Book Review: The H.L. Hunley Submarine

The H. L. Hunley Submarine by Fran Hawk
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

The mysteries of the Hunley submarine are finally being answered! But even more mysteries remain to be discovered in connection with this Civil War submarine wrecked outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Starting with the story of Lt. George Dixon and his miraculous survival at the Battle of Shiloh, and including the innovative vision of Horace Hunley, this book covers the history of the men who designed and commanded the H. L. Hunley “fish boat” until she sank in 1864.

This book is wonderfully written in a way that engages the reader, and keeps your interest through every chapter. I loved the colorful illustrations, photos, and diagrams in this book, which really brought the story to life.

 There are so many interesting little details about the history of the Hunley and how the shipwreck was found, brought up, and preserved. The writing is vivid and even witty at times. I found the whole thing fascinating!

I only wish there were more diagrams showing the inside of the Hunley and how she worked. I want to know about all the gears and levers and valves and stuff! This book left me hungry for even more information, so I guess I’ll have to travel to Charleston and see the Hunley in a museum someday!

At the end of the book, there is additional information about the roles of conservators, archaeologists, and details about what they really do on a project like bringing up the Hunley and preserving the artifacts. It encourages the reader to make their own theories and discoveries if they want to pursue the same kind of research.

I liked that we don’t just hear about the Hunley, but also see a snippet of Civil War history and how important the Hunley was to protecting a strategic seaport like Charleston. There were a lot of hopes put into the Hunley, and expectations that a working submarine would change the course of the war. I liked seeing how this one naval project fit into the larger picture of the Civil War.

I would recommend this book for readers ages 7-15. There is a lot of great information packed into this book, but it wouldn’t go over the heads of little kids, and would still be interesting for teens and even adults to read. I loved it!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts and are influenced by anyone.

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