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Thunder Below! Audiobook

Thunder Below!: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II

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Publisher's Summary

The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.

This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.

©1992 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (P)2013 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Fluckey is a fine writer with a lively, colorful style. His book is packed with action and suspense and is rich in details about the day-today operation of a submarine in combat." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Tigershark 14/08/2014
    Tigershark 14/08/2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fast paced and exciting story"
    What made the experience of listening to Thunder Below! the most enjoyable?

    A brilliant author who brings to life the action packed stress and excitement of working and living in a military submarine during wartime.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Captain of the boat. It is his story of actual events that occurred during WWII.


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Corey Snow?

    Grover Gardner. Without a doubt. The best narrator I've listened to!

    American Corey Snow sounds like a college kid who made the terrible mistake of attempting woefully childish British and Australian accents in order to differentiate the characters. It was totally unnecessary.
    The story is meant to be an account of the ships log and diary entries based upon the life of the Captain, his wife and crew in a historical sense, not a narration of a children's Golden Book.

    If you can't accomplish a genuine accent of another nation or language, either get someone else to sit in for you or don't attempt it.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was totally engrossed in the action of the book and didn't want to stop listening until I shuddered at the sound of the accents.


    Any additional comments?

    Great story. Full of action and utmost detail.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Boone
    Georgetown, TX, United States
    28/09/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Action, Excitement, & History. A great read!"

    Great read!! Fluckey did a great job putting you right in the action. Those who were there are the best at this. The book doesn't just tell you what happened, it lets you experince it first hand. You also get to know the men on the boat. I feel like I have a bunch of new friends. This book would be great for anyone interest in action, excitement, and history.

    The production of the Audible portion was one of the best I have ever heard. The reader even pronounces the word " submariner" correctly. If you have ever spoken to an old submarine man he will be quick to tell you it's "submarine-er" not "sub-mariner."

    This one of several titles that have needed to be on Audible for a long time. If everybody buys this title then maybe Audible will add other tiltes like: Richard Kane's "Wahoo" and "Clear the Bridge," and Edward L. Beech's, "Run Silent Run Deep," "Dust on the Sea," "Cold as the Sea," and "Submarine."

    I want more!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Jean
    Santa Cruz, CA, United States
    15/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting"

    This is a great story; it is one of those books that grab your attention immediately. Eugene B. Fluckey and the USS Bark sank 140,000 tons of Japanese shipping from April 1944 to the end of the War.

    Admiral Fluckey takes his own memories and weaves it together with a crewman’s illegal diary, reports, letters, ship logs, and interviews as well as archival documents from the Japanese Navy to provide a detailed account of the U.S.S. Barb’s eight through twelfth War patrols. Apparently Fluckey was a brilliant, courageous, fair Captain most concerned about bringing his men home safe. Not a man was wounded onboard Barb while he was the Captain.

    “Lucky Fluckey” pioneered new submarine tactics that are still used today. The high point in the book is a night surface attack through miles of shoal water to attack two Japanese convoys in a harbor in China. Fluckey won the Medal of Honor and the Barb was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Fluckey won the Navy Cross four times, the Navy Distinguish Service medal with one gold star and many more medals. Eugene B Fluckey was a 1935 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. In 1989 the Navy honored him by naming the Nuclear Submarine Combat System Training Center after him. The only building named for a living person.

    The narration is clear, concise and vivid. Admiral Fluckey is a good writer and the story is not just about him but all the crew of the Barb. The book is well researched. The hardcover book also has lots of photographs. The book is an excellent study of sub warfare tactics and naval leadership. If you are looking for an excellent book about submarines in World War II this is a book for you. I read somewhere that Steven Spielberg has purchased the movie rights to the story. Corey Snow narrated the book. Corey Snow does an excellent job narrating the book.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Rex
    Rosetta, South Africa
    18/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow! There were brave men in WWII"
    Would you listen to Thunder Below! again? Why?

    Yes. I enjoy military history. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was stunned at the bravery of the men that went out in submarines


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    The Bravest Man - another submariner's tale, Neptune's Inferno on the naval battles around Guadalcanal and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors of the heroic stand by destroyers against battleships in Leyte Gulf


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I think the title sums it up: Thunder Below!


    Any additional comments?

    An above average tale well told

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Arius
    Annandale, VA United States
    28/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So incredible it can't be anything but true"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - the book is well-read and it's an amazing account


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    The first book that came to mind was The Caine Mutiny - but TCM is about a destroyer minesweeper, is fiction, and largely hinges on poor command, while this book is nonfiction, is a sub, and is largely about good command. But in both books there's a lot of detail about the day-to-day concerns of the men aboard their respective commands.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    For me, it's often the little things. Fluckey's point about not appreciating being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor because it stipulates actions taken without regard to ones personal safety implying he took them without regard to the safety of his crew is an excellent point and really sticks in my mind.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Mostly, I was amazed. Of course, there's always some sadness when the crew has to split up and the command is over, as with any story involving people who formed friendships under intense conditions and subsequently parted ways.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best WWII books I've had the pleasure of experiencing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hill
    Bedford, TX, United States
    25/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fantastic"

    I listened to this book twice. As soon as I finished it I listened to it a second time. Great job. I didn't know anything about the Barb until I listened to this book. Fantastic!!!! I felt like I was in the south pacific during WWII. So many leaders get to be leaders by not rocking the boat. Sounds like we owe Admiral Fluckey a tip of the hat for being one of those unusual leaders willing to take the step out of the box, By doing so he did a lot to save many of our brave young men during WWII. Thank you Admiral. I like to think of myself as a student of the war in the pacific. The more I read the more I admire the front line marines, the prisoners of Bataan, all of our young men who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during that conflict. The pain and suffering those men went through unimaginable to today's generations. Then to see McArthur pardon most of the Japanese for their war crimes. What our men must of thought about that. Almost 70 years later we are still looking for German war criminals. But not the Japanese. I knew many WWII veteran's and even some WWI vets. They just didn't talk about their war. They just didn't. What a shame, My father-in-law won 7 bronze stars. His family didn't have a clue until his passing. Even his brother didn't know. How or why these men took their deeds to the grave with them speaks volumes to me. They just did what they had to do and came home and lived a productive life. What a generation. Tom Brokaw labeled them the Greatest Generation. He was right on the money. Listen to this book it is excellent.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Career Soldier
    Oklahoma, USA
    15/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This would be great fiction were it not true!"

    The story of the USS Barb and her service in World War II is truly inspiring. Her skipper on five of her war patrols, Gene Fluckey, it's a great storyteller telling us both the story of the ship, her patrols, and her men. Cory Stone did an absolutely outstanding job narrating the story! For anyone who wants to know the history of submarines in the Pacific in a World War II this book is for you!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    United States
    27/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Real life excitement!"

    This is real, well written, factual and told in a no nonsense manor. This will make you proud of the men that went to war in a submarine in WWII.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    19/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A real ”page turner""

    Riveting tale, well told. I couldn't put it down! Narration was generally good.

    Splice the main brace!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gary A. Wilson
    Arizona
    29/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent in all respects"

    The Corey Snow made this s page turner. What a thrilling story from WW2. A gutsy performance by all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • anghared
    29/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story -"
    If you could sum up Thunder Below! in three words, what would they be?

    Compelling, heartwarming well-written


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    Eric Haney's book on the Delta Force. They are both good reads and give me a chance to appreciate our service members.


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not that I remember


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The Japanese they captured who wanted to part of the crew.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Craig
    Dunfermline, United Kingdom
    10/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant."
    What did you like most about Thunder Below!?

    Right from the first chapter you are kept riveted by this incredible journey into the life of a WW2 Submarine Commander.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thunder Below!?

    When Eugene Fluckey takes you to the point where they have to rescue the Australian and British troops on board Japanese ships that had just been torpedoed. Its a dramatic and incredible rescue, testament to the determination of the troops to help each other stay alive for as long as possible in order to be saved. Its also incredible just how far Eugene and his men strived to rescue them. A wonderful moment that lives in Fluckey's memory.


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Corey Snow gets right into the naritive. At some points you can believe that this is the voice of Eugene Fluckey, he brings the Commander and his Submarine alive.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the submariners start to pull the survivors aboard their Sub and Eugene says he shed tears as they thanked him. The description of the survivor's alone moves the listener.


    Any additional comments?

    A first class listen. Every chapter a story in its own right.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • stig1875
    26/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant Listen"

    This is not the normal type of book that I would normally listen to, but I could not put my IPod down, Luck Fluckey was a true natural born leader who men followed and the reason the allied forces won the second world war, I highly recommend it to everyone to give it a go you won't be disappointed, believe me.
    Mark H

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • sanyamksaxena
    11/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good narrative of submarine Barb's spoils in WW-II"

    A good narrative of submarine Barb's spoils in WW-II. However, it sounds repetitive at times. Also, the narrative could be better enjoyed and appreciated by someone knowledgeable of naval warfare terminology and submarine rank and file structure and duties. It might help to introduce such details before beginning the narrative. Overall, salute to plucky Flucky for his great command during war... but not so much for the authorship of this book. Superlative achievements in one field don't necessarily have to be reflected in other fields also. Well tried Eugene !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Epsom, United Kingdom
    22/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exactly How It Should Be Done"
    Would you listen to Thunder Below! again? Why?

    Yes- there is much factual and operational detail which is impossible to remember given the pace of the book, I would like to revisit it to get a fuller understanding of how warfare was conducted in this arena


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to, and why?

    Anything Patrick O'Brien, on the grounds of the realism (in this case non- fictional) and the descriptive quality.


    Have you listened to any of Corey Snow’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    no I haven't


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    there a re more than a few tense moments as you would expect, I laughed a few times and as saddened and touched by the way that war ruins families as described in the dancing with skeletons part. (no spoiler)


    Any additional comments?

    I don't review many so that should be testament enough. this is a great listen and the fact that it's "from the horses mouth" underpins it's core. I don't know many that had a "good war" and it must have been hell to have lived with the constant fear of death in the icy depths, given the goals for achievement stated by the author I think he had the right idea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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