Little more than 90 years has separated the first military submarine and modern state-of-the-art post-nuclear technology. This book is both a detailed reassessment of the submarine's technical and military history and an insight into the future of the submersible man-of-war.
Dan van der Vat was a journalist (reporting and analysing foreign affairs rather than doorstepping naughty vicars) on the staffs of The Sunday Times, The Times (and, post-Murdoch) finally The Guardian until he received an offer he could not refuse for a complete history of the Pacific War, 1941-45. This was his fifth book out of a total of 15 so far. He became a full-time historian.
Many of the books are concerned with naval history. His first,The Grand Scuttle, was the result of an accident: he went to the Orkney islands to cover a seal cull that was called off after international protests. So he had time to go to a local museum and learn about the scuttling of the Imperial German High Seas Fleet while interned there in 1919. On discovering that nobody had written a proper account of this unparalleled act of military self-destruction, and having recently spent six years as chief correspondent for The Times in Germany, he went back there and researched the story. The book won a first-work award in 1982, has never been out of print since and was the basis of a Channel 4 TV documentary on which he worked.
Most recently he co-authored Eel Pie Island, once central to the development of British popular music, where he lives, and a commentary attached to his late mother's memoir of being an Englishwoman under the Nazi occupation of his native Holland - Kathleen's War.