Coralie's Reviews > The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History

The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas
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's review
Oct 21, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009
Read in October, 2009

In 1939, off the coast of Portsmouth, NH, a submarine and its crew submerge to do some routine testing when a malfunction causes the sub to sink to the bottom of the ocean. This book is the story of the first successful rescue out of a submarine. It tells the story of the captain and crew members, and also of Swede Momsen, who invented a rescue capsule for submarines, a diving bell that could lock on to a submarine over the escape hatch and form a seal, allowing the people inside to enter the rescue capsule from the escape hatch, all underwater. The book told of Momsen's attempts to get the Navy to take his ideas seriously. People in those days weren't afraid to risk their lives in experiments. Time and time again Momsen and his buddies narrowly escaped death trying to improve on the rescue capsule, and also trying to fix different parts of it that didn't work well. The book also told about early decompression chambers and various attempts to experiment with the right mixtures of various gasses to allow divers to spend more time underwater. Divers routinely took risks in experimenting with these new technologies. Sailors went underwater in submarines knowing that if anything went wrong, they would surely die.
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