Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on a Nuclear Submarine” as Want to Read:
Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on a Nuclear Submarine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on a Nuclear Submarine

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A candid, visceral, and incredibly entertaining account of what it’s like to live in one of the most extreme man-made environments in the world.

Imagine a world without natural light, where you can barely stand up straight for fear of knocking your head, where you have no idea of where in the world you are or what time of day it is, where you sleep in a coffin-sized bunk
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2019 by Mudlark
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Under Pressure, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Under Pressure

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  21 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on a Nuclear Submarine
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend time aboard a submarine then wonder no more. In this biography, Richard Humphreys gives us a no holds barred look at exactly what it entails - in addition, this was no ordinary submarine but a nuclear powered submarine carrying out deterrence patrols during the Cold War. It goes without saying that this was a very dangerous assignment considering the payload it carried, and not only were they responsible for acting as a deterrent to the Soviet ...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Under Pressure follows the account of Richard Humphrey’s time in the claustrophobic, highly dangerous environment of submarines. It’s a biography about spending months at a time away from home, surrounded by fellow submariners, trying to remain undetected while surrounded by incredibly dangerous nuclear weapons, at the bottom of the sea.

For the most part, I enjoyed this. It’s an environment I’ve never encountered myself, and is
Cold War Conversations Podcast
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cold-war, naval, uk
A vivid no holds barred account of life on a Polaris nuclear sub during the Cold War.

The author joined the submarine service in 1985 and went on to serve aboard the UK nuclear deterrent for five years at the end of the Cold War.

He describes the claustrophobia, disorientation and prolonged periods of boredom, as well as periods of high tension with possible discovery by the Soviets and the regular rehearsals for Armageddon.

There are vivid descriptions of his first days aboard, learning the
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
3.5/5, rounded up to 4

Review to come!

It was a great read, but a little too repetitive at times, which is why it was 3.5 instead of four, but still, so fascinating!

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I received this free of charge in exchange for an honest review*

This is a great pick! It's a non-fiction about the author's time as a submariner on a nuclear submarine during the Cold War. It's very readable and so informative. It's an enjoyable read and written really accessibly.

It's not for the faint-hearted though as there are graphic mentions of sex and bodily substances of all kinds. There is also a lot of bad language.

But if that isn't a problem for you, then dive in! I am not the biggest
Andrew Corrie
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Very readable. An insight into a whole different world.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting autobiography from a submariner during the cold war. I've never thought much about this part of the armed forces and it has been eye opening just how dangerous it is to be in charge of nuclear weapons of unimaginable size and mentally tough it is to be at the bottom of the sea with no outside contact for months on end.
This also had me laughing out load in places, in particular the Margaret Thatcher scene (I won't spoil it) and other parts are unimaginable now, like everyone
Breakaway Reviewers
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating insight into another world.

This is a detailed and thoughtful account of the author’s life as a sub-mariner on board a Polaris submarine in the 1980s. His final line provides the key to this view into a little known, submerged world “the hardship was part of the joy.”

The sub-mariners who man our nuclear deterrent are an elite group – the best of the best – who, hidden away beneath the sea, train for and endlessly rehearse nuclear Armageddon.
Their mission is to remain in total
Julia Noble
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley, Harper Collins UK, and the author Richard Humphreys.
I made it to about half way through this book before I gave up and skim read to the end. Unfortunately, it was just too dry. This is an extremely rare thing for me to do, and it is actually part of a new decision to abandon books I am not enjoying, because life is too short.
I'm afraid life is too short for 'Under Pressure'.
There are undoubtedly many
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had been fascinated with submarines from an early age, probably due to watching many a submarine themed film with my parents.
So, when I saw an opportunity to read and review an advance copy of UNDER PRESSURE I jumped at the chance. Thank you so much HarperCollins for providing me with the advance review copy.

The eye catching blue cover with its cut out porthole, the tag line ‘living life and avoiding death on a nuclear submarine’ had me hooked.

I warmed to the writer, Richard Humphreys, and his
Daisy Dooley
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating account of life as a submariner. At the age of 18 Richard Humphreys began his five years service as part 'of an elite group who served aboard Britain's nuclear deterrent...while the Cold War was still hot and nuclear confrontation seemed scarily imaginable'. It's hard to imagine the physical and psychological strength it takes to live in a world, 'without natural light...alongside more than 140 other men', in extremely challenging circumstances. Not knowing where in the ...more
Rosemary M
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.

‘There are few more extreme situations than living underwater in what is effectively a giant, elongated - if beautifully streamlined - steel tin can.’

This is something totally different to what I’d normally read and I know nothing about submarines! I wasn’t sure if I would like it but I was pleasantly surprised.
It’s written in such an accessible way and is a really interesting insight into life as a
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-2019
What a brilliant book! It was not what I was expecting as the author served more recently than anticipated. It's written in a very readable style, many laugh out loud moments and I am sure my husband got fed up with me sharing information and funny bits with him. My Godfather was a submariner during the 1950's and took part in endurance trials - that's the sort of story I was expecting - but this one was very interesting and engaging, and I shall certainly buy paper copies for a couple of ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it

I requested this book because I thought it would be really interesting. My husband used to be in the forces and while reading this is was really interesting to compare his experience with that of a submariner's, especially in terms of training. Although very interesting to read about life on a nuclear submarine, I really wish that this was written with more of a narrative in mind. At points I found it very difficult to get completely immersed and the author seemed to be rolling off
Jackie Marchant
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
On the whole, I really enjoyed this and found much of it fascinating, particularly how they managed to live on top of each other - and the smell! But I found some of it dragged on, especially the tour of the sub describing where everything was - I'd have preferred more anecdotes. I found the swearwords off-putting and not sure why they had to be there. Not sure if I'd want to meet the author if he swears all the time in real life - he should have grown out of that by now! Also his 'us and them' ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cinematic and absorbing account of one submariner's experience protecting our country during the turbulent 80s. The challenges submariners face, endure and accept as part of their role has left me in awe and very grateful for what they do to help keep us safe.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. It should be noted that as I only accept books for review which I am interested in reading, I am therefore positively disposed to them and likely
Simon Brindley-Bates
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't often read non fiction books but this read was brilliant and informative! i have always wanted to know how people cope on a submarine - being claustrophobic myself - and this book delves in to that question, in the nitty gritty detail. Well done Richard Humphreys for a great book!. Thank you Netgalley for ARC in return for this review.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Torn on this one as the content was really interesting and I think did convey what life on a nuclear submarine was like, but I found the writing a bit erratic. Some anecdotes were brilliantly told, but then the book dipped in sections and the technical descriptions really felt like they needed diagrams or pictures. Overall a four from me.

This is a review of a NetGalley edition.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, netgalley
I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

I found this really hard work.
Although interesting I found the way it was written boring and very monotonous.
This just was not for me.
Tracy Collier
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A very enjoyable book to read about life under the sea in a nuclear powered submarine. It was interesting reading about the different parts of the boat (not ship!) and how they all combined into keeping everyone safe under the water.
Emily Yolland
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and engaging account of working on a nuclear submarine
rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2019
Martin Bamford
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2019
scott petrie
rated it it was amazing
Nov 05, 2019
Robert Hayne
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2019
rated it liked it
Oct 22, 2019
Mr B Evans
rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2020
Damian Wright or Paul Reynolds
rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2019
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War
  • Renia's Diary: A Holocaust Journal
  • A Wedding in December
  • The Lying Room
  • Seven Days
  • Lies Lies Lies
  • The Glass Hotel
  • A Bit Of A Stretch
  • The Mercies
  • Take It Back
  • The Confession
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
  • Cruel Acts (Maeve Kerrigan #8)
  • All The Rage (DI Adam Fawley, #4)
  • So Lucky
  • I Will Make You Pay
  • The German House
See similar books…
Richard Humphreys has been a bookseller for over 20 years. In 2017, he sat on the judging panel of the prestigious Costa Awards for Best Biography.

From 1985 to 1990, Richard served in the Royal Navy and spent his career on the Polaris submarines, which carried nuclear ballistic missiles. Under Pressure is his first book. He lives with his family in London. (source: HarperCollins)