Bacalao Paperback – 1 Jul 2004
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The detailing of submarine construction, and of the gradual coming "aboard" (at nearby New London Sub Base) of the crew during different periods of construction, and of the shake-down cruises, all are told rather leisurely. There is a great amount of technical detail given to the reader. I found his analysis of the magnetic torpedo problems (failures) to be lucid and to the point. He also gives interesting side-commentaries about the America of that period. But the focus is always upon the character of the novel's individual crew members (primarily the officers and chiefs), and upon the culture of naval professionalism. Either you will squirm with impatience (perhaps boredom) or you will enjoy this "calm before the storm." Indeed it is this careful building of the story that explains the emotional impact of the novel. Since you will have already identified with the characters, the "action" descriptions do not have to be at fever pitch to be effective -- it is simply the story of duty, of heroes, of those "not up to it," of sailors killed and injured, of torpedoes awry, of ever closer depth charges being dropped, of ships torpedoed and breaking apart, of men in the water...and of men fearing they will not be returning to their loved ones. -J. B. Bannister
This is a very credible read about a war that is fading into history for many these days.
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