Summary and book reviews of The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas

The Terrible Hours

The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History

by Peter Maas

The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas X
The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 1999, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2000, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A thrilling true narrative of terror, heroism and courage in the depths of a malevolent ocean.

On the eve of World War II, America's newest submarine plunged helplessly to the North Atlantic bottom during a test dive. Miraculously, thirty-three crew members still survived. While their wives and girlfriends waited in nearly unbearable tension on shore, their ultimate fate would depend on one man.

In this thrilling true narrative of terror, heroism and courage in the depths of a malevolent ocean, prizewinning author Peter Maas brings us in vivid detail a blow-by-blow account of the disaster and its uncertain outcome. The sub was the Squalus. The man was a U.S. Navy officer, Charles "Swede" Momsen, an extraordinary combination of visionary, scientist and man of action. Until his advent, it was accepted that if a submarine went down, her crew was doomed. But Momsen, in the face of an indifferent, often sneering naval bureaucracy, battling red tape and disbelieving naysayers every step of the way, risked his own life again and again against the unknown in his efforts to invent and pioneer every escape and rescue device, every deep-sea diving technique, to save an entombed crew. With the crippled, partially flooded Squalus lost on the North Atlantic floor, Momsen faced his personal moment of truth: Could he actually pluck those men from a watery grave? Had all his work been in vain?

The legacy of his death-defying probes into our inner space remains with us today, and in this depiction of the perseverance and triumph of the human spirit, Swede Momsen is given his rightful place in the pantheon of true American heroes.

Excerpt
The Terrible Hours

It was a Tuesday, May 23, 1939.

In New York City, Bloomingdale's department store was promoting a new electronic wonder for American homes called television.

With great fanfare, United Airlines began advertising a nonstop flight from New York to Chicago that would take only four hours and thirty-five minutes.

In baseball, a young center fielder for the New York Yankees named Joe DiMaggio was headed for his first major league batting title.

The film adaptation of the novel Wuthering Heights, starring the English actor Laurence Olivier in his first hit movie, was in its sixth smash week.

Another novel destined to become an American classic, Nathanael West's portrait of Hollywood, The Day of the Locust, was dismissed in the New York Times as "cheap" and "vulgar."

In Canada, the visiting British monarchs, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, met the Dionne quintuplets for the first time.

In London, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy advised an ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Mr. Maas...proves once again there is little he cannot achieve with the written word.

Los Angeles Times Book Review
Each time I pick up Maas, I feel that I have been given a backstage pass to an American moment.

New York Times Book Review
Mr. Maas...proves once again there is little he cannot achieve with the written word.

Boston Globe
Peter Maas offers insights only the best reporters can unearth.

Boston Globe
Peter Maas offers insights only the best reporters can unearth.

Author Blurb Tom Brokaw
Peter Maas has given us a suspenseful tale of terror, courage, heroism and American military genius. I couldn't put it down.

Author Blurb Tom Brokaw
Peter Maas has given us a suspenseful tale of terror, courage, heroism and American military genius. I couldn't put it down.

Reader Reviews

Don Van Nostrand

Gripping Tale. Well written. This book was hard to put down. Other reviewer wrote that the book jumped around too much. ?????? Hmmmm... guess I have A.D.D. because I thought all the flashbacks explained what was going on and why as the plot ...   Read More

Chris Bowsher

I love This Book!

nick

This book was horrible, one chapter you would be reading about the characters in the submarine, the next minute u are in a flashback that lasted an entire chapter. I felt this book jumped around too much and makes the reader fustrated. Peter Maas ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Terrible Hours, try these:

  • Lost in Shangri-La jacket

    Lost in Shangri-La

    by Mitchell Zuckoff

    Published 2012

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Lost in Shangri-La recounts the incredible true-life adventure of twenty-four officers and enlisted men and women who boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip , which became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed.

  • Shadow Divers jacket

    Shadow Divers

    by Robert Kurson

    Published 2005

    About this book

    More books by this author

    In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery – and make history themselves.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Butterfly Yellow
    Butterfly Yellow
    by Thanhha Lai, Daniel Suarez
    Voted 2019 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    As readers, many of us hope ...
  • Book Jacket: Olive, Again
    Olive, Again
    by Elizabeth Strout
    Voted 2019 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    It's been a big year for literary ...
  • Book Jacket: Solitary
    Solitary
    by Albert Woodfox
    Voted 2019 Best Debut Author Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    According to statistics from ...
  • Book Jacket: Becoming
    Becoming
    by Michelle Obama
    Voted 2019 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    BookBrowse hosted a Book Club ...

Book Club
Book Jacket
Evening in Paradise
by Lucia Berlin

"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives on the fringes."—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The In-Betweens
    by Mira Ptacin

    "A fascinating history of an American community of Spiritualists... a fabulous read."
    —Elizabeth Gilbert
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Butterfly Yellow

BUTTERFLY YELLOW

Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and the overall highest rated book of the year!

Enter

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.