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Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II [Paperback]

Eugene B. Fluckey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 1997
The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships - she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of you-are-there moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, Luckey Fluckey relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video-game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship untilit sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II + The Bravest Man: Richard O'Kane and the Amazing Submarine Adventures of the USS Tang
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The USS Barb was the Navy's most successful submarine in WW II. Operating mainly in the South China Sea, the Formosa Strait and the forever mysterious Sea of Okhotsk, the Barb sank at least 29 Japanese ships and climaxed its final patrol with an audacious commando raid on land during which the crew destroyed a 16-car train. This was the sole U.S. military landing on Japanese soil during the war. Drawing on ship's logs, letters, interviews, diaries and his own memory, Fluckey, a retired rear admiral, reconstructs every attack by and against the sub from its eighth through its 12th and last patrol. This was the 15-month period when he served as the Barb's skipper, winning the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses for his daring exploits. Fluckey is a fine writer with a lively, colorful style. His book is packed with action and suspense and is rich in details about the day-today operation of a submarine in combat. Photos. Military Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Medal of Honor holder Fluckey relates the story of his wartime command, U.S. submarine Barb , in a well-told and -researched narrative of undersea resourcefulness and courage. Barb set an unparalleled record of exploits in the naval war against Japan, and Fluckey has used both U.S. and Japanese naval records to re-create the vessel's story. The quality of his writing is far above the usual wartime memoir. This title will appeal to readers of both military history and Tom Clancy-style technothrillers. Highly recommended for World War II collections. Military Bk. Club main selection.-- Stanley Planton, Ohio Univ.
Chillicothe Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"Barb Ho-o-o-o!" The call echoed from the bridge of the submarine and dissipated, smothered in the icy fog. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
If you read but one WWII submarine memoir, be it this one. Far from a dispassionate account of the exploits of a successful submarine skipper, with Thunder Below, you are there. I've read many a book about submarines; but Fluckey's lively and coherent style makes it much easier to understand life aboard a WWII sub. Most other books, O'Kane's for example, I'd recommend for students of history or submarine warfare. Not this one. Anyone who likes a good tale, be it fiction or non-fiction, could like this one. And it's not just his account he presents either; it's also richly filled with accounts from the Japanese, other American subs, and an illegal diary kept by one of his crewman. So a balanced, all around perspective is given that is lacking in other memoirs. Fluckey's presentation of an American wolf pack attack that decimated a Japanese convoy unknowingly filled with Allied POW's (and some of their subsequent rescue) is one of the most moving stories I've ever read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars True action and adventure May 21 2001
Format:Paperback
"Thunder Below" is a true tale of action, adventure, heroism,loyalty, and devotion to duty. Admiral Fluckey recounts not only the edge-of-your-seat moments of battle, but the genuine admiration between officers and crew of the Barb. His loyalty to the crew of Barb is exemplified by his attempt to trade his Congressional Medal of Honor for a lower award for himself and more honors for the crew. That so many volunteered for duty aboard Barb, is a testament to the skill of the officers and men, and their belief in each other's abilities. This is an interesting look at life aboard a Gato class submarine in the latter two years of the war. It is filled with pictures, and each war patrol is prefaced with a map of the area patrolled, with locations of enemy shipping sunk, or other combat initiated. This is a great addition to any library, and is a great study of submarine warfare in particular. Bravo Zulu, Admiral Fluckey! SPLICE THE MAIN BRACE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Fluckey does it again Aug. 27 2001
Format:Paperback
Thunder Below is the personal account of Commander (later Rear Admiral) Eugene Fluckey's adventures as skipper of the legendary WWII submarine, USS Barb. This is a wonderful book that reads more like a thriller than a naval history. I was hard pressed to put it down and only wish it could have gone on another 445 pages. Along with Admiral Fluckey's engaging prose, the book is full of photos of the Barb and her crewmembers, as well as charts of her various patrols and engagements. Fluckey's good humor and enthusiasm permeate every page, all the more remarkable when one considers he was well into his seventies when he wrote it...and the old fellow is still alive and kicking! I've learned that Thunder Below has been optioned by Hollywood. This is unquestionably the kind of book that can make the transition to the silver screen. Hope it's done soon, for the sake of Admiral Fluckey, the remaining Barbarians, and all the men of the silent service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Fluckey does it again Aug. 27 2001
Format:Paperback
Thunder Below is the personal account of Commander (later Rear Admiral) Eugene Fluckey's adventures as skipper of the legendary WWII submarine, USS Barb. This is a wonderful book that reads more like a thriller than a naval history. I was hard pressed to put it down and only wish it could have gone on another 445 pages. As well as Admiral Fluckey's engaging prose, the book is full of photos of the Barb and her crewmembers, as well as charts of her various patrols and engagements. Fluckey's good humor and enthusiasm permeate every page, all the more remarkable when one considers he was well into his seventies when he wrote it...and the old fellow is still kickin'! I've learned that Thunder Below has been optioned by Stephen Spielberg. This is unquestionably the kind of book that can make the transition to the silver screen. Hope it's done soon, for the sake of Admiral Fluckey, the remaining Barbarians and all the men of the silent service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE! Feb. 6 2004
Format:Paperback
Written by the Barb's skipper, Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, recounting the Barb's 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th War Patrols. From the beggining to the end Fluckey's writing style grips you. This was the first Submarine novel that I have read and after reading his book I feel like I could talk the talk, but only Fluckey could walk the walk. His tactics were well thought and he wasn't afraid of testing new technologies, which is what the 12th (his Graduation) Patrol was all about. He added some great maps at the beginning of each chapter that give the reader a picture of where he is and where he sinks ships. The appendixes have great bare facts about the Patrols, the Barb's crew and a copy of the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC). You won't be sorry for buying this book; after you read it I think you would agree, the story of the Barb, her skipper and her couragious crew NEEDS to be made into a movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book May 10 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have just completed reading "Thunder Below" and "Clear the Bridge" back to back and being an ex-submariner the contrasts between the two commanding officers is remarkable. I couldn't put Thunder Below down until it was finished. Adm. Fluckey was a commanding officer every sailor dreams of serving under. I just missed serving under him when he was COMSUBPAC in 1966. The combination of the patrol reports and the illegal diary along with remembered conversations puts the reader in the middle of the action. The exploits of the Barb and her crew contains the ingredients of a great movie, and I understand Steven Spielberg has purchased the rights. This review is more of a salute to the Barb and her crew than a book review, and Adm. Fluckeys writing style is to be creditied. Thanks Admiral for a great book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome everytime I read it!
This is my favorite military history book! And the only submarine book that I can read from cover to cover. I've tried others but they just don't seem as captivating. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars No Better
As a fan of Dick O'Kane and submariner novels of all historical periods I have not read a tale as enjoyable as this one, a definite top pick on my shelf.
Published on Sept. 9 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Flucky!
As a NROTC midshipman, I confess to a certain bias. This book was a great read. Full of adventure, excitement, and good old-fashion story-telling, Adm. Read more
Published on May 28 2003 by Darby Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars As Advertised
I bought this book from Amazon after reading the reviews here -- a big thank you to all you reviewers! Adm. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2002 by Datsmeharse
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a case of beer out of the shower........
This is the best first person account of submarine operations in the Pacific I have read to date. Adm. Read more
Published on March 23 2002 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story from a great man
From the Medal of Honor winning author, comes a tale of great heroics. The Barb was the most succesful WWII sub. Read more
Published on March 5 2002 by C. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Take her deep !
A great read. Historically accurate coupled with a brave and personal insight into one of the finest ships in WWII. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2001 by Mr T L Applegarth
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
Captain Gene Fluckey tells us of his exploits in command of the USS Barb. It is a very good read and really shows the good and the hard sides of being a WWII submariner. Read more
Published on July 12 2001 by Alexf
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever on WWII submarine operations
With respect to the other great submarine commanders, this book is the best written of all. Action packed yet has a real feel for the human drama of war. Read more
Published on May 29 2001 by Bradley J. Lucas
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