ISBN 9781524744175, 1524744174
Trade Paperback | 368 pages
Now in paperback, a thrilling tale of science, adventure, and a historical mystery: how an inventive female scientist cracked the case of the first successful—and disastrous—submarine attack.
On the night of February 17, 1864, a tiny Confederate submarine, the H.L. Hunley, made its way toward the USS Housatonic just outside the Charleston harbor. Within a matter of hours, the Union ship’s stern was blown open in a spray of wood planks. The explosion sank the ship, killing many of its crew. And the submarine, the first ever to be successful in combat, disappeared without a trace.
For 131 years the eight-man crew of the H.L. Hunley lay in their watery grave, undiscovered. When finally raised, the narrow metal vessel revealed a puzzling sight. There was no indication the blast had breached the hull, and all eight men were still seated at their stations—frozen in time after more than a century. Why did it sink? Why did the men die? Archaeologists and conservationists have been studying the boat and the remains for years, and now one woman has the answers.
In the Waves is much more than just a military perspective or a technical account. It’s also the story of Rachel Lance’s single-minded obsession over three years, the story of the extreme highs and lows in her quest to find all the puzzle pieces of the Hunley. She suffered from borderline hypothermia, but she also realized she has parents who will drive across the country to sit in a muddy pond for her. She has scars from being bitten by fish, but she also met the love of her life. Balancing a gripping historical tale and original research with a personal story of professional and private obstacles, In the Waves is an enthralling look at a unique part of the Civil War and the lengths one scientist would go to uncover its secrets.