating was the detailed accounts given of numerous attack actions that ended up compromised before the crew could get a fish into the target. I guess the fact that I could empathize with the frustration that the crew must have felt in those situations indicates that the author successfully pulled me into his story. In any case, I enjoyed the book even if the basic story line didn't differ greatly from any other sub story.
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on April 20, 2017
Good, very personal account of being an Officer on a Fleet Boat that sees an AMAZING amount of action. Excellent pace. Be aware Ruhe is a Naval Officer, not a writer, so sometimes the prose is a little clunky but the story and personalities are well worth the read.
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on September 29, 2017
Great read . Better than most of the books of this genre, really defines the various personalities of the breed of men in the arena.
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