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Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and her Courageous Crew

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  876 ratings  ·  124 reviews
By October, 1944, the U.S. Navy submarine Tang was legendary-she had sunk more enemy ships, rescued more downed airmen, and pulled off more daring surface attacks than any other Allied submarine in the Pacific. And then, on her fifth patrol, tragedy struck-the Tang was hit by one of her own faulty torpedoes. The survivors of the explosion struggled to stay alive in their s ...more
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published 2008)
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Blind Man's Bluff by Sherry SontagEscape from the Deep by Alex KershawIron Coffins by Herbert A. WernerThe Terrible Hours by Peter MaasHitler's U-Boat War by Clay Blair Jr.
Best Submarine Nonfiction Books
2nd out of 32 books — 35 voters
Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandAn Army at Dawn by Rick AtkinsonBand of Brothers by Stephen E. AmbroseIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik LarsonThe Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
Best World War II history
43rd out of 139 books — 173 voters

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Community Reviews

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My fascination with sea stories started when I read Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember in my early teenage years. All the descriptions of the ship’s weight, the gigantic plates, millions of rivets, and of course the eventual tragedy of the legendary ship left an indelible mark on my teenage mind.

Henceforth, I started reading anything and everything related to ships, which, in time, made me a fan of World War history too.

Then the World Wars introduced me to another spellbinding subject - subsurfa
Unfortunately, my knowledge of the submarine service was limited to watching "Das Boot" and "Run Silent, Run Deep". Alex Kershaw has expanded this considerably by his truly amazing story of incredible courage and tenacity of the captain and crew of the USS Tang, the most decorated submarine in US Navy history.

In mid 1944, the Tang's Captain O'Kane, an "ace" of the submarine service, volunteered to hunt the enemy solo in the Formosa straight off the coast of China, a "target rich" environment of
Scott Taylor
ESCAPE FROM THE DEEP touched my heart. The crew of the USS Tang, a US submarine, conduct a series of successful patrols only to find themselves victims of their own arsenal. What follows is the harrowing story of their escape from a sunk sub, a long wait in the water, and then long-term imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Japanese until their eventual rescue.

I liked this account. Very straightforward, not embellished at all by unrelated information. Razor focused on what happened to th
If there is any doubt as to who is the preeminent World War II author of our time, one needs to read no further than Alex Kershaw's thrilling account of the perilous journey of the nine sailors who survived both the bizarre circumstances of their submarine sinking as well as the horrors of a Japanese POW camp. This is the third Kershaw book I have read in about the past year or so and I continue to be impressed with the pitch-perfect way that he encapsulates the human story of the war. Through e ...more
This book did not disappoint! It was a suspenseful story about a submarine that sunk, and about the crew, and their horrible ordeal during the sinking and afterwards, when they were prisoners of the Japanese. It was a claustrophobic persons nightmare! Actually, it was anybody's nightmare! These legendary men and their legendary submarine, the 'Tang', should never be forgotten!
I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I am glad I read it and recommend it to anyone that likes history.
This is well executed WWII adventure nonfiction. It's the story of the USS Tang, a submarine in the Pacific theater that was one of the most successful American ships of the war. Eventually the ship was sunk (I won't spoil with telling you how, but it was cruelly ironic). Some of the submariners escaped and then had to survive some tough Japanese prison camps until the end of the war.

It's a remarkable story and Kershaw tells it well. The first two-thirds of the book, which cover the Tang's patro
Mar 03, 2011 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Armed forces members, aspiring naval officers
Recommended to David by: randomly selected
Great story, well told, something every American should know something about and be proud of. I learned a lot about some terrifically courageous members of our armed forces in WWII who should continue to be honored and remembered. Three stars means I liked it, which I did. A higher rating would have meant that I felt more than I actually ended up feeling about this book (which I "read" as an audiobook on CDs). When you stop to think about what these guys did, it's just unbelievable, but somehow ...more
War related non-fiction often comes across as bullet-statement staccato and fact-pounding dry. However, that isn't the case with "Escape from the Deep: A Legendary Submarine and her Courageous Crew." Kershaw masterfully blends together meticulously researched data, technical jargon, and chronological facts, with that of heartfelt human elements, trials, and tragedies - so compassionately and seamlessly, I felt as if I'd traveled back in time and was experiencing the harrowing events and struggle ...more
Thanks to this book, my longstanding vague interest in submarines has developed into a fascination with the exploits of the Silent Service in WWII. This survival story is riveting and intense, and will give you a great deal of respect for the indomitable courage displayed by these submarine warriors. Kershaw's style is extremely engaging, and I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future.
Another Kershaw book that sucked me in and put me in the middle of battle and survival.

The book has the feel of a Tom Clancy book but the human component is something that only Kershaw can deliver.

Now.... if I could get my hands on The Longest Winter.... I will be set.
Kevin Witkum
Escape From the Deep by Alex Kershaw is a must read for any fan of World War 2 books. Escape From the Deep is a true story which highlights the crew of the submarine, The USS Tang and its many patrols in Japanese territory. Some of the main characters are Dick O'Kane, who was the captain of the submarine, Clay Decker was the Engineer, Jessie DaSilva was the motor machinist, and Narowanski, who was the Torpedo man.

On its last patrol, it was sunk by its own weapons and the crew is left in the ope
Sean Wylie
An incredible story for anyone who enjoys war history or human perseverance. It follows the story of the men of the USS Tang, the most effective US submarine in WWII. You get to know the men as they carry out what remains today the most successful tour of submarine duty. The unit is believed to have sunk 15 enemy ships using only 24 torpedoes. Sadly it was the 25th torpedo (their last) that malfunctioned and sank the Tang. Amazingly 9 men managed to escape the sinking Tang, only to be captured a ...more
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Donnie Edgemon
I have really taken to Kershaw's work. Steven Ambrose's early death left a void in the popular WWII books based on personal narratives of participants at all levels. "Bedford Boys", "The Longest Winter", and "The Few" are great stories from an author who seemed to be getting his legs under him. "Escape from the Deep" is similar to Kershaw's past work, this time with a story of submarine warfare, a disaster at sea, a dramatic escape from thirty fathoms, and experience of Americans as Japanese POW ...more
After firing the last of its torpedoes and turning around to head to San Francisco after the most successful submarine patrol in US history, the USS Tang is sunk by its own (malfunctioning) torpedo.

Of the 87 crewmen only 9 survived and became the only submariners to survive a sinking during WWII. Several of the men actually swam out of the sub from 180 feet down.The survivors were sent to a Japanese POW camp called "The Torture Farm" (charming). While they were "only" imprisoned for eight month
He has written 2 of my favorite books with The Longest Winter and The Bedford Boys. This wasn't up there compared to those two, but it was better then The Few.

I liked the book and it was realy interesting learning about the submarine exit and the quotes and detail description of everything. The main people involved had a good background for them for the most part. It was a little bare in some areas though. I think the only issue I had was that it was only 217 pages in the hardcover. It just was
Gail Hedlund
Not only having to escape a sunk submarine but a POW Japanese camp? Makes for a very intense story. I can't wait to r read Alex's other book "The Longest Winter". He is a very talented writer.
This is the second book about a WWII submarine I've read. Little did I know that the Tang, which Alex has written so well about is a "sister sub" to the Bat Fish that now resides in Oklahoma. I suggest "In the Course of Duty" by Don Keith is another book about WWII submarines that is well written.
I love to read true stories about people in tight jams trying to get out of them. If you like that too, especially in a Pacific theater/World War II setting, this will satisfy you well. A very successful (read deadly) American submarine, nearing the end of its tour of duty, is sunk by its own circling torpedo. Some of those who survive have access to an escape hatch, but it requires enduring incredible pain because of the water/air pressure. And if you DO make it to the surface, the patrol boats ...more
I listened to this one on my commute and its another winner from Alex Kershaw into the world of WW2. This time he writes about the USS Tang, a highly decorated submarine that terrorized the Japanese before being sunk. Sailors didn't survive when subs sank to the depths of the ocean, that is until the Tang. This is a short, quick-paced history, covering the Tang and its crew, submarine warfare and what happens to the survivors. I might seek out something more detailed about what it was like to fi ...more
Andy Doyle
Escape from the Deep is the story of the USS Tang's last mission during WWII. The Tang is sunk, and for the first time in the history of submarines, some of her crew escape without any assistance from the surface. However, the crew that survives the depth, is picked up by the Japanese.

This is a pretty good submarine book. There is very little technical terminology in this book. It focus's on the Tang, so the overarching battle in the Pacific isn't discussed. However, if you are looking for a bo
T.R. Wallace
Alex Kershaw’s Escape from the Deep is a compelling story of survival, courage and honor of the nine men who survived the sinking of one the most decorated American submarines of WWII the USS Tang. From those who escaped from a depth of 180 feet below the waves only to find themselves battling against the frigid waters of the Formosa Straights, to the brutal treatment they endured at the hands of their Japanese captors who beat and starved them for over a year at the Ofuna POW camp known as "The ...more
The real story was interesting, but it wasn't presented well. The suspense was building up about whether someone was going to survive, but the author decided to quote the sailor as an old man. Also he kept calling ships "boats." The worst thing is at the end of the book, the author said that the hero of the story himself wrote two best selling books about the events.

Robert Melnyk
Another excellent book by Alex Kershaw. I read "The Longest Winter" a few months ago, and I enjoyed this one even more. A gripping story of courage and survival as 9 men from a sunken sub manage to escape from 180 feet below the surface, only to be taken prisoner by the Japanese. Well written and a good read, especially for those who enjoy WWII history.
Don Weidinger
subs sunk most and highest casualty, politician stated depth charge change, raw potato fix leaks, to 600’+, 180’ Formosa Taiwan strait 24 fish class 4 typhoon own torpedo sunk, momsen to breathe 50’ per minute, 9 survived to Japanese vs 87 after sinking 5, Boyington in camp, Tang with O'Kane Medal of Honor and most decorated.
Fredrick Danysh
The USS Tang was one of the most successful American submarines in the Pacific during World War II. One her fifth war patrol the final torpedo in her load malfunctioned, reversing course, and shin king her. Only a few of her crew were picked up and spent the war in a Japanese POW camp. The is the story of that voyage and the resulting internment.
A remarkable account of perhaps America's greatest submarine, her crew and her legendary captain together with an account of the submarine's demise and a harrowing account of the survival of some of her crew. I hesitate to review it lest I give away the story. Just read it!
Jane Thompson
I found this book fascinating, not knowing much about the submarine service. I didn't know how rare it was to escape a sinking sub and how difficult it was. The book was exciting and the story told well. I enjoyed reading it and learning something new about WWII.
Michael Flanagan
I found this book a great and easy read. The author took me right into the action and the drama which was the USS Tangs last patrol. As a WWII submarine enthusiast I found this book ticked all the boxes.
An interesting story, but not super-interestingly told.
Andrew Chmyr
May 01, 2015 Andrew Chmyr rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Andrew by: No one
Shelves: world-war-two
Spent the day at my stepson and daughter in-law so I had all day to read while my wife was busy with her granddaughter so I finished this book today. A very good read but defiantly a heart breaker. Being a military historian I already knew the fate of the Tang and her crew. The pure irony of this famous boat being sunk by one of her own torpedoes and the very last one she had on this patrol almost put me off from reading it. In fact I had passed it by in a local book store several times before b ...more
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Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed best sellers The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, The Few, The Liberator, and Escape from the Deep, as well as biographies of Jack London, Raoul Wallenberg and Robert Capa. His latest book is Avenue of Spies. He lives in Massachusetts.
More about Alex Kershaw...
The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau The Few: The American "Knights of the Air" Who Risked Everything to Fight in the Battle of Britain The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II

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