Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Submarine Literature:


 In the last few days we have been devoting a lot of ink to undetected movements of Russian submarines. Even if you aren't a naval professional anyone who paid even moderate attention to the issue had to notice that even in peace time nations tend to pay a lot of attention to submarine movements. Like pieces on a chess board rival nations move their submarines about for a variety of reasons. Like the battleship of old the modern submarine is an instrument of naval statecraft. The game we have been watching of late is a sort of "show the flag" in reverse. The object is to get the rival nation to gasp,"you were where and we didn't know it?!  However a maritime version of "Where's Waldo" is not the sole purpose of a submarine in peace time, especially times of strained peace. When we concluded our coverage of the last development of the Russian romp through the Gulf of Mexico we suggested to everyone to read "BLIND MAN'S BLUFF". We stand by that suggestion but we'd like to take it a bit farther down the road to understanding today.


We readily admit that most us here have uniforms in the closet that spent decades on our backs, even if today we only break them out for the occasional military funeral or annual service ball. We are open to the idea that our backgrounds may be the reason that the "Naval Interest" section is our largest section and contains the most volumes and continues to grow faster than the rest of the site. But we firmly believe that titles like BLIND MAN'S BLUFF  and THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER were never meant just for audiences of naval professionals. In our "NAVAL INTEREST section we have the suggested reading lists of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Many of the titles aren't even directly about the naval services or naval operations. Naval professionals have to live and deal with an international and wide world. To prepare for it they tend to read widely. We firmly believe that if you are a non naval veteran member of the general public that you will find as much of interest in the "Naval Interest" section as you will in the"Maritime Literature " section which contains such general audience works as MOBY DICK. 

 As tensions between the United States, China, and Russia, not to mention all of the issues of the Middle East continue to increase you will see and hear more about submarine operations. Rest assured that in the silent services more is going on under the waves than the public ever sees above. We are going to make a mass book recommendation here. The books that we are going to suggest to you we have reviewed but not yet written our reviews. We recommend any and all of them for their "infotainment value". The time is so ripe to address submarine publications that we felt we should not wait until we could write all of the individual reviews for these works. We think in the case of the books we are going to feature here that the "publisher's marketing hype" is in fact pretty accurate. These are great books. 

 Whenever we review a book in these sections we usually include the ISBN numbers to aid you in obtaining a library loan. We understand that avid readers can't always purchase every book they are interested in. If you click on the book jacket icon links we provide here you will go straight to the Amazon book ordering point for that title. However once there you are still under no obligation to make a purchase. You can read the publishers reviews and if you scroll down far enough come up with the publisher's name, copyright year and the all important ISBN numbers for a library loan. So buy or borrow but we strongly recommend that you read the books linked below, especially if you are NOT a naval professional.

                                                    In early August 1974, despite incredible political, military, and intelligence risks and after six years of secret preparations, the CIA attempted to salvage the sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 from the depths of the North Pacific Ocean. The audacious effort was undertaken with the cover of an undersea mining operation sponsored by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. Azorian incorrectly identified as Project Jennifer by the press was the most ambitious ocean engineering endeavor attempted by man. It can be compared to the 1969 moon landing in its level of technological achievement. Following the accidental sinking of a Soviet missile submarine in March 1968, U.S. intelligence agencies were able to determine the precise location and to develop a means of raising the submarine from a depth of 16,560 feet. Previously, the deepest attempt to salvage a submarine had been accomplished at 245 feet. The remarkable salvage effort of the K-129, which contained nuclear-armed torpedoes and missiles as well as crypto equipment, was conducted with Soviet naval ships a few hundred yards from the lift ship, the Hughes Glomar Explorer. While other books have been published about this secret project, not one was based on interviews with the participants or on classified government documents. The authors conducted interviews with men who were on board the Glomar Explorer and the USS Halibut, the submarine that found the wreckage, with U.S. naval intelligence officers, and with the Soviet submarine division commander. The authors had access to the Glomar Explorer s logs and other documents from U.S. and Soviet sources. The book is based, in part, on the research for Michael White's documentary film Azorian: The Raising of the K-129, released in late 2009. The research for the book and the documentary forced the CIA to issue a report on Project Azorian in early 2010, with one-third of the document censored. In this book, the untold story of the CIA s Project Azorian is finally revealed after decades of secrecy.

                                                        For decades American submarines have roamed the depths in a dangerous battle for information and advantage in missions known only to a select few. Now, after six years of research, those missions are told in Blind Man's Bluff, a magnificent achievement in investigative reporting. It reads like a spy thriller -- except everything in it is true. This is an epic of adventure, ingenuity, courage, and disaster beneath the sea, a story filled with unforgettable characters who engineered daring missions to tap the enemy's underwater communications cables and to shadow Soviet submarines. It is a story of heroes and spies, of bravery and tragedy.

                                                            The world came close to annihilation during the Cold War—a sobering fact known to few besides the warriors engaged in the forty-six-year conflict. In this riveting new history, former U.S. Navy diver and fast-attack submariner W. Craig Reed provides a thrilling narrative of the tense underwater dramas and covert espionage operations that brought the United States and the former U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war on several occasions.

                                              Cloaking itself in virtual invisibility to avoid detection, this Sturgeon-class boat went sub versus sub deep within Soviet-controlled waters north of the Arctic Circle, where the risks were extraordinarily high and anything could happen. Readers will know what it was like to carry out a covert mission aboard a nuke and experience the sights, sounds, and dangers unique to submarining.

                                             On the morning of April 10, 1963, the world's most advanced submarine was on a test dive off the New England coast when she sent a message to a support ship a thousand feet above her on the surface: experiencing minor problem . . . have positive angle . . . attempting to blow . . . Then came the sounds of air under pressure and a garbled message: . . . test depth . . . Last came the eerie sounds that experienced navy men knew from World War II: the sounds of a submarine breaking up and compartments collapsing.When she first went to sea in April of 1961, the U.S. nuclear submarine Thresher was the most advanced submarine at sea, built specifically to hunt and kill Soviet submarines. In The Death of the USS Thresher, renowned naval and intelligence consultant Norman Polmar recounts the dramatic circumstances surrounding her implosion, which killed all 129 men on board, in history's first loss of a nuclear submarine. This revised edition of Polmar's 1964 classic is based on interviews with the Thresher's first command officer, other submarine officers, and the designers of the submarine. Polmar provides recently declassified information about the submarine, and relates the loss to subsequent U.S. and Soviet nuclear submarine sinkings, as well as to the escape and rescue systems developed by the Navy in the aftermath of the disaster. The Death of the USS Thresher is a must-read for the legions of fans who enjoyed the late Peter Maas's New York Times best-seller The Terrible Hours.

                                              "The magnitude of the tragedy of the USS Scorpion is matched only by the depth of the mystery surrounding her loss. Stephen Johnson has done a remarkable job of shining new light on this dark moment in U.S. submarine history."
--Sherry Sontag, coauthor of Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage

                                                 Stalking the Red Bear, for the first time ever, describes the action principally from the perspective of a commanding officer of a nuclear submarine during the Cold War—the one man aboard a sub who makes the critical decisions—taking readers closer to the Soviet target than any work on submarine espionage has ever done before.
This is the untold story of a covert submarine espionage operation against the Soviet Union during the Cold War as experienced by the Commanding Officer of an active submarine. Few individuals outside the intelligence and submarine communities knew anything about these top-secret missions.
Cloaking itself in virtual invisibility to avoid detection, the USS Blackfin went sub vs. sub deep within Soviet-controlled waters north of the Arctic Circle, where the risks were extraordinarily high and anything could happen

                                                   The work of fiction so close to reality that the U.S. Naval Institute broke with a hundred year tradition to publish it. This is the Tom Clancy novel that cracked the door open for Cold War submarine writing and launched the Tom Clancy enterprise.

Some times it helps to envision an unfamiliar reality by viewing a high quality video. American Admiralty Books suggests: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, THE MOVIE


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