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Posted on Feb 12, 2007 in Armchair Reading

Top 10 Submarine Books

Armchair General

Our Editors pick the best novels and non-fiction books on underwater warfare.

Several of these books became excellent films (see DVD Library, March 2007 ACG, Vol. IV, No. I). Book listing is alphabetical by author’s last name.

19_BK_11_d_CS_1171.jpg Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward L. Beach. Prolific author – and real-life submariner – Beach has written dozens of books on naval history. This novel, the basis for the outstanding Clark Gable-Burt Lancaster film, is an outstanding examination of the physical and psychological challenges of submarine warfare. 19_BK_12_d_JL_fb08.jpg Silent Victory: The US Submarine War Against Japan by Clay Blair, Jr. A whopping 1,000 pages on the American undersea effort that doomed Japan’s chances to win the war, Blair’s account is a “must read.”
19_BK_13_d_CS_2535.jpgDas Boot by Lothar-Guenther Buchheim. Turning his own wartime experience aboard U-96 as a correspondent into a compelling novel, Buchheim’s outstanding book is the basis for the best submarine film ever made. If your library has room for only one book on submarine warfare, make it this one! 19_BK_14_d_BK_Octbr.jpgThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. The best-selling author who started the “hi-tech thriller” craze, Clancy’s novel is a suspenseful, action-packed submarine adventure loosely based upon the real-life attempted defection of a Russian officer who seized control of a Soviet destroyer.
19_BK_15_d_NIP_2184.jpgU-boat Commander: A Periscope View of the Battle of the Atlantic by Peter Cremer. His U-boat crews claimed that having Knight’s Cross winner, “Ali” Cremer as their captain was “the best life insurance policy” in the world, since the U-boat ace was well-known for bringing his crews home alive from their increasingly dangerous Atlantic patrols. 19_BK_16_d_TRP_dkg6.jpgA Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy by Robert Moore. A British journalist’s account of the lingering legacy of Soviet bureaucratic incompetence that caused the sinking of the Russian submarine and stymied an international rescue effort. It reads like a damning critique of everything that was wrong with the USSR.
19_BK_17_d_PP_Brdg.jpgClear the Bridge! The War Patrols of the USS Tang by Richard O’Kane. First-person account by the Tang ‘s skipper (later a Japanese POW) is a classic. O’Kane also wrote a book about his earlier experiences as exec officer of the sub, USS Wahoo.

19_BK_18_d_LP_2368.jpgSharks and Little Fish by Wolfgang Ott. Gripping and gritty novel of U-boat crewmen at war and ashore. While many submarine books focus on the subs’ commanders, Ott gives us a rare look at underwater warfare through the eyes of ordinary crewmen.

19_BK_20_d_NIP_PB.jpgPigboats: United States Submarine Operations in World War II by Theodore Roscoe Originally published in 1949, Roscoe’s account has become a naval classic that’s remained in print nearly 60 years after its first publication. ACG tip: pick up a copy of Roscoe’s companion book, Tin Cans: United States Destroyer Operations in World War II – taken together, they make a great naval warfare set! 19_BK_19_d_PP_28205.jpgThe Odyssey of a U-boat Commander: Recollections by Erich Topp (see 10 Questions, March 2007 ACG, Vol. IV, No. I). Winner of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, Topp admits here that he once feared he had provoked the early entry of America into World War II when he mistakenly sank the US destroyer, Reuben James in October, 1941.









  1. Where is “Red Star Rogue” by Kenneth Sewell?

  2. Uboatnet has an impressive reading list containing over 2,000 titles, mostly focusing on the U-boat War and Allied countermeasures against them at:

    Thi site has narrowed down specialized sections like WW1 and recommended reading.

  3. I am looking to make contact with Robert Moore author of ” A Time To Die ” I have read his book recently and have come to the conlusion that I can give him his next book. I have visited Russia several times and believe that at the end of WWII certain moves were made to stimulate the people of Russia and it was subsequently ambushed by Hollywood !! Or maybe they were used by certain authorities to achive their goals !!??
    I believe that Robert Moore would be the man to research this book and turn into a world wide success.

  4. I am a Indian Navy submarine officer and just completed a fiction based on my true experiences I was trained in erstwhile USSR in Riga name of the book is “Rulers of the deep” will be interesting and a story worth making into a movie