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Hidden Warships — Veronico gives us another rich book about remote history which we can visit

3 August 2015

Hidden Warships: finding World War II’s abandoned, sunk, and preserved warships, Nicholas A. Veronico, 2015, ISBN 978-0-7603-4756-0, 256 pp., 115 color images and 75 b/w

Hidden Warships by Nicholas A. Veronico Zenith Press photo

Hidden Warships by Nicholas A. Veronico — Zenith Press photo

Hidden Warships is another fine book by Nicholas Veronico. Like his Hidden Warbirds and Hidden Warbirds II he shows readers what is often hidden in plain sight — this time spanning the globe where ships are on the bottom (explored by submersibles), wrecked or on exhibit.

Veronico is no gratuitous author. He writes with a wonderfully clear though lively style about the histories, the crews and of discovery and restoration where applicable. The subjects emphasize World War II and are varied in their locations as well as vessel type. Submarines, Victory Ships, battleships, aircraft carriers, Liberty Ships and more are all here to read. Each with their stories, demise and fate. Four navies are represented as well as at least two merchant marine fleets.

Some are wrecked along a distant coast. Some are in Davy Jones’s locker. Some are on display. Some are being restored. The sites explored range across the globe east to west as well as north to south. Veronico ferrets out the intimate parts of the story for each vessel so the bravery and desperation leading to the sinkings are felt, almost first hand. This is what Veronico brings which many do not as well as he — history with understanding, awareness without hyperbole.

Hidden Warships tells takes of the plundering of mass graves (warships) for their metal. Veronico also writes well about the restoration of a PT boat to full running condition (likely better than original manufacture). As you expect, he also writes of all that is in between these ends of the spectrum.

Veronico has searched the usual archives (a task unto itself) but has also examined private collections (and how he finds so many people is amazing in itself). Because of his gleeful diligence we learn that some Imperial Japanese Navy submarines were limited to shallow depths since their hulls were riveted — not welded. We also learn of a three second lag from the PT boat skipper’s throttle commands to throttle response. Also, there is the quite personal tale of discovering the USS Grunion and the likely cause which has her and her crew on eternal patrol. These and many more riveting stories are captured eloquently and sincerely in Hidden Warships and getting this book will help readers to understand the conditions of those who served and fought in waters warm as well as cold — but always hostile.

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As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press and On-line Bookstore provided a copy of this book for an objective review.

 

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