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Escape from the Deep: A Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,080 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
In the early morning hours of October 24, 1944, the legendary U.S. Navy submarine Tang was hit by one of its own faulty torpedoes. The survivors of the explosion struggled to stay alive one hundred-eighty feet beneath the surface, while the Japanese dropped deadly depth charges. As the air ran out, some of the crew made a daring ascent through the escape hatch. In the end, ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published April 28th 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published 2008)
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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
Aug 20, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2011 Scott Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 15, 2014 Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2013 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Eppenstein
I do not know how to review this book. To say anything even remotely critical would feel like I was insulting the memories of men that suffered and sacrificed so much. The book is a very accurately detailed telling of the final mission of WWII's most decorated submarine, the USS Tang. I read "Unbroken" about a year or so ago and that book moved me greatly. That book was about the experience of one man while this book is really about an entire crew and ultimately the 9 survivors of that crew. In ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
T.R. Wallace
Nov 11, 2014 T.R. Wallace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 07, 2015 Russ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Amazing story well told.
Oct 15, 2012 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 04, 2013 Kelby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Andrew Chmyr
May 01, 2015 Andrew Chmyr rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Kevin Witkum
Sep 25, 2013 Kevin Witkum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2013 Sean Wylie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 22, 2010 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 20, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, alex-kershaw
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
Nov 06, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kershaw continues his series of books about little known but heroic events during WW2, and with concise dramatic writing creates a nice style that every person can admire, even someone who considers history dry and dull can relate to this book. First, it's filled with characters everyone can relate to and they are/were real people. They could be your father or uncle.
This book has a little bit of everything: troop camaraderie, bonding, sorrow, pain, prison camp atrocities, dramatic submarine act
Gail Hedlund
Apr 08, 2014 Gail Hedlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 20, 2008 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2013 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Claire L-C
Jul 11, 2015 Claire L-C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I generally wouldn't be drawn to war biographies, but the narrative from the survivors linked with other people's points of views was thoroughly engaging.
Doug Tabner
Jul 02, 2015 Doug Tabner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book about the USS Tang and her amazing crew. Kershaw has an ability to incorporate necessary information into his narratives without drowning the reader in minutia. The result is a fast-paced yet informative read. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Apr 19, 2015 Marcie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This true account of survival was fascinating to me. I had previously little knowledge of submarine warfare. The story of the USS Tang is sheerly incredible. The men aboard destroyed more Japanese war ships than any other u-boat. When the Tang was sunk, the crew proved just how far they were willing to push themselves just to survive...only to become POWs and endure an even graver challenge of brutality, starvation and disease. This is a great book. God bless our veterans.
Feb 25, 2012 Elron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2013 Robert Melnyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.
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