Terrible Hours, The Unabridged Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Mar 23 2000
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Like a tough old salt holding forth in a dockside pub, Kevin Conway narrates this riveting maritime drama in a raspy voice well-weathered by sea spray and Lucky Strikes. Chronicling the true story of 33 American sailors trapped aboard a sunken submarine just prior to World War II, author Peter Maas uncovered the unsung hero behind their attempted rescue, Navy officer Charles "Swede" Momsen. A deep sea visionary, Momsen's unorthodox theories and unproven inventions represented the lost men's only hope. "For someone whose formal education had shaped him for duty as a line officer in the US Navy, Momsen was getting into pretty deep water." Conway does an excellent job of portraying the various crew members without turning character into caricature and knots the nerve-wracking, claustrophobic tension of this ill-fated mission in the back of your throat. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an alternate Audio Cassette edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Maas, best known for his chronicling of the urban underworld (Underboss, Serpico, etc.), takes readers underwater for a thrilling account of the world's first rescue of a submarine. Before WWII, submariners were second-class citizens. Worse, until Charles "Swede" Momsen came along, it was standard procedure to treat downed subs as irretrievable. Fortunately for 33 men aboard the Squalus, Momsen had developed and tested pioneering rescue equipment (often at the risk of his own life) and was ready with his crew when the sub sank to a depth of 243 feet off Portsmouth, N.H., on May 23, 1939. While the captain of the Squalus kept the air slightly toxic so that his crew stayed drowsy and therefore docile, Momsen lowered his huge pear-shaped diving bell until it made contact with the sub's deck, then began to bring the men up in groups. Bad weather threatened, and then, on the last ascent, the cable tangled, and the final group of men had to be lowered to the ocean floor again and there await repairs. To the amazement of the surface crew, who had telephone contact with the occupants of the bell, they maintained morale by singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Unfortunately, 26 men had been drowned in the first few minutes of the sinking, and their bodies were not retrieved until the Squalus was recovered 113 days after the mishap. Maas anchors the gripping story in Momsen, whom he portrays as a larger-than-life hero, a brainy, brave iconoclast of the kind one associates with action movies. It's a white-knuckler of a readAbut it's not for the claustrophobic. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Since this is quite an important event, it did deserve more research, detail, and footnoting. Nonetheless, this is an enlightening read for anyone interested in naval history. The Terrible Hours: The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History
The rest of it concerns Momsen's determination to insure that the tragedies of the S-4 and the S-51, lost with all hands in peacetime accidents with their crews unable to escape from their sunken boats, would not be repeated if he could help it. Helium-oxygen diving gas, rescue chambers, the first self-contained underwater breathers using heli-ox, the first attempts to provide submariners with emergency rescue breathers, all are products of Momsen's fertile mind and driving personality. His impact on the Navy is still felt today, including in modern submarine design. In his own way, Swede Momsen's influence on submarines is as important as that of Mush Morton, the wartime sub skipper sans peur.
I can recommend this book unreservedly to anyone interested in submarines, ocean salvage, deep-sea diving, or page-turning sea stories. It's worth the reader's time to learn of this unsung American hero and his work.
Most recent customer reviews
This story illustrates the benefit of those visionary, courageous individuals who put their ideas into action and make the world a better place. Read morePublished on April 18 2004 by George H. Garfield
After the loss of the Kurst a few years ago, there was an occasional mention of Lt Swede Momsen and all this very rare individual brought to the US Navy. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2004 by H. Lee Dixon
I like the way that Peter Maas wrote the book cause you feel like you're in it by all the details in the book. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2003 by Scott Allen
This book by Peter Maas is a good book. It is the true story of the USS Squalas. I think Peter Maas really went in to the true details of the story. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2003
I found this book so interesting I didn't want to put it down. The story was amazing with attention paid to the suspense, the drama, the tragedy and the personal tales of the... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2002 by Jor Molchan
The story is great, but the narrator of the unabridged audio is not. His misplaced emphasis and intonation are very distracting -- instead of listening to the story, I keep... Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2002 by brubar
A Separate Peace is an amazing book, which explores the innermost thoughts of mankind. There is rarely a dull moment in the book. Read morePublished on May 29 2002 by libby
This book tells two parallel stories that merge together through out the book. The author is detailing the sinking of the USN submarine Squalus in 1939, and the career of Swede... Read morePublished on April 23 2002 by John G. Hilliard
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