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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

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

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

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.

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

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!
Harman

Horribly inaccurate
This book went on to be made into a movie. Let’s get it straight. Momsen was not aboard the diving bell during any of the 4 trips. Torpedoman’s Mate John Mihalowski and Gunner’s Mate Walter Harman made the first two trips. How could the writer get ...   Read More
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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes 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 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 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 read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...
  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

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.