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Big Red: Three Months On Board a Trident Nuclear Submarine
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Big Red: Three Months On Board a Trident Nuclear Submarine

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The Trident nuclear submarine is the most complex war machine the United States Navy has ever produced, a $1.8 billion marvel crammed with more modern military technology than any other vessel in the world. It is an 18,750-ton steel monster, taller in length than the Washington Monument and wider than a three-lane highway at its center. Deep beneath the ocean, it can sail ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 6th 2001 by HarperCollins
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Jun 27, 2009 Jacqui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
Big Red by Douglas Waller is one of the best books available on American nuclear submarines. There are a few others, all wonderful reading:

* Blind Man's Bluff by Sherry Sontag
* Red Star Rogue by Kenneth Sewell (creative nonfiction)
* HMS Unseen by Patrick Robinson (fiction)
* Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy (fiction)
* SSN by Tom Clancy

I'm sure there are more and would love if you'd add them to the comments section below. I've read all of the above because I'm including a nuclear sub in my
Jan 31, 2009 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Waller describes the culture of the post-Tailhook navy, viewed by old-timers as obscenely PC, but accepted as more appropriate by more recent pilots, but everyone on red alert against any hint of sexual harassment. Clearly though, the Navy is better for having done away with the stupid inanities of Tailhook activity.
Submariners weren’t part of the sexual childishness that had become an aviator’s ritual, but discussions continue about the role of women on submarines. Several men Waller intervie
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
I really respect the author for putting the time and effort into such and informative book. Big Red is a very detailed account of life on a Trident submarine that should answer most; if not all questions an interested reader may have about the day-to-day grind as a submariner. Personally, I was interested in the nuclear capabilities of the mighty Trident. Specifically, can the big nukes be fired from underwater? How long does it take to spin up a missile and launch them? How many men does it tak ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Ilya rated it liked it
Shelves: nuclear-weapons
The Ohio class ballistic missile submarine is one of the most complex mechanisms produced by humanity, manned and serviced by 140 enlisted men and 15 officers. It carries 24 Trident ballistic missiles with multiple half-megaton warheads, which are capable of transforming a large part of Russia into a radioactive wasteland. The author spent one patrol, a little under three months, on board one in 1999, and wrote a book about the submarine and the men on board. Should the launch order come, they m ...more
• Tom •
Feb 07, 2012 • Tom • rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting, but dry. A friend of mine was working on the sub at the time and is mentioned in the book, but not by name.

If you're expecting another Hunt for Red October, this isn't it. It's about life on board a submarine. It's about practicing your job until you can do it in your sleep, and then practicing some more. How fifty (?) men must get along with each other in a small area for 3 months at a time.

I give it only 2 stars because I did find it dry. I liked the subject matter, but I think i
Jan 13, 2016 William rated it it was amazing
Fantastic Book about life aboard a Trident submarine in the US Navy. This topic is very interesting because of the long history of submarines and their still relevant role in the national defence to the USA and other nations. The author writes extremely well and its almost as if you're on the sub with all the crew.
Sep 12, 2015 Brendan rated it did not like it
I did not like this book at all it was all about the crew and very little about the actual submarine. You go through multiple chapters just until the submarine gets into the ocean. Every few pages, it's another tale about one of the crews wives, family life, school,or navy career.
Feb 25, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
I have always had an interest in how people shape a culture and live in extreme conditions, whether it be in nature or man-made conditions. I remember hearing stories of the Trident subs during my time in the military and after, but it was always folks talking about 'things they had heard'. Like, how long the sub crews are out on patrol and how long these crews go without ever seeing the sun. No one seemed to know much more than this and even that was hearsay. This book was eye-opening and fasci ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, sea
This one didn't grab me. Granted, Waller was faced with a major challenge in writing about a modern submarine -- there's no active conflict to add drama, we're no longer in the tension of the Cold War, any details of the mission are completely classified, and we don't have the benefit of hindsight to place any of it in a larger context yet. That lack of drive comes across in the story itself, with several points reflecting on how necessary (or possibly not necessary?) a Trident submarine is in t ...more
May 11, 2010 Claire rated it liked it
Recommends it for: navy folk and their spouses, current event buffs, war buffs
Shelves: biography-memoir
It was an interesting book, but sadly I think it fits the stereotype of non-fiction we develop as children: it is lacking in drama and in truth probably a bit tedious if one was not already inclined to appreciate it. I'm not sure it would be possible to salvage a book on this subject from being interesting only to a specific group of people. I mean, it's a book about a boomer... what kind of excitement can you really expect? (But any real excitement on a boomer would mean end of the world as we ...more
Mike Prochot
Jun 09, 2011 Mike Prochot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ships-and-sea
Interesting and informative read which gives a decent account of life aboard a Trident nuclear sub.

Moving from person to person across various rank and departments aboard ship, Waller gives you a glimpse into the duties, drills, responsibilities, training and mindset of the seamen who provide our nuclear deterrent. Individual personal stories bring you into the family of the crew and provide an opportunity to wonder why they do it even while they attempt to manage normal shore bound lives.

Feb 12, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it
A thorough and welltold account of the ship, crew and an patrol during 1999 (pre-9-11 and post Cold War). The reader gets an unprecedented detailed insight into the selection, personalities and training of the crew. Furthermore the describtion of warfare drills including of course the procedures safeguards around the nuclear tpped Trident missiles is very interesting.. and provides a reminder that these subs and tehir counterparts contnue to be out there lurking in the oceans.
Dec 05, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it
More submarine books for me, yes please! This book gives a great behind the scenes look at what happens on board a US Nuclear Submarine, the USS Nebraska. We get insights from everyone on board from the Captain of the Boat all the way down to the cooks. A good read if you are interested in submarines or the US Navy.
Doc R.
Aug 17, 2013 Doc R. rated it it was amazing
i was aboard Big Red during this time. this is the one book that pulls no punches. life as it really happens. the school is one of the hardest the navy has to offer.
life on the boats is not for everyone. long hard hours and nowhere to go to get away from anything. you know eveything about your shipmates and then some.
May 29, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sea-stories, war
A very comprehensive book about life on a nuclear sub. Very detailed about technical aspects, and about the attitudes, likes and dislikes of the crew. A tour on a nuclear sub would be hard -- definitely not something for everybody.
Apr 17, 2009 Davis rated it really liked it
More interesting than you think. You also gain a respect for practice drills.
Mar 03, 2010 Camille rated it really liked it
I read this while my husband was stationed aboard the USS Wyoming (also a boomer) and it was a very accurate portrayl. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Oct 26, 2012 Vickie rated it really liked it
Well written. Having a personal interest in Submariners and this boat it was exciting for me to read.
Chris Baucom
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May 29, 2015
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Dec 14, 2009
Erik rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2016
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Dec 18, 2007
David rated it it was amazing
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Rian Lubbe rated it really liked it
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