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28308. Ellsberg, Commander Edward. On the Bottom. Flat Hammock Press. 2004.

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28308. Ellsberg, Commander Edward. On the Bottom. Flat Hammock Press. 2004.

28308. Ellsberg, Commander Edward. On the Bottom. Flat Hammock Press. 2004. 256 pages w/ photos, with added CD, & DVD. With an introduction by Edward L. Beach, Captain, U. S. Navy (Retired). First published in 1929, this enthralling work has become one of the greatest true stories of adventure, dogged determination, courage and loyalty ever written. On the evening of September 25, 1925 the U.S. Navy Submarine S-51 was rammed by the steamship SS City of Rome in open seas off Block Island, Rhode Island, and sank in 132 feet of water, with the loss of 33 lives. This disaster evoked such a storm of popular indignation against the Navy Department that something had to be done. It was felt that at all costs a determined attempt must be made to raise the S-51, if only to restore public confidence. No vessel had ever been raised from such a depth, and to the technical mind the thing was impossible. The task of salvaging the submarine fell to Lieutenant Commander Edward Ellsberg and a group of naval divers scavenged from all over the fleet. It was done painstakingly over a nine month period and involved obstacle after obstacle, all the while battling rough seas, icy waters, and “the bends.” Working in hard hats with lead boots, in minimal light, while dragging air lines behind them, each diver had about an hour of exhausting and terrifying work before a lengthy decompression process. It is no exaggeration to say that the impossible was achieved. Originally published in 1929, this magnificent account of the struggle on the ocean floor to salvage the sunken U.S. Navy submarine, S-51, has become a modern classic of the sea. What was not included in Edward Ellsberg’s gripping account are specifics of the accident, the aftermath, and the extent that the event touched the nation. This expanded edition presents this and more by including an introduction, a publisher’s preface, additional photographs, an afterword, and appendixes. Also added is a recording of the period song “Sinking of the Submarine S-51,” an oral history by Commander Ellsberg, and a video disc of rare on scene newsreel footage. “A marvelous tale, filled with moments of horrified expectancy, of glad thrills, of impossible deeds and endurances, of achievements that smack of magic.” (The New York Times). (M). $34.95

Admiral Ellsberg was a man of many unique and diverse talents, and his achievements ranged from submarine salvage, petroleum engineering, public speaking, heroic salvage and engineering feats during World War II, to the authoring of seventeen books. His salvage of the S-51 in 1925-26 was the first time a submarine had been salvaged in the open ocean. Several of Ellsberg’s inventions, including the underwater cutting torch, stabilized pontoons, and a system to rapidly raise a sunken sub were developed for this Herculean task. While he was chief engineer of Tidewater Oil he developed several patents for the oil refining business. As a public speaker he was prolific, first about the raising of the S-51, and then in the 1930’s his speeches were about preparedness for war. During World War II his salvage and engineering feats had a major impact on the outcome of the war. Few American naval officers have been as unconventional as Edward Ellsberg and still managed to rise to the rank of rear admiral. In 1941 Ellsberg managed to refloat two Italian dry docks that everyone considered unsalvageable. Then, as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s salvage officer for North Africa, he unblocked the sabotaged port of Oran, raised more dry docks, and rescued torpedoed ships. In 1944 he was instrumental in preparing the artificial harbors that made the Normandy landings a success. These World War II accomplishments earned Ellsberg the Order of the British Empire but only reluctant notice from his own navy, although he exerted a lasting influence on U.S. submarine recovery operations. If these achievements weren’t enough, he wrote seventeen books chronicling his career, arctic exploration, sunken treasure and other topics.