We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Thunder Below!: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II | [Eugene B. Fluckey]

Thunder Below!: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II

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.

Regular Price:$31.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (216 )
5 star
 (118)
4 star
 (66)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.4 (199 )
5 star
 (120)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (4)
Story
4.3 (199 )
5 star
 (103)
4 star
 (62)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-15-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4318
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    800
    763
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    797
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting"

    This is a great story; it is one of those books that grab your attention immediately. Eugene B. Fluckey and the USS Bark sank 140,000 tons of Japanese shipping from April 1944 to the end of the War.

    Admiral Fluckey takes his own memories and weaves it together with a crewman’s illegal diary, reports, letters, ship logs, and interviews as well as archival documents from the Japanese Navy to provide a detailed account of the U.S.S. Barb’s eight through twelfth War patrols. Apparently Fluckey was a brilliant, courageous, fair Captain most concerned about bringing his men home safe. Not a man was wounded onboard Barb while he was the Captain.

    “Lucky Fluckey” pioneered new submarine tactics that are still used today. The high point in the book is a night surface attack through miles of shoal water to attack two Japanese convoys in a harbor in China. Fluckey won the Medal of Honor and the Barb was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Fluckey won the Navy Cross four times, the Navy Distinguish Service medal with one gold star and many more medals. Eugene B Fluckey was a 1935 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. In 1989 the Navy honored him by naming the Nuclear Submarine Combat System Training Center after him. The only building named for a living person.

    The narration is clear, concise and vivid. Admiral Fluckey is a good writer and the story is not just about him but all the crew of the Barb. The book is well researched. The hardcover book also has lots of photographs. The book is an excellent study of sub warfare tactics and naval leadership. If you are looking for an excellent book about submarines in World War II this is a book for you. I read somewhere that Steven Spielberg has purchased the movie rights to the story. Corey Snow narrated the book. Corey Snow does an excellent job narrating the book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rex Rosetta, South Africa 01-18-14
    Rex Rosetta, South Africa 01-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow! There were brave men in WWII"
    Would you listen to Thunder Below! again? Why?

    Yes. I enjoy military history. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was stunned at the bravery of the men that went out in submarines


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    The Bravest Man - another submariner's tale, Neptune's Inferno on the naval battles around Guadalcanal and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors of the heroic stand by destroyers against battleships in Leyte Gulf


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I think the title sums it up: Thunder Below!


    Any additional comments?

    An above average tale well told

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boone Georgetown, TX, United States 09-28-13
    Boone Georgetown, TX, United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Action, Excitement, & History. A great read!"

    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!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vygramul Annandale, VA United States 11-28-13
    Vygramul Annandale, VA United States 11-28-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So incredible it can't be anything but true"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - the book is well-read and it's an amazing account


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best WWII books I've had the pleasure of experiencing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hill Bedford, TX, United States 11-25-13
    Hill Bedford, TX, United States 11-25-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    123
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    148
    53
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    35
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fantastic"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert United States 01-27-14
    Robert United States 01-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    100
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for Tom Clancy Tech heads"

    Admiral Fluckey was clearly a great submarine commander and what he and his crew accomplished in the later part of the Pacific war is extremely impressive. The story makes a for an interesting listen if not a particularly informative one. My disappointment stems from the fact that there is so much interesting tech in a submarine but we hear very little about it. The book needs a few paragraphs devoted to the tactics, technical equipment and people used to solve the geometry problem of hitting a distant moving object with an unguided torpedo. He actually spends more time discussing the decoration on their celebratory cakes than he does talking about how they evaded depth charges or use sonar. Overall, a disappointment. I’m looking for a WW2 submarine memoir written to help me understand a bit of what the crew and their gear actually did to accomplish a highly complex mission using nearly steampunk tech.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Scott McClanahan 03-02-15 Member Since 2012

    I've lived in Austin, Texas, for over 10 years, not Houston. World War II is my lifelong interest since my father was a combat veteran in the 8th Air Force. I grew up with pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. They told me many stories of their experiences and I cannot get enough of books and documentaries.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to get things done"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is not only a great WWII submarine book (perhaps the best), but an incredible inspiration to any human being about how to get things done. The commander was very smart, innovative, and unstoppable. Not a John Wayne, the management style of the commander should be a model for all military leaders and even business leaders.


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    "A Thousand Shall Fall" The intelligence of the submarine and aircraft commanders, along with their experiences, make the best authors of war autobiographies.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Any of the attack scenes. So many war books are about heading into battle blindly. It is refreshing to follow a leader that has a plan. Rewarding the crew with beer is the main thing you will remember about this book. Before an attack, an order to put the beer on ice signaled the seriousness of the situation and the intended outcome. The reader gets excited every time beer on ice is ordered. Also the cakes.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    At the beginning. This is going to be more like Star Trek than human struggle. Off they go and the commander is like Captain Kurt.


    Any additional comments?

    Very well written and narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trent & Renatta 02-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, didn't love the narrative style"

    Interesting read, not too technical. The story is written in a conversational style that often seems forced and excessive. I had a hard time getting into the story, but after the first two hours things picked up and I enjoyed the remainder. If you enjoy military history I'd recommend it, otherwise it's probably not worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard United States 01-14-15
    Richard United States 01-14-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very engaging story"
    If you could sum up Thunder Below! in three words, what would they be?

    Lots of action!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thunder Below!?

    There were MANY interesting events that take place throughout the book, but the story of the "demolition crew" who went ashore to sabotage a Japanese railroad was one of the more engrossing.


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first Corey Snow performance and I found him to be quite easy to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As a history buff, I found the book quite entertaining, however there were no real emotional swings one way or other.


    Any additional comments?

    Although I found the book to be very entertaining and captivating, there was one aspect that I'm not sure I enjoyed. The author, in an attempt to include as much context and as many facts as possible, "forced" some of those facts and context into dialog that obviously never occurred. There were numerous anecdotes in which one character or another goes on and on with some trivial detail and history in a way that people don't speak.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gord 12-29-14
    Gord 12-29-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "CLEAR THE BRIDGE!! - Prepare for your adventure."
    What made the experience of listening to Thunder Below! the most enjoyable?

    1st person account of real events that helped shape history along with a look at the inner workings of the US Navy submarine service.


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    Similar to other 1st person war-time accounts. The big difference being the story telling dialogue and character portrayal giving the book life.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I liked that it was not just a dry narration of facts and events.The real effort to bring the various characters to life brings an entertainment element to the relating of real historic facts and events.I found it difficult to wrap my understanding around how the characters were portrayed as being peace loving individuals but who seemed to revel in combat and taking the lives of the enemy - it somehow seemed a bit hypocritical in that regard.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My only extreme reaction was in spending so much of my free time listening to the story - it was compelling, insightful, and entertaining.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book to anyone who would appreciate a better understanding of how the US Navy in general and the submarine service in particular carried the fight to the enemy during World War II.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
Sort by:
  • Craig
    Dunfermline, United Kingdom
    12/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant."
    What did you like most about Thunder Below!?

    Right from the first chapter you are kept riveted by this incredible journey into the life of a WW2 Submarine Commander.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thunder Below!?

    When Eugene Fluckey takes you to the point where they have to rescue the Australian and British troops on board Japanese ships that had just been torpedoed. Its a dramatic and incredible rescue, testament to the determination of the troops to help each other stay alive for as long as possible in order to be saved. Its also incredible just how far Eugene and his men strived to rescue them. A wonderful moment that lives in Fluckey's memory.


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Corey Snow gets right into the naritive. At some points you can believe that this is the voice of Eugene Fluckey, he brings the Commander and his Submarine alive.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the submariners start to pull the survivors aboard their Sub and Eugene says he shed tears as they thanked him. The description of the survivor's alone moves the listener.


    Any additional comments?

    A first class listen. Every chapter a story in its own right.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
    2/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant Listen"

    This is not the normal type of book that I would normally listen to, but I could not put my IPod down, Luck Fluckey was a true natural born leader who men followed and the reason the allied forces won the second world war, I highly recommend it to everyone to give it a go you won't be disappointed, believe me.
    Mark H

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.