cover image Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

Sally M. Walker, , read by J.R. Horne. . Listening Library, $27 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-3894-0

Horne's authoritative yet warm voice is a fine fit for Walker's fascinating exploration of what happened to the Civil War submarine the H.L. Hunley, which suffered a catastrophe and sunk in 1864. The legendary submarine lay lost, buried in silt near Charleston, S.C., for 131 years until it was recovered. Listeners will hear the strategy behind designing a submarine for warfare and come to better understand the technical superiority of the Hunley, named for a businessman and Confederate supporter who helped build the vessel and even captained it until he died on one of its test voyages. They will also be privy to the contemporary methods used to search for and excavate the missing sub. Though the Hunley was the first submarine of her day to sink an enemy ship (the USS Housatonic), disastrously, she never returned to port to receive praise for her accomplishments. Horne succeeds in keeping scientific concepts from sounding too dry and in making the Hunley feel like a real character in Walker's tale of “bravery, mystery, bones and gold.” An enhanced CD accompanying this program features a crisp slideshow of 81 images and captions that provide a visual component to the Hunley's story. This is an enthralling listening (and viewing) experience for history and archaeology buffs of all ages and for anyone who loves a good mystery. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)