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The H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  65 ratings  ·  14 reviews
On the evening of February 17, 1864, the Confederacy's H. L. Hunley sank the USS Housatonic and became the first submarine in world history to sink an enemy ship. Not until World War I—half a century later—would a submarine again accomplish such a feat. But also perishing that moonlit night, vanishing beneath the cold Atlantic waters off Charleston, South Carolina, was the ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Hill and Wang (first published September 1st 2008)
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Tom Chaffin’s The H. L. Hunley is a largely competent history book. The majority of the book (2/3 or so of the text) centers around the building of the Hunley and two prior submarines, along with a recounting of the various unsuccessful and one successful but ill-fated mission of the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. The scholarship seems solid, the writing is engaging, and you feel like you learned a good bit. The main problem is how he deals with the contemporary finding of the Hunley and ...more
Shellys♥ Journal
This is the story of the H.L. Hunley - the storied Confederate Submarine, the first one to sink an enemy ship. The book encompasses the conception, construction and building of the Hunley, including it's two prototypes. It takes readers from the beginnings in New Orleans through Mobile, AL and then finally to Charleston including it's recovery from the ocean floor in 2000 and the attempts to discover information on what happened to the ship, and identify the remains of the crew.

I absolutely love
This is the amazing story of the three Confederate submarines made during the Civil War in an attempt to sink the many Union ships that were blockading the important ports of the South. Only the last vessel was called the Hunley, although the man named Hunley was involved to some degree in the creation and/or piloting of all three. The last vessel was the only successful one: it sank the Union ship Housatonic in Charleston Harbor in 1964. It was a steel, cigar-shaped vessel only 4 feet in diamet ...more
One of the disturbing ironies of history is that technology is most often moved forward by the forces of war. The development of the submarine is no exception. In his lead up to the actually history of the development, construction, and utilization of the H. L. Hunley during the Civil War, Tom Chaffin reports that the chief interest in developing any vessel to travel under water was the advantage of sneaking up on enemy sea craft and sinking them. Upon reading the history of the first submarine ...more
This book tells the story of the building and missions of the Hunley the first submarine to ever sink a ship in battle the USS Housatonic. It starts a bit dry telling of Hunley’s life in New Orleans and his early attempts to build a submarine or torpedo boat in both New Orleans and Mobile. It starts to pick up a bit when the boat is transferred to Charleston. Through many accidents, two crews of the submarine perished in training accidents the sub finally sinks the Housatonic and then vanishes. ...more
Thoroughly researched historic review of all the factual information known at the time about the H. L. Hunley, the revolutionary Confederate submarine responsible for sinking the USS Housatonic off the shores of Charleston during the last year of the Civil War. Fascinating subject and well presented although after visiting the Hunley Visitor's Center recently, the information in the book is quickly becoming outdated as archeologists work on the recovered sub in painsaking detail. Hope Mr. Chappi ...more
Charles Cummings
The Hunley was the first submarine ship to sink an enemy ship which happened in the year 1864. It has a story that captivates many people, a sort of a mysterious allure to it. The Hunley was found and recovered in Charlestown harbour in the early 2000s. This has promoted renewed scholarship and interest in the submarine. The book is short, but captures much of what is known or speculated about the history of the ship from its founding to its demise and beyond. A very good read!
David R.
A very fine treatment of the ill-fated Hunley, the world's first successful attack submarine. Chaffin covers the entire sweep of the Hunley's development from the initial vision laid down by several New Orleans partners in 1861 through developmental models in Mobile and ultimately to the sub's loss in 1865. Along the way he's coolly objective and never over-reaches with speculations. Overall: a fine story that's been lost in other narratives of Confederate naval history.
I liked this book, but it took a REALLY long time to get going. It's VERY slow in the beginning but once you get past the first 50 pages or so, it starts to pick up. I live in Charleston and didn't know the entire story until now. It was a very interesting book, and makes me want to go see the Hunley.
This is the most current book on the history of the Hunley. I was surprised to find out that Clive Cussler, who I have been reading a lot, was the person who sponsored the dive team who found it. Great civil war history.
Dean Economy
Dec 02, 2008 Dean Economy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ross
Very interesting book. If you are interested in the Hunley or the Civil War this book is of interest. Has information on New Orleans and Charleston during the Civil War
Really, really good book about the Hunley (one of my secret fascinations). I'd love to visit the museum to see it in person. Highly recommend it especially to Jasper Welsch.
I really enjoyed The Hunley book. The book gave backgrounds of the people who owned the Hunley and it gave rising of the Hunley.
Recomend as a good Civil War history.
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