The Archerfish, a diesel powered Balao-class submarine crafted in the 1940s, won a unique, heroic place in military history and the memories of her crew members. Here is her story: from her assembly in New England and her dedication by Eleanor Roosevelt's personal secretary, to her service in World War II, where she broke the back of the Japanese Navy, and her critical role in the Cold War.
Here, too, is the story of her crew, who waited years to serve on the Archerfish. In their own words, these men tell how, against all odds, they sent a Japanese aircraft carrier to the ocean floor. Heroic actions, exotic ports, B-girls, perilous shore leaves, and the fascinating details of life aboard a sub, it's all here. An extraordinary real-life odyssey, Gallant Lady is a vivid, unforgettable portrait of a submariner's life.
©2004 Ken Henry and Don Keith; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"The next best thing to serving on the Archerfish is reading this book. It's a great Navy story about a great ship and crew." (Stephen Coonts)
Unless you served on this boat, don't waste your time reading this book! It is poorly written, combining meaningless minutia from the deck log (like the details of a post war wardroom inventory) and sophmoric tales of shore leave with equal reverence to the submarine's operations. The main focus of the book is drunken shore leave stories from the 1950's and 1960's. Narrator is overly dramatic on the minutia and mis-pronounces the names of ships, locations and equipment throughout. Listen to "Silent Running" and "The Bravest Man" if you are interested in well written books on life aboard WWII submarines.
In this books the authors were constantly trying to convince the listener how superior this ship and crew were. This being a completely unnecessary task since any sub and crew that made it through one, and in this case numerous, war paroles during WWII had nothing to prove to anybody. This was a good ship and crew and buy simply telling their wonderful story in a more down to earth and eloquent way would have made all the difference in the world. The authors also had the annoying trait of continually introducing, and I felt divulging, the crowning achievement of the Archerfish at the beginning the end and numerous times through out this story. The whole pace and composition was confusing and unbalanced which made it hard to listen to and follow. I must admit that I had read James Calvert's Silent Running and William Tuohy's The Bravest Man, two of the finest books about submarines I have had the pleasure to read, just before I started this book. They were a hard act to follow and this story just was not in the same class. The men of the Archerfish were indeed all hero's and their actions are noteworthy. They just need someone else to tell their story.
Attention on deck. Gallant Lady is, alas, a waste of precious disk space and should be deep-sixed. Do not expect stealthy tordedo set-ups or classic convoy attacks. This is nothing more than an overblown travelogue of post-war gadding about to various ports of call on meaningless and largely inconsequential missions of.....what exactly are they accomplishing other than burning fuel and consuming alcohol, the world wonders? The only shots are being chased with beer. I was very disappointed and feel the promotional write-up to be misleading at best. Let Gallant Lady pass to port and engage your mind and heart with other worthy reads in this genre, such as "The Bravest Man" and, "Silent Running", both exceptionally well done war chronicles of intrepid submariners on historic battle patrols. Carry on.
I understand the other negative reviews. This is pretty much a specialist book. If you're looking for high drama or character development you will be disappointed. But I found interesting all the details that bored everyone else. It's the little oddities and quirks of day-to-day life that bring alive exactly what it was like to be in the Navy as an average sailor or low raking officer.
Like Forest Gump or Zelig, Archerfish was there. Except this boat was really there and not pasted in after the fact. If, instead of her crew, the boat herself could only talk.
Having read or listened to hundreds of military novels, this one certainly rates at the bottom of the list. Don't waste your time on this one. It really is more of a discredit to the "Archerfish" than a record of the "Gallant Lady" (never referred to in the book as a lady). Many more much more worthy books out there to spend your time on.
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