The Submarine: A History

Overview

As entertaining as a high-tech thriller, The Submarine is essential reading for understanding the last hundred years of war. It tells the story of the dreamers who first imagined submersible ships and the ingenious and practical engineers who created them; of the visionary national leaders and naval strategists who supported the development of underwater warships and the famous steel- nerved men on all sides who wielded this weapon. The Submarine details the role of subs in both world wars, and how, in the ...

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Overview

As entertaining as a high-tech thriller, The Submarine is essential reading for understanding the last hundred years of war. It tells the story of the dreamers who first imagined submersible ships and the ingenious and practical engineers who created them; of the visionary national leaders and naval strategists who supported the development of underwater warships and the famous steel- nerved men on all sides who wielded this weapon. The Submarine details the role of subs in both world wars, and how, in the nuclear age, they became the most powerful weapons of war ever created-the force that paradoxically kept the peace during the Cold War without firing a single shot.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This history of the "peripatetic coffin" reads as easily as a novel, containing as it does dramatic accounts of accidents, warfare, bravery, invention, and politics. Six parts follow the submarine from its beginnings during the Revolutionary War through two world wars and into the nuclear age. Although Leonardo da Vinci thought of an underwater craft, William Bourne, a 16th-century English mathematician, is the first person to have designed a submarine. David Bushnell produced the first usable sub, the Turtle, in 1775. It failed to sink the H.M.S. Eagle, the flagship of Vice Admiral Lord Howe, which was blockading New York in 1776. In 1799 Robert Fulton solved a few problems, designing a 24.5 feet-long cigar-shaped craft that had a periscope and a compressed air tank. During the American Civil War the C.S.S. Hunley attacked and sank the Housatonic off Charleston. In 1870 Jules Verne "invented" one of the greatest submarines ever, the Nautilus, in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. During the 1860s the submarine became a more efficient killing machine with the development of an effective torpedo. American John Holland made a leap forward by moving from steam to a gasoline engine during the late 1890s. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt gave the submarine positive publicity by taking a two-hour plunge off Long Island. The submarine's role in the world wars is well known, as is the inauguration of the nuclear sub. The development during the 1960s of a new class of submarine that could fire the Polaris ballistic missile intensified the Cold War but kept the peace. The book ends with the tragic sinking of the Kursk on August 12, 2000.Stories of personal bravery and tragedy make this history more than a dry recital of facts. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Penguin, 576p. illus. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Janet Julian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143035190
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Parrish is the author of a number of highly respected books on twentieth- century history and is the creator and editor of the acclaimed Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II and the six-volume Men and Battle series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    The Substance of Things Hoped For: Understanding The History of the Forest, Not One Tree

    Thomas Parrish provides a reference for one seeking to grasp why the submarine brought as enormous a fear to mariners during WWI and WWII as did the fear of bombing from airplanes for civilians and military on land. The material exhibits the possible truncation of an editorial hand when more information is desired, yet to have not kept the overview of material in focus would have led to a loss of the continuity Parrish brings to this story of a weapon--combined with the nuclear missle capable of being fired from beneath the ocean surface near any land mass--as much responsible for the end of the Cold War as on ground events. This is a volume for the general reader as well as an important coalesence of stories on these boats and their people. And, if not for the submarine rescue of one George H. W. Bush, we would not have known one of this century's warrior/hero Presidents.

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