Synopses & Reviews
LOST WITHOUT A TRACE
On July 31, 1942, the Naval submarine USS Grunion, along with her seventy-man crew, vanished without a trace in the icy waters off Kiska in the Aleutian Islands. For decades, the U.S. Navy was unable to reveal further information about the subs fateit had simply vanished. But Commander Jim Abeles family never gave up their quest to discover the truth. They repeatedly applied to the Navy, corresponded with the families of crew members, consulted with Japanese sources, and finally undertook the quixotic task of locating the Grunion herself. More than six decades after the submarines loss, Jim Abeles three sons astonished the experts by locating the lost submarine 3,000 feet below the surface of one of the worlds most dangerous bodies of water.
But the question remained: What sank the Grunion?
In this explosive new account of the search for the Grunion, author Peter F. Stevens draws on the experiences and the exhaustive research of Bruce, Brad, John, and Susan Abele and Mary and Richard Bentz to provide a cliffhanging account of the submarines loss, of its improbable discovery more than half a century later, and ultimately of the Abeles final questto establish how the Grunion was lost. Using obscure government documents and eyewitness accounts from Japanese naval officers who were the last to see the Grunion, Stevens lays out the compelling case that the true reason for sinking may well have been too embarrassing for the Navy to reveal.
"One of the enigmas of WWII was the fate of the USS Grunion, the submarine carrying a crew of 70 men that vanished without a trace in 1942. Stevens (The Voyage of the Catalpa) charts the Navy career of the sub's skipper, Jim Abele, from his 1926 Annapolis graduation through to WWII. With Abele in command, the million Grunion was launched on December 22, 1941, carrying the Navy's new top-secret MK 14 torpedoes. Abele, other skippers, and even the Navy itself were unaware of the weapon's most dangerous defect: a 'circular run' that caused it to boomerang, striking the very sub that had fired it. When news of its disappearance arrived, 'the families of the Grunion's crew experienced shock, denial, despair,' yet in the decades that followed, Abele's sons were unable to unravel the mystery of the sub's fate. A scrap of Japanese paper, sold in 1998 for in a Denver antiques shop, was later posted on a military history Web site, eventually leading to the sub's location and expeditions to find it at Kiska, Alaska. The families' emotional reactions and the 'tapestry of happenstances' involved in the discovery is suspenseful, while Stevens's speculative description of the sub's plunge to the ocean floor makes for a chilling conclusion. Color and b&w photos. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
No radio distress call ever crackled from the USS Grunion submarine. In 1942, under the fog of World War II, she simply vanished without a trace. For nearly sixty-five years, only a dead silence lingered regarding the fate of the sub and her seventy-man crewuntil now. In his new book, Fatal Dive, author Peter F. Stevens reveals the incredible true story of the search for and discovery of the USS Grunionas well as the U.S. Navys shocking and willful cover up of the submarines baffling disappearance. Discovered in 2006 after a decades-long search by the Abele brotherswhose father commanded the submarine and met his untimely death aboard itone question remained: what sank the USS Grunion? Now, for the first time ever, Fatal Dive reveals the answer: one of the USS Grunion's own missiles. Covered up by the Navy, because they knowingly sent the USS Grunion out with faulty torpedoes, Fatal Dive reveals damning and never-before-published government documents that provide irrefutable evidence of the Navys shameful cover-up. Intriguing and explosive, Fatal Dive finally lays to rest one of World War IIs greatest mysteries.
Peter Stevens unreels a fascinating piece of nautical history. This real-life drama of war, suspense, and human achievement in the face of frightful odds is mesmerizing from start to finish. A book for all.”
LIEUTENANT GENERAL DAVE PALMER (RETIRED),
author of George Washington and Benedict Arnold and George Washingtons Military Genius
A thriller that plows forward with the unrelenting intensity of a World War II submarine hunting down an enemy cruiser, but this tale is powered by the devotion of three faithful sons desperately searching for their father, Lieutenant Commander Jim Abeleand to solve the fate of his crew, the men of the USS Grunion. A masterful mystery that is truly a love story disguised as a war story.”
MICHAEL KEANE, author of Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer
"A fascinating account of how a brave mans loyal sons discovered that a stateside design flaw had doomed him and his crew. Touching and eloquent.”
JOHN KOSTER, author of Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDRs White House Triggered Pearl Harbor
a chilling conclusion.”
Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion
by Peter F. Stevens reveals the incredible true story of the search for and discovery of the USS Grunion
. Discovered in 2006 after a decades-long, high-risk search by the Abele brotherswhose father commanded the submarine and met his untimely death aboard itone question remained: what sank the USS Grunion
? Was it a round from a Japanese ship, a catastrophic mechanical failure, or something elseone of the subs own torpedoes? For almost half the war, submarine skippers complaints about the MK 14 torpedos dangerous flaws were ignored by naval brass, who sent the subs out with the defective weapon. Fatal Dive
is the first book that documents the entire saga of the ship and its crew and provides compelling evidence that the Grunion
was a victim of The Great Torpedo Scandal of 1941-43.” Fatal Dive
finally lays to rest one of World War IIs greatest mysteries.
About the Author
Peter F. Stevens, news and features editor of The Boston Irish Reporter, is a veteran journalist with a specialty in historical writing. His work is syndicated by The New York Times and has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers. Stevens is also a two-time winner of the International Regional Magazine Association's Gold Medal for Feature Writing and the award-winning author of The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom. He lives in Boston, MA.