The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.
This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
©1992 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (P)2013 Tantor
"Fluckey is a fine writer with a lively, colorful style. His book is packed with action and suspense and is rich in details about the day-today operation of a submarine in combat." (Publishers Weekly)
Though the admiral has an interesting story to tell, the writing is contrived and corny, stiff. He should have considered a ghost writer.
Two books that describe the life of a sub captain during WWII that are way more engrossing:
1. The Bravest Man: The Story of Richard O'Kane & U.S. Submariners in the Pacific War by William Tuohy
2. Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine by James F. Calvert
Either of those books are worth multiple listenings, I could barely make it through 'Thunder Below!'.
The stilted writing made it very hard to get through.
Great read!! Fluckey did a great job putting you right in the action. Those who were there are the best at this. The book doesn't just tell you what happened, it lets you experince it first hand. You also get to know the men on the boat. I feel like I have a bunch of new friends. This book would be great for anyone interest in action, excitement, and history.
The production of the Audible portion was one of the best I have ever heard. The reader even pronounces the word " submariner" correctly. If you have ever spoken to an old submarine man he will be quick to tell you it's "submarine-er" not "sub-mariner."
This one of several titles that have needed to be on Audible for a long time. If everybody buys this title then maybe Audible will add other tiltes like: Richard Kane's "Wahoo" and "Clear the Bridge," and Edward L. Beech's, "Run Silent Run Deep," "Dust on the Sea," "Cold as the Sea," and "Submarine."
I want more!
Yes - the book is well-read and it's an amazing account
The first book that came to mind was The Caine Mutiny - but TCM is about a destroyer minesweeper, is fiction, and largely hinges on poor command, while this book is nonfiction, is a sub, and is largely about good command. But in both books there's a lot of detail about the day-to-day concerns of the men aboard their respective commands.
For me, it's often the little things. Fluckey's point about not appreciating being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor because it stipulates actions taken without regard to ones personal safety implying he took them without regard to the safety of his crew is an excellent point and really sticks in my mind.
Mostly, I was amazed. Of course, there's always some sadness when the crew has to split up and the command is over, as with any story involving people who formed friendships under intense conditions and subsequently parted ways.
One of the best WWII books I've had the pleasure of experiencing.
I listened to this book twice. As soon as I finished it I listened to it a second time. Great job. I didn't know anything about the Barb until I listened to this book. Fantastic!!!! I felt like I was in the south pacific during WWII. So many leaders get to be leaders by not rocking the boat. Sounds like we owe Admiral Fluckey a tip of the hat for being one of those unusual leaders willing to take the step out of the box, By doing so he did a lot to save many of our brave young men during WWII. Thank you Admiral. I like to think of myself as a student of the war in the pacific. The more I read the more I admire the front line marines, the prisoners of Bataan, all of our young men who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during that conflict. The pain and suffering those men went through unimaginable to today's generations. Then to see McArthur pardon most of the Japanese for their war crimes. What our men must of thought about that. Almost 70 years later we are still looking for German war criminals. But not the Japanese. I knew many WWII veteran's and even some WWI vets. They just didn't talk about their war. They just didn't. What a shame, My father-in-law won 7 bronze stars. His family didn't have a clue until his passing. Even his brother didn't know. How or why these men took their deeds to the grave with them speaks volumes to me. They just did what they had to do and came home and lived a productive life. What a generation. Tom Brokaw labeled them the Greatest Generation. He was right on the money. Listen to this book it is excellent.
Married (1975), Vietnam-era (not in-country) vet (USN Retired), 4 sons, 11 grandkids, love riding my Harley.
Absolutely, if the friend was interested in a chronological account of what patrols on a WWII submarine was like.
The fact that Admiral Fluckey was the "Skipper I Always Wanted", truely in love with his ship and crew and willing to sacrifice his all for their success.
Excellent narration! Perfect inflection in his reading to reflect the feelings of the author in various situations.
The end, where Fluckey tossed the final line off the pier and watched "his" sub leave on patrol with another skipper at the helm with his entire crew, who became his 2nd family, waving to him.
The best book I have read about the submarine service during WWII yet!
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