From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
“Knowing these great men—who they were, how they lived, and what they stood for—has changed my life. We can’t let them be forgotten. So read about these amazing men, share their stories, and learn from them as I have. We’ve mourned their deaths. Let’s celebrate their lives.”—Brandon Webb
As a Navy SEAL, Brandon Webb rose to the top of the world’s most elite sniper corps, experiencing years of punishing training and combat missions from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. Among the best of the best, he led the SEALs’ clandestine sniper training program as course manager, instructing a new generation of the world’s top snipers. Along the way, Webb served beside, trained, and supported men he came to know not just as fellow warriors, but as friends and, eventually, as heroes. Among Heroes gives his personal account of these eight extraordinary SEALs, who gave all for their comrades—and their country.
Here are the true stories behind the remarkable valor and abiding humanity of those “sheepdogs” (as they call themselves) who protect us from the wolves of the world. Of Matt “Axe” Axelson, who perished on the Lone Survivor mission in Afghanistan. Of Chris Campbell, Heath Robinson, and JT Tumilson, who were among the thirty-eight casualties of Extortion 17, the Chinook helicopter shot down in August 2011. Of Glen Doherty, Webb’s best friend for more than a decade, killed while helping secure the successful rescue and extraction of American CIA and State Department diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012; and other close friends, classmates, and fellow warriors.
In Among Heroes, Webb offers eight intensely personal profiles of uncommon courage—who these men were, what they stood for, and how they came to make the ultimate sacrifice. These are men who left behind powerfully instructive examples of what it means to be alive—and what it truly means to be a hero.
Winner of the National Book Award, Nathaniel Philbrick's book is a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of whaling, with deep resonance in American literature and history.
In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea, recently adapted into a major feature film starring Chris Hemsworth, is a book for the ages.
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.
Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.
The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human aftermath is one of lives put at risk by petty economic decisions--by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors, and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions, made differently, might have averted the tragedy. Together, however, they reached a fatal critical mass.
Killer Show is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims.
Anyone who has entered an entertainment venue and wondered, "Could I get out of here in a hurry?" will identify with concertgoers at The Station. Fans of disaster nonfiction and forensic thrillers will find ample elements of both genres in Killer Show.
On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died. The captain's subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive?
Interweaving the stories of three survivors -- the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine -- journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless. The definitive account of a little-known chapter in World War II history, In Harm's Way is destined to become a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage.
A quarter-century ago, Boston had the dirtiest harbor in America. The city had been dumping sewage into it for generations, coating the seafloor with a layer of “black mayonnaise.” Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as “beach whistles.”
In the 1990s, work began on a state-of-the-art treatment plant and a 10-mile-long tunnel—its endpoint stretching farther from civilization than the earth’s deepest ocean trench—to carry waste out of the harbor. With this impressive feat of engineering, Boston was poised to show the country how to rebound from environmental ruin. But when bad decisions and clashing corporations endangered the project, a team of commercial divers was sent on a perilous mission to rescue the stymied cleanup effort. Five divers went in; not all of them came out alive.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents collected over five years of reporting, award-winning writer Neil Swidey takes us deep into the lives of the divers, engineers, politicians, lawyers, and investigators involved in the tragedy and its aftermath, creating a taut, action-packed narrative. The climax comes just after the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade assignments as they head into the tunnel, sentencing one of them to death.
An intimate portrait of the wreckage left in the wake of lives lost, the book—which Dennis Lehane calls "extraordinary" and compares with The Perfect Storm—is also a morality tale. What is the true cost of these large-scale construction projects, as designers and builders, emboldened by new technology and pressured to address a growing population’s rapacious needs, push the limits of the possible? This is a story about human risk—how it is calculated, discounted, and transferred—and the institutional failures that can lead to catastrophe.
Suspenseful yet humane, Trapped Under the Sea reminds us that behind every bridge, tower, and tunnel—behind the infrastructure that makes modern life possible—lies unsung bravery and extraordinary sacrifice.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the cliff-hanger campaign against Tripoli, to the war that shook the world in 1812, Ian W. Toll tells this grand tale with the political insight of Founding Brothers and the narrative flair of Patrick O'Brian.
The book contains incredible accounts of major SEAL operations-from the violent birth of SEAL Team Six and the aborted Operation Eagle Claw meant to save the hostages in Iran, to key missions in Iraq and Afganistan where the SEALs suffered their worst losses in their fifty year history-and every chapter illustrates why this elite military special operations unit remains the most feared anti-terrorist force in the world.
We hear reports on the record from retired SEAL officers including Lt. Cmdr. Richard Marcinko, the founder of SEAL Team Six, and a former Commander at SEAL team Six, Ryan Zinke, and we come away understanding the deep commitment of these military men who put themselves in danger to protect our country and save American lives. In the face of insurmountable odds and the imminent threat of death, they give all to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
No matter the situation, on duty or at ease, SEALs never, ever give up. One powerful chapter in the book tells the story of how one Medal of Honor winner saved another, the only time this has been done in US military history.
EYES ON TARGET includes these special features:
A detailed timeline of events during the Benghazi attack Sample rescue scenarios from a military expert who believes that help could have reached the Benghazi compound in time The US House Republican Conference Interim Progress Report on the events surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi Through their many interviews and unique access, Scott McEwen and Richard Miniter pull back the veil that has so often concealed the heroism of these patriots. They live by a stringent and demanding code of their own creation, keeping them ready to ignore politics, bureaucracy and-if necessary-direct orders. They share a unique combination of character, intelligence, courage, love of country and what can only be called true grit.
They are the Navy SEALs, and they keep their Eyes on Target.
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, videogame style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where they 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.
“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”
With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’ s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.
In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, James D. Hornfischer paints an unprecedented portrait of the Battle of Samar, a naval engagement unlike any other in U.S. history—and captures with unforgettable intensity the men, the strategies, and the sacrifices that turned certain defeat into a legendary victory.
In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War.
The predominant image of this first world war is of mud and trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, and slaughter. A generation of European manhood was massacred, and a wound was inflicted on European civilization that required the remainder of the twentieth century to heal.
But with all its sacrifice, trench warfare did not win the war for one side or lose it for the other. Over the course of four years, the lines on the Western Front moved scarcely at all; attempts to break through led only to the lengthening of the already unbearably long casualty lists.
For the true story of military upheaval, we must look to the sea. On the eve of the war in August 1914, Great Britain and Germany possessed the two greatest navies the world had ever seen. When war came, these two fleets of dreadnoughts—gigantic floating castles of steel able to hurl massive shells at an enemy miles away—were ready to test their terrible power against each other.
Their struggles took place in the North Sea and the Pacific, at the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax when Germany, suffocated by an implacable naval blockade, decided to strike against the British ring of steel. The result was Jutland, a titanic clash of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each the home of a thousand men.
When the German High Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat warfare, which, in its indiscriminate violence, brought a reluctant America into the war. In this way, the German effort to “seize the trident” by defeating the British navy led to the fall of the German empire.
Ultimately, the distinguishing feature of Castles of Steel is the author himself. The knowledge, understanding, and literary power Massie brings to this story are unparalleled. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are stunning in their veracity and artistry.
Castles of Steel is about war at sea, leadership and command, courage, genius, and folly. All these elements are given magnificent scope by Robert K. Massie’ s special and widely hailed literary mastery.
In Empires of the Sea, acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria.
This struggle’s brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, seven years that witnessed a fight to the finish decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto–one of the single most shocking days in world history. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away “because of the countless corpses floating in the sea.” Lepanto fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today.
Roger Crowley conjures up a wild cast of pirates, crusaders, and religious warriors struggling for supremacy and survival in a tale of slavery and galley warfare, desperate bravery and utter brutality, technology and Inca gold. Empires of the Sea is page-turning narrative history at its best–a story of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. It provides a crucial context for our own clash of civilizations.
A New York Times Bestseller
A Boston Globe Bestseller
An ABA Indie Bestseller
James "Whitey" Bulger became one of the most ruthless gangsters in US history, and all because of an unholy deal he made with a childhood friend. John Connolly a rising star in the Boston FBI office, offered Bulger protection in return for helping the Feds eliminate Boston's Italian mafia. But no one offered Boston protection from Whitey Bulger, who, in a blizzard of gangland killings, took over the city's drug trade. Whitey's deal with Connolly's FBI spiraled out of control to become the biggest informant scandal in FBI history.
Black Mass is a New York Times and Boston Globe bestseller, written by two former reporters who were on the case from the beginning. It is an epic story of violence, double-cross, and corruption at the center of which are the black hearts of two old friends whose lives unfolded in the darkness of permanent midnight.
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
Over the last fifty years, a small Navy unit has evolved into the world’s most celebrated fighting force: the U.S. Navy SEALs. Until now, their stories have been sealed in the chambers of operational secrecy—and the brotherhood of SEAL anonymity. Drawing on exclusive interviews with more than 100 former special operators, highly respected retired SEAL Dick Couch and award-winning author Bill Doyle record their stories in Navy Seals and give us the epic chronicle these legendary warriors deserve.
Navy Seals charts the SEALs story, from their origins in the daring Naval Combat Demolition Teams, Underwater Demolition Teams, Scouts and Raiders commando units, and OSS Operational Swimmers of WWII to their coming of age in Vietnam and rise to glory in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. Illustrated with 40-pages of photographs, here are the greatest missions of the world’s most legendary special operators—in their own words.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from James D. Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno.
"Son, we’re going to Hell."
The navigator of the USS Houston confided these prophetic words to a young officer as he and his captain charted a course into U.S. naval legend. Renowned as FDR’s favorite warship, the cruiser USS Houston was a prize target trapped in the far Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Without hope of reinforcement, her crew faced a superior Japanese force ruthlessly committed to total conquest. It wasn’t a fair fight, but the men of the Houston would wage it to the death.
Hornfischer brings to life the awesome terror of nighttime naval battles that turned decks into strobe-lit slaughterhouses, the deadly rain of fire from Japanese bombers, and the almost superhuman effort of the crew as they miraculously escaped disaster again and again–until their luck ran out during a daring action in Sunda Strait. There, hopelessly outnumbered, the Houston was finally sunk and its survivors taken prisoner. For more than three years their fate would be a mystery to families waiting at home.
In the brutal privation of jungle POW camps dubiously immortalized in such films as The Bridge on the River Kwai, the war continued for the men of the Houston—a life-and-death struggle to survive forced labor, starvation, disease, and psychological torture. Here is the gritty, unvarnished story of the infamous Burma–Thailand Death Railway glamorized by Hollywood, but which in reality mercilessly reduced men to little more than animals, who fought back against their dehumanization with dignity, ingenuity, sabotage, will–power—and the undying faith that their country would prevail.
Using journals and letters, rare historical documents, including testimony from postwar Japanese war crimes tribunals, and the eyewitness accounts of Houston’s survivors, James Hornfischer has crafted an account of human valor so riveting and awe-inspiring, it’s easy to forget that every single word is true.
Six months after Pearl Harbor, the seemingly invincible Imperial Japanese Navy prepared a decisive blow against the United States. After sweeping through Asia and the South Pacific, Japan’s military targeted the tiny atoll of Midway, an ideal launching pad for the invasion of Hawaii and beyond.
The US Navy would be waiting for them. Thanks to cutting-edge code-breaking technology, tactical daring, and a significant stroke of luck, the Americans under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz dealt the Japanese navy its first major defeat of the war. Three years of hard fighting remained, but it was at Midway that the tide turned.
This “stirring, even suspenseful narrative” is the first book to tell the story of the epic battle from both the American and Japanese sides (Newsday). Miracle at Midway reveals how America won its first and greatest victory of the Pacific war—and how easily it could have been a defeat.
Focusing on the unique stories of three of the war’s top submarines—Silversides, Drum, and Tang—The War Below vividly re-creates the camaraderie, exhilaration, and fear of the brave volunteers who took the fight to the enemy’s coastline in World War II. Award-winning journalist James Scott recounts incredible feats of courage—from an emergency appendectomy performed with kitchen utensils to sailors’ desperate struggle to escape from a flooded submarine—as well as moments of unimaginable tragedy, including an attack on an unmarked enemy freighter carrying 1,800 American prisoners of war.
The casualty rate among submariners topped that of all other military branches. The war claimed almost one out of every five submarines, and a submarine crewman was six times more likely to die than a sailor onboard a surface ship. But this valorous service accomplished its mission; Silversides, Drum, and Tang sank a combined sixty-two freighters, tankers, and transports. The Japanese were so ravaged from the loss of precious supplies that by the war’s end, pilots resorted to suicidal kamikaze missions and hungry civilians ate sawdust while warships had to drop anchor due to lack of fuel. In retaliation, the Japanese often beat, tortured, and starved captured submariners in the atrocious prisoner of war camps.
Based on more than 100 interviews with submarine veterans and thousands of pages of previously unpublished letters and diaries, The War Below lets readers experience the battle for the Pacific as never before.
The sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago in 1912, and the subsequent deaths of over 1,500 passengers, sent shock waves around the world. Never before or since has a maritime disaster in a time of peace had such an impact.
TITANIC: HISTORY IN AN HOUR is an entertaining and well researched account of the events leading up to the sinking of this ‘unsinkable’ ship, providing an fascinating commentary on the pressures of the White Star Line, the importance of class to Titanic’s unfortunate passengers and the legacy of the disaster in Britain and America. TITANIC:HISTORY IN AN HOUR is a gripping and accessible account.
Know your stuff: read about the Titanic in just one hour.
War of the Whales is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth.
When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation’s highest court, War of the Whales is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.
In this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark battle to life. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose decisions altered history: Themistocles, Athens' great leader (and admiral of its fleet), who devised the ingenious strategy that effectively destroyed the Persian navy in one day; Xerxes, the Persian king who fought bravely but who ultimately did not understand the sea; Aeschylus, the playwright who served in the battle and later wrote about it; and Artemisia, the only woman commander known from antiquity, who turned defeat into personal triumph. Filled with the sights, sounds, and scent of battle, The Battle of Salamis is a stirring work of history.
The Day of Infamy began as a quiet morning on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. But as Japan’s deadly torpedoes suddenly rained down on the Pacific fleet, soldiers, generals, and civilians alike felt shock, then fear, then rage. From the chaos, a thousand personal stories of courage emerged. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, letters, and diaries, Walter Lord recounts the many tales of heroism and tragedy by those who experienced the attack firsthand. From the musicians of the USS Nevada who insisted on finishing “The Star Spangled Banner” before taking cover, to the men trapped in the capsized USS Oklahoma who methodically voted on the best means of escape, each story conveys the terror and confusion of the bombing raid, as well as the fortitude of those who survived.
On September 17, 1940, at a little after ten at night, a German submarine torpedoed the passenger liner S.S. City of Benares in the North Atlantic. There were 406 people on board, but the ship's prized passengers were 90 children whose parents had elected to send their boys and girls away from Great Britain to escape the ravages of World War II. They were considered lucky, headed for quiet, peaceful, and relatively bountiful Canada.
The Benares sank in half an hour, in a gale that sent several of her lifeboats pitching into the frigid sea. They were more than five hundred miles from land, three hundred miles from the nearest rescue vessel.
Miracles on the Water tells the astonishing story of the survivors--not one of whom had any reasonable hope of rescue as the ship went down. The initial "miracle" involves one British destroyer's race to the scene, against time and against the elements; the second is the story of Lifeboat 12, missed by the destroyer and left out on the water, 46 people jammed in a craft built and stocked for 30. Those people lasted eight days on little food and tiny rations of drinking water. The survivors have grappled ever since with questions about the ordeal: Should the Benares have been better protected? How and why did they persevere? What role did faith and providence play in the outcome?
Based on first-hand accounts from the child survivors and other passengers, including the author's great-uncle, Miracles on the Water brings us the story of the attack on the Benares and the extraordinary events that followed.
Tom Nagorski is currently the Executive Vice President of the Asia Society following a three-decade career in journalism - having served most recently as Managing Editor for International Coverage at ABC News. Nagorski has won eight Emmy awards and the Dupont Award for excellence in international coverage, as well as a fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
John Paul Jones, at sea and in the heat of the battle, was the great American hero of the Age of Sail. He was to history what Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower are to fiction. Ruthless, indomitable, clever; he vowed to sail, as he put it, “in harm’s way.” Evan Thomas’s minute-by-minute re-creation of the bloodbath between Jones’s Bonhomme Richard and the British man-of-war Serapis off the coast of England on an autumn night in 1779 is as gripping a sea battle as can be found in any novel.
Drawing on Jones’s correspondence with some of the most significant figures of the American Revolution—John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson—Thomas’s biography teaches us that it took fighters as well as thinkers, men driven by dreams of personal glory as well as high-minded principle, to break free of the past and start a new world. Jones’s spirit was classically American.
In January 1968, a U.S. intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, was seized by North Korea. Among other items, the North Koreans confiscated a valuable cryptographic unit that was capable of deciphering the Navy's top-secret codes. Unknown to the Navy, a traitor named John Walker had begun supplying the Navy's codes to the KGB. Once the KGB acquired the crypto unit from the North Koreans, the Russians were able to read highly classified naval communications.
In March, a Soviet sub, K-129, mysteriously sank near Hawaii, hundreds of miles from its normal station in the Pacific. Soviet naval leaders mistakenly believed that a U.S. submarine was to blame for the loss, and they planned revenge. A trap was set: several Soviet vessels were gathered in the Atlantic, acting suspiciously. It would be only a matter of time before a U.S. sub was sent to investigate. That sub was Scorpion. Using the top-secret codes and the deciphering machine, the Soviets could intercept and decode communication between the Navy and Scorpion, the final element in carrying out the planned attack.
All Hands Down shows how the Soviet plan was executed and explains why the truth of the attack has been officially denied for forty years. Sewell and Preisler debunk various official explanations for the tragedy and bring to life the personal stories of some of the men who were lost when Scorpion went to the bottom. This true story, finally told after exhaustive research, is more exciting than any novel.
Hailed as the ace of aces, captain Richard O’Kane, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his consummate skill and heroism as a submarine skipper, sank more enemy ships and saved more downed fliers than anyone else.
Now Pulitzer Prize—winning author William Tuohy captures all the danger, the terror, and the pulse-pounding action of undersea combat as he chronicles O’Kane’s wartime career–from his valiant service as executive officer under Wahoo skipper Dudley “Mush” Morton to his electrifying patrols as commander of the USS Tang and his incredible escape, with eight other survivors, after Tang was sunk by its own defective torpedo.
Above all, The Bravest Man is the dramatic story of mavericks who broke the rules and set the pace to become a new breed of hunter/killer submariners who waged a unique brand of warfare. These undersea warriors would blaze their own path to victory–and transform the “Silent Service” into the deadliest fighting force in the Pacific.
From the Paperback edition.
December 7, 1941, was a turning point in the history of the United States, which had been teetering on a decision between isolationism and intervention. One might argue that every US military engagement since then has been affected by what happened when America learned that it could not stand by and watch war among strangers without potentially becoming involved—whether we wished to or not.
The Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadalcanal decided the outcome of the Pacific War. Guadalcanal was the classic three-dimensional campaign. On land, at sea, and in the air, fierce battles were fought with both sides stretching their supplies and equipment to the breaking point. The campaign lasted six months, involved nearly one million men, and stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
When the campaign began on August 7, 1942, no one on either side quite knew how to conduct it, as Eric Hammel shows in this masterly account. Guadalcanal: Starvation hand corrects numerous errors and omissions in the official records that have been perpetuated in all the books previously published about the campaign. Hammel also draws on the recollections of more than 100 participants on both sides, especially the enlisted men at the sharp end. Their words bring us into the heart of the battle and portray the fighting accurately, realistically, andvery powerfully.Guadalcanal: Starvation Island follows the men and the commanders of this decisive World War II campaign in an integrated, brilliantly told narrative of the desperate struggle at sea, on land, and in the air.
Praise for Guadalcanal: Starvation Island and Eric Hammel
“A comprehensive history of the Guadalcanal Campaign . . . [and] a well‑balanced account. Well written and fast moving.” —Marine Corps Gazette
“Hammel has written the most comprehensive popular account to date . . . and exposes controversial aspects often passed over,” —Publishers Weekly
“Hammel takes the reader behind the scenes and details how decisions were made . . . and how they impacted on the troops carrying them out. He tells the story in a very human way.” —Leatherneck Magazine
“A splendid record of this decisive campaign. Hammel offers a wealth of fresh material drawn from archival records and the recollections of 100‑odd surviving participants. . . . A praiseworthy contribution to Guadalcanal lore.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hammel’s ability to reveal both the immediacy and the humanity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly. —San Francisco Chronicle“Hammel does not write dry history. His battle sequences are masterfully portrayed. —Library Journal
The first close-up look at the hidden world of Somali pirates by a young journalist who dared to make his way into their remote havens and spent a year infiltrating their lives.
For centuries, stories of pirates have captured imaginations around the world. The recent ragtag bands of pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking multimillion-dollar tankers owned by international shipping conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era. Jay Bahadur’s riveting narrative exposé—the first of its kind—looks at who these men are, how they live, the forces that created piracy in Somalia, how the pirates spend the ransom money, how they deal with their hostages, among much, much more. It is a revelation of a dangerous world at the epicenter of political and natural disaster.
Pellew’s humanity, fondness for subordinates, and blind love for his family, and the warmth and intimacy of his letters, make him a hugely engaging figure. Stephen Taylor gives him at last the biography he deserves.
DECISION AT SEA
The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea is a full-blown examination in vivid detail of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13–15, 1942, a crucial step toward America’s victory over the Japanese during World War II.
The three‑day air and naval action incorporated America’s most decisive surface battle of the war and the only naval battle of this century in which American battleships directly confronted and mortally wounded an enemy battleship. This American victory decided the future course of the naval war in the Pacific, indeed of the entire Pacific War. Eric Hammel has brilliantly blended the detailed historical records with personal accounts of many of the officers and enlisted men involved, creating an engrossing narrative of the strategy and struggle as seen by both sides. He has also included major new insights into crucial details of the battles, including a riveting account of the American forces’ failure to effectively use their radar advantage.
Originally published in 1988 as the concluding volume in Eric Hammel’s series of three independent books focusing on the Guadalcanal campaign and exploring all the elements that made it a turning point of the war in the Pacific, Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea lives up to the high standards and expectations that have marked this author’s many historical books and articles.
Praise for Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea and Eric Hammel
“Hammel’s description of surface tactics, naval gunnery, and what happens when the order to abandon ship is given is vivid and memorable.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Hammel’s] detailed and fast-paced chronicle includes a number of incidents and anecdotes not found in the more prosaic official histories.” —Sea Power
On October 25, 1944, the Samuel B. Roberts, along with the other twelve vessels comprising its unit, stood between Japan's largest battleship force ever sent to sea and MacArthur's transports inside Leyte Gulf. Faced with the surprise appearance of more than twenty Japanese battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, including the Yamato, at 70,000 tons the most potent battlewagon in the world, the 1,200-ton Samuel B. Roberts turned immediately into action with six other ships. Captain Copeland marked the occasion with one of the most poignant addresses ever given to men on the edge of battle: "Men," he said over the intercom, "we are about to go into a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected."
The ship churned straight at the enemy in a near-suicidal attempt to deflect the more potent foe, allow the small aircraft carriers to escape, and buy time for MacArthur's forces. Of 563 destroyers constructed during WWII, the Samuel B. Roberts was the only one sunk, going down with guns blazing in a duel reminiscent of the Spartans at Thermopylae or Davy Crockett's Alamo defenders. The men who survived faced a horrifying three-day nightmare in the sea, where they battled a lack of food and water, scorching sun and numbing nighttime cold, and nature's most feared adversary—sharks.
The battle would go down as history's greatest sea clash, the Battle of Samar—the dramatic climax of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
From the New York Times bestselling author and master of martial fiction comes the definitive, illustrated history of one of the greatest battles ever fought—a riveting nonfiction chronicle published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s last stand.
On June 18, 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history.
In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, he brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles—as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the actual outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end.
Published to coincide with the battle’s bicentennial in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy—and of the final battle that determined the fate of nineteenth-century Europe.
• Notorious incident: In 1967, Israeli fighter jets and torpedo boats attacked the spy ship uSS Liberty in international waters during the Six-Day War. Thirty-four sailors were killed and more than 170 wounded, many critically injured. Israel claimed mistaken identity, which a U.S. naval court of inquiry confirmed, but that explanation is contradicted by the facts of the case.
• Based on new revelations: James Scott has interviewed Liberty survivors, senior u.S. political and intelligence officials, and examined newly declassified documents in Israel and the united States to write this comprehensive, dramatic account. He reveals that officers in Israel’s chain of command were aware of the Liberty’s identity and shows how events in Vietnam prompted the American government to deemphasize the attack despite widespread disbelief of Israel’s story.
• Journalist and son of an attack survivor: Scott’s father, John, was an officer and engineer aboard the Liberty who was awarded the Silver Star for helping to save the ship from sinking.
Here, in their own words, are the true stories of these aquatic commandos, whose daring exploits and bravery would pave the way for thousands of American fighting men around the globe -- and whose recolitionary training and fighting methods would evolve into the modern specail forces known as the Navy SEALs.
They were walking to class on 9/11, wearing Naval Academy “summer working blues”, when the towers were struck. The campus went to general quarters, battle stations. They would be the first class after this attack to graduate into a nation at war and would be faced, like so many past graduates, of rising to the challenge to keeping America great. President Bush and Vice President Cheney articulated a world at the crossroads, and the U.S. would preemptively in seek enemies who threatened the national interest, America would not again be terrorized.
In the Shadow of Greatness addresses issues that go beyond one USNA class, it explains the trials of most military veterans of this era. Understanding how a young person enlists to serve, deploys to the fight, and returns home is unknown to most Americans. Veterans pack up their uniforms, but never lose the call for service when the return to civilian society.
The profiles in this book represent the “Next Great Generation” of American leaders. Men and women who lost their innocence in battle and their youths to a decade of deployments, throughout which they never gave up hope. In exchange for down range scars, they gained an unbreakable sense of purpose to America’s ideals—freedom, equality, and democracy.
The compilation is the most authentic and raw narrative to emerge from the Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. The reader enjoys a spectrum of stories, each patriotic and honorable. The narratives are meant to inspire, educate, and reveal a world many don’t understand. Its contents are readable and easy to appreciate.
The Class of 2002—and more broadly, the one million veterans of the Long War—are America’s leaders of tomorrow. Read this book to learn what they endured and why they are prepared.
Using his own experiences, log books, and correspondence with other U-boat crewmen, Goebeler offers rich and very personal details about what life was like in the German Navy under Hitler. Because his first and last posting was to U-505, Goebeler’s perspective of the crew, commanders, and war patrols paints a vivid and complete portrait unlike any other to come out of the Kriegsmarine. He witnessed it all: from deadly sabotage efforts that almost sunk the boat to the tragic suicide of the only U-boat commander who took his life during WWII; from the terror and exhilaration of hunting the enemy, to the seedy brothels of France. The vivid, honest, and smooth-flowing prose calls it like it was and pulls no punches.
U-505 was captured by Captain Dan Gallery’s Guadalcanal Task Group 22.3 on June 4, 1944. Trapped by this “Hunter-Killer” group, U-505 was depth-charged to the surface, strafed by machine gun fire, and boarded. It was the first ship captured at sea since the War of 1812! Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour U-505 each year at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
Included a special Introduction by Keith Gill, Curator of U-505, Museum of Science and Industry.
About the Authors: Hans Jacob Goebeler served as control room mate aboard U-505. He died in 1999. John P. Vanzo is a former defense program analyst. He teaches political science and geography at Bainbridge College in Georgia.
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels are the most famous flight demonstration team in the world. While millions of aviation enthusiasts see their shows every year, the story of the man who formed the squadron has never been told. He is Roy Marlin "Butch" Voris, a World War II Ace and one of only two aviators ever to command the Blue Angels twice.
First Blue details the epic journey of an unassuming man whose strong character and desire to fly launched him into a life of drama, heroism, and accomplishment unique in his field. Because he wanted to serve his country during World War II, a young Butch Voris found himself flying fighter planes as part of the pitifully prepared and outmanned front in the early stages of the Pacific theater. He was nearly killed there but went on to be a leader in one of the most fearsome naval air squadrons in the Pacific. As a pilot, Butch is unquestionably in the same class as more recognized aviator heroes such as Chuck Yeager and Pappy Boyington.
While his World War II experience alone could comprise a book, Butch may be best known for his efforts in the creation of the naval air demonstration team, the Blue Angels. After the war, Voris was personally chosen by Admiral Nimitz to start the Blue Angels and to lead them, first in prop planes and later in jets. The story of his efforts is as exciting as it is inspirational, and it's told here in meticulous detail and with great humor. Today the Blue Angels still follow traditions established by Butch.
Butch's involvement in military flight didn't end with the Blue Angels; he became a major player in the development of the F-14 Tomcat and NASA's Lunar Explorer Module for Grumman. Butch dedicated his life to his work, and here, finally, is the remarkable, untold account of this true American aviation pioneer and hero: a man whose life had unparalleled influence on naval aviation and whose legacy continues to inspire millions of Americans each year.
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger is an historical account of one of the earliest wars the United States fought as a newly independent nation, against the Barbary nations of North Africa. Though lesser known than other wars the US has fought over the years, it was an important conflict that set the stage for the US to earn a reputation as a respected nation that could demonstrate power on foreign lands as well as its homeland…
PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.
Inside this Instaread of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates:
Overview of the book
Analysis of Key Takeaways
Haefeli and Sweeney reconstruct events from multiple points of view, through the stories of a variety of individuals involved. These stories begin in the Native, French, and English communities of the colonial Northeast, then converge in the February 29 raid, as a force of more than two hundred Frenchmen, Abenakis, Hurons, Kahnawake Mohawks, Pennacooks, and Iroquois of the Mountain overran the northwesternmost village of the New England frontier. Although the inhabitants put up more of a fight than earlier accounts of the so-called Deerfield Massacre have suggested, the attackers took 112 men, women, and children captive. The book follows the raiders and their prisoners on the harsh three-hundred-mile trek back to Canada and into French and Native communities. Along the way the authors examine how captives and captors negotiated cultural boundaries and responded to the claims of competing faiths and empires -- all against a backdrop of continuing warfare.
By giving equal weight to all participants, Haefeli and Sweeney range across the fields of social, political, literary, religious, and military history, and reveal connections between cultures and histories usually seen as separate.