Silent and Unseen: On Patrol in Three Cold War Attack Submarines

Silent and Unseen: On Patrol in Three Cold War Attack Submarines is an excellent memoir by Alfred Scott McLaren during his time as a submariner during the Cold War. McLaren served on three different attack submarines: USS Greenfish, USS Seadragon, and USS Skipjack. In the chapters, McLaren takes the reader on a thrilling journey as he patrols the world’s oceans to keep America’s shores safe. The author not only tells about the missions, but the relationship he had with his crew mates as well as his daily routine aboard the subs in between missions. Often, in a submarine, you are under water for long periods of time cramped in a small space with your not only your crew mates, but unwanted vermin like cockroaches. McLaren realizes this and concludes that you just have to live with it until the sub can be brought to port so it can be fumigated.

“At a depth of six hundred feet we made a series of sonar runs at various speeds in the near vicinity of the iceberg.”

Silent and Unseen reads like a bona fide maritime adventure novel, minus the pirates. It’s truly a monumental account of what it is like to pilot an attack submarine. If you’re thinking about joining the Navy, or if you’re even remotely interested in military history, this is definitely the book for you.