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Thunder Below!

The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II
Written by: Eugene B. Fluckey
Narrated by: Corey Snow
Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: History, Military
5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 until it sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.

©1992 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (P)2013 Tantor

What the critics say

"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." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Thunder Below!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book. Detailed but great story.

Much more than a memoir, very detailed book but compelling story, well read, very interesting. i just finished and want to read it again after researching some of the events described.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Boone
  • 2013-09-28

Action, Excitement, & History. A great read!

Great read!! Fluckey did a great job putting you right in the action. Those who were there are the best at this. The book doesn't just tell you what happened, it lets you experince it first hand. You also get to know the men on the boat. I feel like I have a bunch of new friends. This book would be great for anyone interest in action, excitement, and history.

The production of the Audible portion was one of the best I have ever heard. The reader even pronounces the word " submariner" correctly. If you have ever spoken to an old submarine man he will be quick to tell you it's "submarine-er" not "sub-mariner."

This one of several titles that have needed to be on Audible for a long time. If everybody buys this title then maybe Audible will add other tiltes like: Richard Kane's "Wahoo" and "Clear the Bridge," and Edward L. Beech's, "Run Silent Run Deep," "Dust on the Sea," "Cold as the Sea," and "Submarine."

I want more!

21 people found this helpful

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  • Jean
  • 2014-12-15

Riveting

This is a great story; it is one of those books that grab your attention immediately. Eugene B. Fluckey and the USS Bark sank 140,000 tons of Japanese shipping from April 1944 to the end of the War.

Admiral Fluckey takes his own memories and weaves it together with a crewman’s illegal diary, reports, letters, ship logs, and interviews as well as archival documents from the Japanese Navy to provide a detailed account of the U.S.S. Barb’s eight through twelfth War patrols. Apparently Fluckey was a brilliant, courageous, fair Captain most concerned about bringing his men home safe. Not a man was wounded onboard Barb while he was the Captain.

“Lucky Fluckey” pioneered new submarine tactics that are still used today. The high point in the book is a night surface attack through miles of shoal water to attack two Japanese convoys in a harbor in China. Fluckey won the Medal of Honor and the Barb was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Fluckey won the Navy Cross four times, the Navy Distinguish Service medal with one gold star and many more medals. Eugene B Fluckey was a 1935 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. In 1989 the Navy honored him by naming the Nuclear Submarine Combat System Training Center after him. The only building named for a living person.

The narration is clear, concise and vivid. Admiral Fluckey is a good writer and the story is not just about him but all the crew of the Barb. The book is well researched. The hardcover book also has lots of photographs. The book is an excellent study of sub warfare tactics and naval leadership. If you are looking for an excellent book about submarines in World War II this is a book for you. I read somewhere that Steven Spielberg has purchased the movie rights to the story. Corey Snow narrated the book. Corey Snow does an excellent job narrating the book.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Rex
  • 2014-01-18

Wow! There were brave men in WWII

Would you listen to Thunder Below! again? Why?

Yes. I enjoy military history. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was stunned at the bravery of the men that went out in submarines

What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

The Bravest Man - another submariner's tale, Neptune's Inferno on the naval battles around Guadalcanal and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors of the heroic stand by destroyers against battleships in Leyte Gulf

Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I think the title sums it up: Thunder Below!

Any additional comments?

An above average tale well told

8 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2017-09-23

sub war interesting complex and yet clear and easy

Excellent yarn. clear and we'll written. good read. Well paced. I recommend. seems we'll researched.

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  • Jeff
  • 2017-09-08

What a great story!

One of the best accounts of World War II submarine action by one of the all-time great sub Commanders in US history. I highly recommend this audiobook for anybody who finds Naval History interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 2017-03-23

Packed with detailed submarine drama

I enjoyed this slice of WWII action. I don't know anything about submarine strategy and lore, but this book drew me in big time. You can tell that Gene Fluckey is not a professional writer. given his love of Micky Spillane-like adjectives, but a good read regardless.

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  • Robert Burns
  • 2017-02-08

Exciting story of tactical operations in Pacific

Authentic first person story of command under fire and split second life and death decisions.
Readers with some knowledge of the Pacific in WW2 will enjoy the book more than those without.
It has a fast pace and I often sat in the car waiting for a vignette to end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael Evans-Layng
  • 2017-01-18

Great Book on Leadership

I enjoyed this book immensely not only as a well-told and factual account of five of the USS Barb's war patrols but especially as a profound look into how strong, humane leadership works--and works well. I would recommend this to anyone in a leadership role in any organization or business. Thanks Admiral Fluckey!

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  • Neal Metheny
  • 2016-09-17

Superb! Both the book and the narrator.

The story off the USA Barb brings submarine warfare and submarine tactics to life, as well as the lives involved. As always, Corey Snow makes it hard to stop listening till the end is reached. A must read/listen for any arm chair submariner.

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  • Brent fish
  • 2016-03-30

Interested in ww2 history? This book is for you.

Admiral Fluckey grants you passage to see through his eyes, ears, and thoughts as he commands, and lives through the most epic submarine patrols of all time.

He is as amazing an author as he is Captain if his beloved "Barb".

I enjoyed every single moment.

1 person found this helpful