The riveting story of the submarine force that helped win World War II by ravaging Japan’s merchant fleet and destroying its economy
The War Below is a dramatic account of extraordinary heroism, ingenuity, and perseverance—and the vital role American submarines played in winning the Pacific War. Focusing on the unique stories of the submarines Silversides, Drum, and Tang—and the men who skippered and crewed them—James Scott takes readers beneath the waves to experience the thrill of a direct hit on a merchant ship and the terror of depth charge attacks. It’s a story filled with incredible feats of courage, including an emergency appendectomy performed with spoons by an inexperienced medic and the desperate struggle of sailors to escape from a flooded submarine stuck on the bottom, as well as tragic moments such as American submarines sinking an unmarked enemy ship carrying some 1,800 American POWs.
The casualty rate among submariners topped that of all military branches, a staggering six times higher than the surface navy. The war claimed almost one out of every five boats. But Japan was so ravaged by the loss of precious fuel and supplies that by war’s end, Japanese warships lay at anchor while hungry civilians ate sawdust. Scott paints an unforgettable picture of the dangerous life submariners endured, including the atrocious prison camps where the Japanese beat, tortured, and starved captured Allied troops. Based on more than one hundred interviews with submarine veterans and a review of more than three thousand pages of previously unpublished letters, diaries, and personal writings, The War Below allows readers to experience the Pacific War as never before.
© 2013 by James M. Scott
“This is the most absorbing narrative of submarine warfare that I’ve read in years. The research is so deep, and the writing so vivid, I could practically feel the vast ocean closing over me as these three boats ranged the Pacific looking for the kill.”
James D. Hornfischer, New York Times bestselling author
“Beautifully researched and masterfully told, James Scott’s book is an enthralling and important addition to the story of undersea warfare.”
Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from the Deep
“Scott, a journalist turned naval historian, combines patrol reports and extensive interviews with former submariners to reconstruct the achievements of three of the most successful US submarines…Scott presents the submariners aboard his chosen trio of ships as a team, brought together to do a high-risk job that ‘pushed boat[s] and men to the limit,’ and their story is an exciting one.”
“Scott recounts the Pacific war patrols of three US submarines, of which two today are on display…Providing character sketches of the boats’ commanders that note leadership style and pugnacity, Scott puts each on the periscope and describes the ensuing patrol…Though focusing on commanders, Scott expands to describe crew members’ roles, which further evokes the claustrophobic, dangerous world of the WWII sub.”
“Using voluminous official records plus interviews and an amazing number of unpublished diaries and letters, former Charleston Post and Courier investigative reporter Scott delivers a gripping, almost day-by-day account of the actions of three submarines…Military buffs will lap it up, but general readers may find it difficult to resist the tension, drama, and fireworks of this underappreciated but dazzlingly destructive American weapon of World War II.”
“The War Below provides an intensely personal look inside the pressure hulls of three Pacific Fleet submarines that established historic records against the Japanese Empire. The epic war patrols of USS Silversides, Drum, and Tang provide gripping reading and serve as a memorial to the lost boats and crews ‘still on patrol.’”
Barrett Tillman, author of Enterprise
Donald Corren is a stage, television, and voice actor whose work has been featured on and off Broadway, in regional theaters, behind animated characters, and on television for the past three decades. Trained in the theater division at Juilliard, he is also a writer whose credits include the original Martha Stewart Living television series and the medals ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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- Publisher: Blackstone Audio
- Genre: Nonfiction/History
- ISBN-13: 978-1-4829-1224-1