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Final Patrol: True Stories of World War II Submarines Paperback – 18 May 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library (18 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219510
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,541,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For a complete bio and a list of Don's books, visit

Award-winning and best-selling author Don Keith was born in 1947 and has lived in the South all his life. He attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where he received his degree in broadcast and film communication with a minor in English and literature. While working as a broadcast journalist, he won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for news writing and reporting. He was also the first winner of Troy State University's Hector Award for innovation in broadcast journalism. As an on-the-air broadcaster, Don won the Billboard Magazine "Radio Personality of the Year" in two formats, country and contemporary. Keith was a broadcast personality for over twenty years in Birmingham and Nashville, and also owned his own consultancy, co-owned a Mobile, Alabama, radio station (WZEW-FM), and hosted and produced several nationally syndicated radio shows.

His first novel, THE FOREVER SEASON, was published by St. Martin's Press in the fall of 1995 to commercial and critical success. It called heavily on Keith's own athletic and academic experiences. Reviewers praised its unique approach and powerful story. The novel won the Alabama Library Association's "Fiction of the Year" award in 1997, joining works likewise honored from Harper Lee and others, and was re-issued in the fall of 2002 by the University of Alabama Press as part of its prestigious Deep South Books series. His second novel, WIZARD OF THE WIND, was based on Keith's years in broadcasting. As was the first book, the second work was published under the imprint of widely praised New York editor Robert Wyatt as A Wyatt Book for St. Martin's Press. Keith next released a series of young adult/mens' adventure novels co-written with Kent Wright. They are set in NASCAR stock car racing and titled THE ROLLING THUNDER STOCKCAR RACING SERIES. The works were released in paperback by Tor Books, as audiobooks by Durkin-Hayes Publishing, and in hardback by Econo-Clad Books.

Don's next novel, a thriller co-written with former nuclear submarine commander George Wallace, FINAL BEARING, was released by Forge Books of New York City in April 2003 and quickly became a national bestseller and received great reviews. A mass-market paperback edition is also available and a Kindle edition is now available from A sequel to that novel is set for publication in July 2012 (see below).

Keith's first non-fiction work, GALLANT LADY, the true story of a remarkable World War II submarine, the USS Archerfish, was written with the significant help of former Archerfish crewmember Ken Henry. It was published by Forge Books in June 2004. A trade paperback edition was published in 2005 and an audio version was released by Blackstone Audiobooks, voiced by Alan Sklar. The audio book is available at or

Don's next work of military history, IN THE COURSE OF DUTY, was published by the Caliber imprint of Penguin USA. The book deals with another amazing WWII submarine, the USS Batfish, her heroic efforts in the Pacific and the wonderful story of how she came to rest today high and dry in a former bean field in Muskogee, Oklahoma--the middle of the Dust Bowl and the Cherokee Nation.

In 2006, he published FINAL PATROL, another Caliber/Penguin release, which tells the personal, behind-the-scenes stories of each of the 17 WWII submarines that are open to the public around the country as museum ships. Each of the non-fiction submarine books were offered as featured selections of The Military Book Club.

Also in 2006, Cumberland House Press released Don's book of unique vignettes about legendary college football coach "Bear" Bryant titled THE BEAR: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF COACH PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT.

Don's next work was THE ICE DIARIES, the previously untold story of America's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, and her historic Cold War trip to the North Pole in 1958. The book was co-written with Captain William R. Anderson, the skipper of Nautilus on that world-changing, top-secret voyage. The book was submitted for consideration for the Pulitzer Prize.

The next work was another true story of a series of events aboard the World War II submarine USS Billfish. WAR BENEATH THE WAVES reveals the previously untold story of how a young officer took charge of a submarine during a vicious depth-charge attack and, with the help of a couple of chiefs and brave crewmembers, saved the boat. It is an amazing story that took over 60 years to finally tell. It, too, is pubished by Caliber/Penguin and is also available in an audio-book version on

Don's next non-fiction historical work was UNDERSEA WARRIOR, the remarkable story of Commander Dudley "Mush" Morton, a young submarine skipper who literally--and almost single-handedly--changed the course of submarine warfare. And he did it in only ten months as a war-time captain of a submarine.

Don Keith's latest two novels include a sequel to FINAL BEARING, also co-written with former sub skipper George Wallace, and one of the most unusual works of fiction you may ever read. FIRING POINT is another taut thriller in which a submarine crew and a team of Navy SEALs are called upon to rescue the Russian president. A rogue Russian admiral bent on re-uniting the old Soviet Union has kidnapped him and will stop at nothing--even igniting WWIII--to accomplish his goal. The book has been optioned by Relativity Media ("Act of Valor," "The Fighter," "Social Media") and is in pre-production as a major motion picture under the working title HUNTER KILLER. A release is tentatively targeted for 2013. The second novel, THE SPIN, is the inspiring story of one man's desperate act that becomes a much bigger quest...for him and thousands of others.

Don also writes under the pseudonym of Jeffery Addison and has published three heartwarming novellas, co-written with Edie Hand, THE LAST CHRISTMAS RIDE, THE SOLDIER'S RIDE, and THE CHRISTMAS RIDE: MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTS. Each is an inspirational story of life's ride, the rough patches we run into along the way, and how we overcome them with faith, family and friends.

Don lives in Indian Springs Village, Alabama, with his wife, Charlene. He is also a sought-after public speaker, an active "ham" radio operator (call sign N4KC), a member of the Alabama Writers' Forum, and actively supports local and statewide literacy efforts. To encourage others to pursue his favorite hobby, Don recently published the book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES: EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO.

Don's web site is

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I was interested in reading about the capture of U-505 by the US Navy on 4 June 1944.
The author states the following:

'That capture included some real prizes in addition to the U-boat--- two German M4 Enigma code machines and codebooks. Allied intelligence was able to use those to crack the Third Reich's wartime code and begin to listen in on and make sense of top secret German communications.'

Confused? The German Navy 3-rotor Enigma was broken in Dec 1939. Their 4-rotor Enigma [M4] code was broken on the 13th December 1942 at Bletchley Park, UK.

U-Boat captures that were key to helping decipher the German Navy Enigma codes were U-110 (May 1941) and U-559 (Oct 1942).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Fluff piece, lots of errors 6 Jan 2012
By SubCurator - Published on
Format: Paperback
As curator of one of the submarines mentioned in this paperback I was disturbed at the glaring number of errors contained in the text, both for my boat and others I am familiar with. The author did not give us an opportunity to vet the text prior to publication. It would not make my list of the top 50 sub books. It does provides a bit of insight into the diversity of service these proud vessels provided our Nation over 50 years of service and careers that continue today as memorial ships.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great Information at Your Fingertips! 30 Nov 2006
By Mike Miner - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have lots of submarine books, but this one gave me a real kick. You could spend ours on the internet to figure out which subs survive, their history, and where they are today. The author has put all of this at your fingertips, plus put a ton of information for contacts and web sites in the appendix. Each sub has a nice one page summary, also, which is a nice touch. I would like to have seen a few more photographs, although every sub is pictured. This really isn't a big deal, however, as the author provided so many web sites in the book, that he more than takes care of this aspect. Nicely done.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Life Histories of Surviving WW2 Subs! 12 Dec 2006
By Michael OConnor - Published on
Format: Paperback
Though small in number, U.S. submarines accounted for 55% of Japanese shipping losses in World War II. Few WW2-vintage subs survive to memoralize the gallant efforts of those men. The service careers of 16 U.S. and one German submarine who escaped the shipwrecker's torch to become memorials are chronicled in this account by author Don Keith.

The 16 U. S. submarines covered in FINAL PATROL include both distinguished combat vets like 'Silversides,' 'Cavalla' and 'Batfish' and those boats commissioned too late to see combat. The 17th submarine is the German U-505. Keith relates the career of each boat in a workmanlike fashion. He also includes a very useful index describing Naval & Maritime Museums and Memorials and a brief summary of the 52 U. S. submarines lost in the war.

Naval enthusiasts will enjoy this educational and informative book.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great submarine stories from a war that actually had to be fought 20 Oct 2006
By B. M. Howard - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely interesting look at World War II submarines that nearly all made significant contributions to the outcome of the war. Better yet, the subs in this book are still around, converted to museums and open to the public. I've been to a few of the subs listed in this book, but I didn't get the full picture of exactly what they had done in the war until I picked this up. A must for any WWII buff.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Interesting stories of the silent stalkers of WWII 11 May 2008
By Brian Hawkinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I didn't know what to expect from this one. I bought it impulsively when it was on sale, caught by the lure of WWII history and, more importantly, a book about submarines, a subject of which I knew nothing about. At first I was a little taken aback as it was written as though it were a novel in some parts, with the key players in that particular sub as characters in a book, but this is quickly resolved as a literary method to help bring the reader into that sub's stories.

And there are a lot of very interesting stories about the exploits of these silent stalkers. We vividly see how they caught their prey, how they attacked and fled to the depths in order to escape the angry wrath of destroyers and other ships in response to the attack.

Although he goes into some about the subs, I would have liked more of a background on subs themselves, in how they worked and so on. Granted, that wasn't the intention of this book, but it could have helped nonetheless.

Anyway, I think this is a nice solid work that brings the stories of the important subs to life. I particularly liked the story on how the German U-boat was captured. If you are looking for something a bit more deep on the subject, look elsewhere, but this is a great companion to add stories to the lives of American WWII subs and the men who operated them. I would recommend.

4 stars.
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