A Tale of Two Subs: An Untold Story of World War II, Two Sister Ships, and Extraordinary Heroism

Jonathan J. McCullough, Author . Grand Central $26.99 (294p) ISBN 978-0-446-17839-6

McCullough, an editor at Lyons Press, debuts as an author with this disappointing popular history of WWII submarine warfare. The USS Sculpin and USS Sailfish were built “side by side” at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Both subs were assigned to the Pacific Fleet, where, in 1943, the Sculpin was sunk by the Japanese destroyer Yamagumo. The Japanese transferred 41 survivors to two aircraft carriers—the Unyo and the Chuyo —bound for Japan. Unaware of the Sculpin’ s fate and acting on intelligence from the naval code breakers, the Sailfish intercepted and sank the Chuyo ; only one of the Sculpin’ s men on board survived. He and the Unyo ’s contingent of Americans spent the remainder of the war in Japanese captivity. Not only is the link between the two American subs tenuous, but the author tries with limited success to assimilate an account of the U.S. Navy’s code-breaking operation that resulted in “hot tips to the submarine command.” The account of the Sculpin’ s sinking is harrowing, but it’s the singular highlight in a tedious narrative weighed down with extraneous material. (May 13)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-446-53707-0
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-0-446-17840-2
Open Ebook - 154 pages - 978-0-446-59336-6
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