Book Review: Learn the Story of the H.L. Hunley – Confederate Submarine

7 02 2014

The H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the ConfederacyThe H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy by Tom Chaffin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 loved this book. While the author is complete in his telling of the tale, he also doesn’t get too wordy or over intellectualize the story. He looks into the historical record to try and give some personality to these men who built her (some who survived the war to write about it) and those who sailed her. I had long heard of this story, but never really investigated it. So glad I took the chance to read this book.

The saddest part of the story is the infighting in the state of SC as to whether spending money on the Hunley project, is “glorifying the Confederacy.” Yikes. Really? We are all Americans now, aren’t we? The Hunley was an amazing project, conceived and carried out by brave men in a tumultuous time of our country. We should not let political correctness of the day overwhelm the boldness and historical significance of the moment.

Recommend for: Students of the Civil War and lovers of Naval stories.

View all my reviews




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