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War Beneath the Waves: A True Story of Courage and Leadership Aboard a World War II Submarine MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged


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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (6 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400164664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400164660
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,699,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For a complete bio and a list of Don's books, visit www.donkeith.com.

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 Amazon.com. 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 Amazon.com or Audible.com.

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 Audible.com.

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 www.donkeith.com.


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Perks on 29 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 35 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Failure of command 27 April 2010
By wogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There are 3 subjects in `War Beneath the Waves'. The first is the submarine `Billfish' and especially the 15 hour depth-charge that it endured, where the commanding officer was paralyzed with fear and the exec was unable to take charge. Charlie Rush took over and led the sub to safety.
The 2nd subject is the 60 year wait for the men who saved the ship to be recognized as the heroes they were, and receive some of the Navy's highest decorations.
The 3rd subject is life in a sub. If you have never been in the claustrophobic conditions that these vessels contain, you can and will appreciate how much these men endure.
These 3 stories are combined in a simple enough manner that anyone reading can understand the workings of the submarine, the engines, torpedoes, the problems of fumes, smells, food and water. There are horrendous examples of "loose lips", even a Congressman telling the newspapers how Japanese depth charges were not working. There is one of the best prologues with descriptions of men under depth charges and the results.

The caution of the author to not judge harshly for those of us sitting safe and secure is well taken; but the story will haunt those that know and respect military traditions and its' working discipline. The conditions of submarine warfare and life will haunt the reader too. This is a book that has served its' purpose to describe the men's heroism and the submarine service.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Desperately Needs an Editor with a Submarine Background! 2 Oct. 2010
By Glenn L. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review is from a submariner with 29 years of naval service.

The story of the events that led up to and including the afternoon of November 11th, 1943 are the focus of this story. It is a story long overdue in the complete telling. Author Don Keith came to this task with a fair reputation of authorship of books on submarine warfare (Final Bearing, Gallant Lady, Final Patrol), however, here he presents a flawed book. The essentials of the book may well be true, but there are so many mistakes that the credibility of the whole must be drawn into question. Some examples include the following:
* Page 27, quoting: "Destroyers, depending on their vintage and class, were about 350 feet in length, could travel very fast - 35 to 38 knots (65 to 70 miles per hour)"...any seaman knows that 35 knots is 40.3 mph.
* In another place author Keith states that a Japanese destroyer could not catch a surfaced submarine because the destroyer's top speed was 20 knots. Almost all Japanese destroyers could easily top 35 knots. It is true that some patrol boats (equivalent to USN sub chasers) may not have been able to exceed 20 knots, but a destroyer certainly could.
* On page 72 he says: "Admiral Ralph Christie, the Pacific fleet submarine commander, was a torpedo expert,"...the highest WWII submarine post held by Christie was Commander Submarines, Southwest Pacific. He was never the commander of Submarines, Pacific Fleet.
* He refers to a "peer review" of chief petty officer candidates by senior and master chiefs before there were SCPOs and MCPOs.
* He has a LT calling an enlisted man "Mister so and so." At this time in the Navy, enlisted men below chief petty officer were always referred to by their last name, especially by officers. Officers below commander were called "Mister so and so."
* The author unnecessarily (in my opinion) repeats in great detail the description of how a submarine battery operates.
* Helm orders are given incorrectly ("helm 45 degrees starboard"). Diesel submarine rudders are hard over at 35 degrees, and orders are normally given as "right hard rudder, right full rudder, or right 20 degrees rudder."

In summary, this is an important story that deserved telling. While the book is generally well-written, the editing was very poor. The mistakes above should have (would have been) found by a review by almost any submariner. The mistakes detract significantly from an otherwise good read.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
An uneven, disjointed telling of a sea story 14 April 2010
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book tells of the tale of a particularly heavy depth charging of the submarine BILLFISH. The problem is that the author had few sources to call upon so the main action of the book is dispatched in a single chapter and the remainder of the book is filled with a rehash of other sub stories from the Pacific War that are likely to be familiar to any reader of the genre. It also seems an editor had moved some information about life on the boats from one chapter to another but neglected to go back and remove from the original location. This means you are twice forced to trudge through descriptions of the showers being used as potato lockers, food being stored underfoot on the deck plates, and the limited fresh water aboard. The author also passes some pretty harsh judgement on several officers who are no longer around to defend themselves. He doesn't provide much support or citation to defend his condemnations to my satisfaction - it seems he relied primarily on the accounts of just two individuals. His judgement may be correct but the tone in which he writes about it 65+ years after the fact was off-putting to me. Finally, there are a few technical errors in the book (describing the THRESHER's 5"/51-caliber deck gun as a ".51-caliber" like it was a small arm comes to mind) that tend to distract from the story. If you find yourself stuck on a plane and starving for a sub book (like I did today) then it isn't a bad read but there are certainly other books that capture the drama and struggles of the silent service's war beneath the waves better than this selection.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An Exciting Story of Heroism and Courage 15 July 2010
By Jeffrey T. Munson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In November, 1943, the American submarine USS Billfish was patrolling in Japanese waters off the Makassar Strait. A Japanese task force spotted the submarine and unleashed a vicious depth charge attack that lasted for several hours. Many of the crew, including the skipper (Lt. Commander Frederic Lucas) and the Executive Officer were either incapacitated or failed to act. One man, Charlie Rush, took the enormous risk of taking command of the submarine from the captain. This daring act was almost sure to invoke a court-martial but Rush, seeing the inability of his skipper to effectively command the submarine, felt he had no other choice.

Damaged and leaking water from the bombardment by the Japanese patrol boats, the Billfish was in danger of being forced to surface or worse, sinking. To make things worse, dangerous gases were being released by the sub's batteries, fouling the already depleted supply of fresh air. If the Billfish was not able to shake her attackers soon, the men would soon die of oxygen deprivation.

Aided by two other crewmen, Chief Electrician's Mate John D. Rendernick and Chief Charley Odom, Rush managed to finally shake the Japanese boats and bring the Billfish to safety. If not for Rush's fatal decision to overrule his skipper, the Billfish most likely would have been sunk.

This was not the end of Lt. Cmdr Lucas' inability to command. Shortly after surviving the incident in the Makassar Strait, the Billfish, in conjunction with the USS Bowfin, was to search out enemy shipping. Once again, Lucas' failure to act cost the crew of the Billfish. The Bowfin managed to sink several ships of a Japanese convoy, while the Billfish turned and ran. Rush, once again outraged at his commander, openly questioned his fighting ability. The skipper replied that he was in no frame of mind to command a submarine and promised to resign. Luckily for the men of the Billfish, Charlie Rush was on board.

This book does a good job of describing the events that unfolded on the Billfish during those days in the fall of 1943. Charley Rush showed incredible courage by taking command from his timid skipper. Thanks to Rush's quick actions, the men of the Billfish survived.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about submarine warfare. Although not discussed very much, this book points out that sometimes, even commanders of warships can "lose it" during battle. Luckily, there are men like Charlie Rush who are not afraid of the potential consequences of their actions. Very good reading.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
subpar effort by author 25 July 2011
By USMC Sniper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I believe this story had to be told but the book has many problems which interrupts the story. Here are a few problems. The author tells the reader that 35 knots of speed is 65 MPH instead of about 40 MPH. Then he described the submarines 5" deck gun (page 68) as a .51 caliber gun. A 5" gun shoots a round approximately 5" in diameter not the 1/2 inch of a 51 caliber bullet. Another point is the USN did not have a .51 caliber gun but did have a 50 caliber machine gun called the MaDuece but that is far from a 5" gun. The author refers to the Medal of Honor as the Congressional MOH. There is no such medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor something a grade school boy would know. He repeated the relationship between the diesel engine power and the battery power about three times or until you were sick of reading it. At one point the author describes the submarine's patrol area was only 50 square miles yet the sub was assigned to the South China Sea and the story tells of traveling hundreds of miles. So which is it? Fifty square miles or the various bodies of water around the south China Sea? He also repeatedly wrote that young sailors with good eyesight were picked as lookouts. I lost track of how many times he repeated that when the sub made an emergency dive the slower lookouts could be left above deck which could result in their death by drowning. On page 126 he states that periscope depth on the USS Billfish was 60' and one paragraph later says it is 65'. I realized the technical errors are probably minor but they are distracting to the reader. This was my first book by this author and it will be my last.
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