THE DIVE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The Dive by Stephen McGinty
TitleThe Dive: The Untold Story of the World’s
Deepest Submarine Rescue
AuthorStephen McGinty
PublisherPegasus Books (June 10, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages336
GenreSubmarines / Survival Biographies & Memoirs /
Maritime History & Piracy / Survival Biographies /
Traveler & Explorer Biographies
LanguageEnglish
ISBN-10/131643137468 / 978-1643137469

‘ETERNAL FATHER, STRONG TO SAVE’

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

William Whiting (1825-1878): Master of Winchester College Quiristers and author of the hymn “For Those in Peril on the Sea.” Source: https://www.classical-music.com/features/articles/eternal-father-strong-to-save-for-those-in-peril-on-the-sea-lyrics/ (July 14, 2023). What are the lyrics to ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ (‘For those in peril on the sea’)?

AUTHOR

Stephen McGinty is an award-winning journalist, author and producer. His documentary, based on his book Fire in the Night, won several awards. It won the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and both BAFTA and RTS awards for the “best single documentary.” His documentary Dunblane: Our Story also won a BAFTA award.

He’s not only authored for London’s The Sunday Times, but he has also written several other books: This Turbulent Priest; Churchill’s Cigar; Fire in the Night; The Piper Alpha Disaster and Camp Z: How MI5 cracked Hitler’s Deputy. Stephen currently lives in Scotland.

SYNOPSIS

The Dive recounts the little-known maritime accident that left two submariners, Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman, in a life-or-death struggle. The Pisces III, a deep ocean 3 man submersible, rapidly sank 1600 feet to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The men were faced with only two-days of life-giving air, one sandwich and one can of orange soda for sustenance. However, it would be three long days before the rescue ships could arrive; time was not on their side, and they knew it.

With time quickly evaporating, the entire recovery mission begins to look futile after two failed attempts to secure and raise the Pisces III. With only a few hours remaining, all looks lost. The rescuers are frantic to make another attempt to raise the sub before it’s too late; but time, the tide and the elements all seem to conspire against them.

Do they recover the Pisces lll with its fragile human cargo, or will the two men be consigned forever to a watery grave?

The whole World watches, waits and prays for the rescuers, and the two trapped crewmen.

CONCLUSION

The Dive is a three-in-one book: it is a condensed history of submarine technology, a history of submarine disasters, and a chronological account of Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman’s quest for survival. The first third of the book covers the history and associated technology of submarines. Whilst the rest of the book is devoted to the disaster aboard the Pisces III.  

Stephen McGinty provides an uncensored account, in grim and unflinching detail, of the disaster and the men’s tribulations while trapped inside the submarine. The narrative pivots around the intimate human trails of the two trapped submariners. Those experiences forged a unique and enduring life-long bond; a bond that us mere mortals can barely comprehend. The graphic descriptions leave the reader little doubt of how odorous, tense, ugly and stressful the saga was for the two submariners.

The emotional privations, along with the psychological and physical exhaustion that the two survivors suffered were particularly emotive. Their strength of character and their solidarity in adversity were eminently admirable and inspiring in the extreme. The experiences, as described, reminded me of the Apollo 13 space mission and the diverse range of challenges experienced by that crew. Both teams showed the ‘right stuff’ in aspects such as: attitude, fortitude, fraternity, and stoic acceptance in the face of their dire situations.

The narrative is well paced and concise enough to maintain the readers attention. Some technical descriptions are overly detailed, however, not reading or understanding them is unlikely to impact your appreciation or comprehension. 

Overall, the book was well rounded, compelling and educational. I, therefore, have no hesitation in recommending this fascinating manuscript to you.

Needless to say, I won’t be volunteering to deep dive anytime soon.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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