Were there any of you that could have made it through a Spec Op without a supply of good books? I couldn't have survived without my friends Robert Ludlum, Fredrick Forsythe, Trevanian, William Diehl, Larry Niven, J.R.R Tolkien, and countless others. Anyone who could spin a good yarn was on my 'most-wanted' list, and I collected books everywhere.
Part of my pre-Westpac ritual was scouring the used bookstores around San Diego, looking for new titles. I'd take the mattress out of my bunk pan, and line it with a layer or two of used paperbacks. Drop the mattress back in, and presto, instant stealth library. I'd lose an inch or two of space above the mattress, but as long as I could turn over, it was worth the price.
I wonder how many hours I spent lying in my bunk, light on, headphones plugged into a little Walkman cassette player, with a paperback wedged between the bunk above me and my breastbone. I didn't keep a total, but every hour lost in another world, fictional or not, was an hour away from the boat, even when tomorrow would be the same as the last 59 days.
We've tried to list the good ones here - books that give some insight into the world of submarine intel ops, submarine life in general, man and the sea, and even fiction that helps communicate what it was like, fighting a long Cold War, alone and away from home.
If you're looking to buy these books, click on the images, and they will take you to Amazon.com. Amazon pays a commission for every book you buy through this site, so shop here and help support the site. We'll all be glad you did.
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