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Nautilus to Columbia: 70 years of the US Navy's Nuclear Submarines - James C. Goodall

Nautilus to Columbia: 70 years of the US Navy's Nuclear Submarines - James C. Goodall

Wow! really is the best way to sum this book up. It truly is awesome.

The author has 5 books on Amazon to his credit, this being the first naval one. However, he appears to have written many more books, about 29 in total. The other books are mainly all about aircraft, often skunk works derived and very fast or elusive. I guess as ex-USAF that interest is to be expected. The author seems to be well respected in his research and this book is a testament to that.

I’m certainly no expert in the submarine field, but this book seems to be very solidly grounded with one chapter per vessel (admittedly brief chapters) over the 70 years covered. One chapter covers two submarines that were lost and the author lists all of the crew from both vessels which I found rather touching.

There is also an excellent chapter on the nuclear power plant that has been developed and modified over the years to supply not only the US Navy submarines but many other applications. This chapter raised my one minor gripe about the book, I would have been happier if a few sketches of how nuclear power plants work were provided. However, as always, google was my friend.

This is really a picture book providing a highly detailed and illustrated history of the US Navy's nuclear submarine program, from the postwar years to the 2020 Columbia-class SSBNs (Ballistic Missile Submarines). - The story of the last 70 years of the US nuclear submarines. Apart from a couple of chapters, it’s not heavy on text, but virtually every page is full of high-quality pictures, over 1,300 of them in total. Even the cover picture is incredibly ‘moody’ and thought-provoking.

It took me 3 weeks to get through this book, mainly due to the pictures warranting a thorough inspection, especially the older pictures. In fact, several of these older pictures reminded me of a plastic model kit that I made in the late 60s/early 70s with an internal viewing tube of the control room. The pictures really made me stop and think and they are certainly not ones that you just glance at and gloss over.

This is a very big and very heavy book and not suited to my usual bedtime reading. It weighs in at a hefty 4.5 lbs and measures 12.5 inches wide (24.5 when fully open) 9.75 inches high and 1.25 inches thick. The book is traditionally bound, and the pages are good quality paper.

I really would have liked to get this review complete before the publication date of 23rd November, but for the reasons outlined above, it just wasn’t possible.

At the time of writing the book is reduced to £44.29 from £50 on Amazon, which I think is excellent value, especially if you are looking for a Christmas present for a naval enthusiast.

I’m going to run to 4.5 anchors on this book, it’s one of the best I’ve had. But I’ll add a very small warning. There is something in the construction of this book that my cat found fascinating. She wouldn’t leave the book alone and I ended up keeping the book in a closed cupboard when I wasn’t actually reading it.


Amazon UK Link