I received a complimentary galley of IN THE WAVES: MY QUEST TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF A CIVIL WAR SUBMARINE by Rachel Lance for an honest review. Thank you to Dutton Books and Netgalley!
Publication Date: 4/7/2020
Rating: 4.5 / 5
IN THE WAVES follows Rachel Lance’s quest to solve a Civil War mystery. On February 17, 1864, the HL Hunley, a small submarine manned by confederates, deployed a torpedo against the union’s USS Housatonic near Charleston. It was successful in its mission to destroy the union ship, but the submarine and its crew disappeared. When it was raised 131 years later, it was a surprise to find that the crew was still in place at their stations having made no apparent attempt to escape. Many theories have been floated as to why the ship sank and how the men died, but Lance set out to get scientific proof as part of completing her PhD at Duke.
I really went into this knowing very little about the Hunley, but I was intrigued by the synopsis. Having been a bit hard to engage with a lot of books, I was thrilled to find myself immediately hooked by the author’s writing in this one. Rachel Lance is an excellent writer, effectively setting the scene for the story. While some of the science was definitely beyond my knowledge, she did an excellent job of making it approachable.
This book combines science, historical research, experiments and recreations. She examines eye witness testimony from those who survived the sinking of the US S Housatonic and other historical research, such as the makeup of the explosives that would have been used during the civil war. The author also shares some of her personal story in pursuit of her PhD. She reviews others’ theories and sets out to prove or disprove before delving into her own.
I found this to be an enjoyable read and it is one I would recommend for the history and non-fiction fans!
#PopsugarReadingChallenge – a book on a subject you know nothing about