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Publisher's Summary

The incredible true story of nine Hellcat submarines assigned to penetrate the dense minefields protecting the sea of Japan. In 1945 - with no knowledge of the development of the atomic bomb- American submarine commanders, desperate to avoid an invasion of the home islands, believed that if the Japanese merchant fleet was sunk, the enemy would be forced to surrender.

The problem: the ships were protected in the Sea of Japan from American submarines by a seemingly impenetrable barrier of deadly minefields. For the first time, Peter Sasgen tells the gripping story of Operation Barney, a mission in which nine submarines, nicknamed Hellcats, were tasked with the impossible - get through the underwater mines and decimate the enemy fleet. Success would hinge on a new experimental sonar system that would, with luck, guide American submarines safely past the mines. Drawing on original documents and the poignant personal letters of one brave Hellcat commander, Sasgen crafts a classic naval tale of the heroic submariners and one of World War II's most ambitious and dangerous missions.

©2010 Peter Sasgen (P)2011 Oasis

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A WWII story well worth learning about

What did you like best about Hellcats? What did you like least?

With a tale to tell the author concentrated on two characters that brought the story to life. This I agree was the best way to present the details. <br/><br/>The part I liked least was the lack of suspense related to one characters demise. You knew he was lost and the book just took too long to explain what was unable to be explained. The Navy basically lost contact with a sub that the Japs likely took out based on post war records etc.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I would see it because it would make a better movie when presented with good visuals which are of course left to the readers imagination as the audio story is presented. It has been too long without a good Submarine movie hitting the theaters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Incredibly gripping and interesting!

I have listened to many books on WW2 submarines, and this is one of the very best. The story is very historic, dramatic, gripping and interesting. It is well told technically historically and dramatically Very well read. All in all wonderful.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Several Hellcats books, Start with this one

What did you love best about Hellcats?

The writing, the flow, the description of the equipment and evolution of the new FM radar.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

His enthusiasm.

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

Forget Ronald Reagan. What a bad movie. Would be nice to try again, but "Fury" may be the last good WWII movie.

Any additional comments?

The Navy's Undersea Warfare magazine is an incredible source of information for the heroes of WWII in the submarines. The archives begin with a great commander in each issue. Buy the actual commander's books and read them, they weren't idiots and somewhat educated (Annapolis). Better than Star Trek, the subs really did go out on missions totally on their own.

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fascinating slice of WWII history

Where does Hellcats rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Any Grover Gardener narrated audiobook is bound to be at the top of my list. This was a wonderful exploration of the early submarine force. It follows the first set of subs to use FM Sonar to map mines, and how they exploited this new capability to operate close to the Japanese coast at the close of WWII. The sailors are brought vividly to life - great listen!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Noneof
  • Dauphin Island, AL, United States
  • 09-22-12

Not What I Was Lead to Expect

What would have made Hellcats better?

If it had really been the story of a submarine mission, instead of containing a lot of useless information and only devoting about 20% of its time to the mission, which didn't convey any drama or excitement at all.

Would you ever listen to anything by Peter Sasgen again?

No

How could the performance have been better?

The performer had nothing much to work with. Not even Walter Cronkite could have made this less dis-interesting.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes. The part about how the dead commander's wife tried to get to the bottom of why her husband had been sent on this unnecessary mission was heart rending. Plus, the exposure of the overall commander's revenge motive for costing these men their lives was worthwhile. But, that only made up about 15% of the book. Most of it was useless and unrelated to what thr preview lead me to expect.

Any additional comments?

I love WWII submarine stories. I wish Audible had offered a good one, instead of this disappointing mess.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful