The USS Flier

  • by Michael Sturma
  • Narrated by Todd Barsness
  • 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The fate of the USS Flier is one of the most astonishing stories of the Second World War. On August 13, 1944, the submarine struck a mine and sank to the bottom of the Sulu Sea in less than one minute, leaving only 14 of its crew of 86 hands alive. After enduring 18 hours in the water, eight remaining survivors swam to a remote island controlled by the Japanese. Deep behind enemy lines and without food or drinking water, the crewmen realized that their struggle for survival had just begun.
On its first war patrol, the unlucky Flier made it from Pearl Harbor to Midway where it ran aground on a reef. After extensive repairs and a formal military inquiry, the Flier set out once again, this time completing a distinguished patrol from Pearl Harbor to Fremantle, Western Australia.
Though the Flier's next mission would be its final one, that mission is important for several reasons: the story of the Flier's sinking illuminates the nature of World War II underwater warfare and naval protocol and demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed among submariners, coast watchers, and guerrillas in the Philippines. The eight sailors who survived the disaster became the first Americans of the Pacific war to escape from a sunken submarine and return safely to the United States. Their story of persistence and survival has all the elements of a classic World War II tale: sudden disaster, physical deprivation, a ruthless enemy, and a dramatic escape from behind enemy lines.
In The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine, noted historian Michael Sturma vividly recounts a harrowing story of brave men who lived to return to the service of their country.

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What the Critics Say

"Sturma tells an engrossing story of courage, suffering and survival." (Kirkus Reviews)
"I highly recommend this work to naval history scholars and to those who are interested in learning more about the intricacies of how modern navies actually work." (World War II Quarterly)
"A great read. . . . The author carefully examines the sub's all-too-short service and the fate of her survivors." (Proceedings of the US Naval Institute)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wasted opportunity

I was looking forward to this book when I first spotted it as this was the first time I'd seen a book covering the ill fated USS Flier. To put it bluntly, I was very disappointed with it. I felt this book wasted an opportunity to convey the real flavour of the story of the sinking and the men that survived. Instead actually quite a small part of the book focuses on the actual key story and we get a lot of padding in the way of unnecessary background information often pertaining to people not directly involved in the Flier sinking.

The narration too was dreary with over annunciation which slowed the reading irritatingly and some terrible miss-pronunciations at times too.

If you want a fantastic example of a book detailing the sinking and the real story of the survivors then seek out the story of the USS Houston which is available here on Audible. That book really captures the essence and flavour of the human story so lacking in this telling of the USS Flier's sinking.

Disappointing to say the least.
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- S. Morris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-04-2012
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks