Book Review…Submarine by Tom Clancy
Well, I held high hopes for this book as I had read Patriot Games and watched Red October, and it started off very well going into the history of the submarine.
Then it took a tour of a Los Angeles class SSN USS Miami, which overly detailed was quite interesting. It took up the majority of the book, and a hint of what was to come showed in this section – his pro-American stance hinted that nothing, absolutely nothing, could match it. OK, fair enough, I guess he would know, although I am not aware he has ventured onto too many Russian subs. This was written in the early 90s after the Cold War, and it felt like a propaganda publication to ease the public and give them a sense that nuke subs were needed despite the fall of the former Soviet Bloc.
Then, and of more interest to me, he took us on a tour of a UK Trafalgar classSSN HMS Triumph, and this is where the book began to do my head in. Nothing on the UK sub, while he admitted was very good, was in the same field as American technology…excuse me Mr Clancy, but how many US subs have been in accidents versus British boats since the end of WWII? 28 to the British 8! Even the ‘inferior’ Russians have lost only 25 (source lostsubs.com). And the tour through this boat was like a 100m dash compared to the undulating cross country run on the US boat!
The next section provided hypothetical scenarios that SSNs could be used for, whether escorting Boomers, inserting SEALS into hot spots, to taking out aircraft and the famous Ivy Bells project. This was the most laughable tripe I have ever read…Goebbels himself would have been impressed with this pro-Yank carry on. Not a single scenario even gave enemy forces a chance in hell of locating, attacking, or god-forbid, sinking a Los Angeles sub. Absolutely shite…I finished the book barely halfway through this section disappointed.
The tour of the US sub is quite compelling reading, but that’s where I would recommend ending the book unless you can handle Uncle Sam and home-made apple pie. I will be reading Carrier, another book in his series…of course, it is a US carrier.
2 out of 5, and that’s more for the pictures.