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on 3 May 1999
This was the first book of this genre that I have ever read and I had trouble putting it down. It has everything- harrowing encounters with Japanese convoys; the incredible bravery of submariners who were nearly doomed in the early part of the war by defective torpedoes and engines; powerfully drawn pictures of men in the direst cirumstances. I was brought to tears as Calvert told of the demise of the US Submarine Harder whose daring exploits had earned her the admiration of every submariner in the Pacific. Calvert very deftly prepares the reader for forthcoming terror as he painted the picture of her crew going out to sea for their final, fateful voyage. As I read this passage I felt a knot in my stomach as my mind visualised those bright-faced, confident warriors waving cheerfully and unkowingly to their admiring comrades. Calvert tells a touching love story in the midst of the of this taut thriller. However, what leaps out of these pages is his steadfast character and unwillingness to take the easy way out. I give credit for Calvert for the simplicity and forthrightness of his prose. He lets the events themselves rivet the reader to each page. In addition to the touching love story, there is the telling account of the skipper who selflessly comes to grips with his inability to take the pressure of commanding a submarine in wartime. There is the tragic death of the chief petty officer who is the very incarnation of the spirit of the Jack. We tend to forget that courage is not necessarily over-arching drama played out by over-sized heroes. More often than not its men who quietly weigh the odds, act on their best instincts, and somehow "stolidly and unimaginatively", as Calvert says,not only accomplish their mission but also survive through an unfathomable mix of skill and chance. Read this book.
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on 6 January 2008
In this book, James Calvert describes his wartime career in USS Jack.It's a no-holds-barred account in which the author freely admits that, at times, he was scared. Perharps this is the true mark of courage,to openly admit one's fear & resolutely carry on. Of it's type it's one of the best I've read,being full of detail with vivid descriptions of the various convoy attacks USS Jack undertook during the war.As Calvert was the TDC operator he tells the story from his viewpoint,giving a valuable insight to the workings of the fire control team during both night surface attacks & periscope attacks. It's in stark contrast to the many first hand accounts written by skippers, but this does not detract from the action. An excellent well written book.
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on 23 October 1997
I thoroughly enjoyed this first hand narrative of the life of Jim Calvert as it happened during WWII on board 2 US Navy submarines (USS Jack, USS Haddo). The story begins in the throws of WWII, as a newly graduated ensign fresh from the Academy and Submarine school is assigned to his first submarine. The story ends just after the Japanese surrender ceremony (with an unexpected 'twist' at the end). The recounting is vivid and detailed, yet fast paced. One aspect that I particulary appreciated was the fine character of this man as revealed in the way he writes about his contemporaries in the Navy. His admiration and respect for the officers and enlisted men he served with, show this to be a man of sensitiviy and integrity.
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on 23 January 1997
I'm an avid reader of WWII naval history, and have read dozens of first-hand accounts of battles and other wartime experiences. This book stands out as perhaps the best I've ever read of this genre, mostly because of in reading this book you get to meet a man who is somebody that you can truly admire, Jim Calvert. As you read this book, you come to realize just how extrodinary this man truly is, and his narrative of his very distinguished wartime exploits are taken to a new level by the very personal revelations that he makes in his book about his falling in love in Australia (at the time he was a married man) and how his strength of character led him to make some important decisions about this situation.

At the finish of Calvert's book, my overwhelming response was that our nation was lucky to have produced such a man - I only wish that in some small way that I could "measure up" in life as young Jim Calvert did when presented with the challanges of the Armageddon at Sea that was WWII and the challanges he faced in his personal life. This book truly transpires the traditional war story and is an insight into the life of a great American.
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on 20 August 1997
My father was part of the commissioning crew of the Jack (SS259) and stayed with her for her first 6 patrols.

The facts relayed by Adm. Calvert coincide 100% with the versions of my father and many of his shipmates who I had the honor of meeting in 1989 at a reunion of the Jack's crew.

For those of us lucky enough to have never heard an enemy depth charge explode nearby, this book is the next best thing to being there.

The final pages that recount Adm. Calvert's "expedition" into Tokyo are absolutely hairraising. I wanted to run outside and wave the American flag in the street I was so proud.

This book does the best possible job of describing the hardships that so many endured to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.

If ever a course is taught called "Patriotism 101", this should be a textbook and Calvert the instructor.

David M. Craig
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on 13 May 1997
The author takes you through his experiences during WWII from the Naval Accademy To VJ day. The events flow from one period to another in an orderly manner. I read this book in three days, not wanting to miss a line. Sometimes reading fast to find out what was happening next. He keeps you in suspense through each chapter and joins each in an orderly transition. As a WWII submarine man, I found the action accurate and reported with sincere modesty. I served with Vice Admiral Calvert in the USS SKATE SSN 578 including two cruises to the North Pole. It was an honor to serve with him and he is a credit to the Navy and the American tradition "get the job done." I would recommend this book to any WWII history buff.
Raymond L. Aten, LT(SC) USN(RET)
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on 18 October 2011
A book that enables the reader to understand the complexity and difficult task of the submerged attack and subsequent survival, by a young officer who was clearly on top of his game. An honest and candid read. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the books about American submariners as they are usually written by ex submariners or relatives of submariners. They have a passionate loyalty to their boat and their cause, and by the quality of their background they bring an intelligent perception and description of their function aboard the US Submarine; and this is one of the best.
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on 4 November 1998
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on 29 June 1998
This book rates right up there with the better submarine books. A very good read. Interesting and exciting.
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on 24 February 1998
I was hoping to get a real feel for what is was like being in an attack sub in WW II. After reading the Navy Seal book titled "Good to Go" I was able to feel the emotion of the experience, but was unable to get that same sense from this book. I think the author really missed the boat (ha ha) in allowing such an exciting story to be told in such a factual manner. I had no trouble putting the book down. I did pick it back up later because I did enjoy the educational factor of the text. All in all this was a very weak book and I do not recommend you waste your time reading this one.
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