Book Review: Hidden Warships by Nicholas A. Veronico

While not strictly military history, Hidden Warships is a very interesting book nonetheless.  It details how and where to visit many shipwrecks and sunken ships from World War II all over the world.

The book is 237 pages of text with many images in both color and B/W.  It is organized into five topical parts with an epilogue, appendices, bibliography, and an index.  The bibliography is especially noteworthy as it lists an extensive series of websites where you can go to learn more not just about wreck-diving but the course of the naval war in World War II.  Each chapter includes a brief historical note about the ship or ships that are the focus of that chapter that explains the events leading up to the crafts sinking either during the war or in the post war years.

The first section concentrates on the Pearl Harbor attack and the wrecks from that attack that are in Pearl Harbor itself but also in the ocean near the islands.  It also has an interesting chapter about the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales which were sunk by Japanese aircraft off the Malay Peninsula in the opening months of the war.

I found the two chapters about the wrecks of Truk Lagoon and Bikini Atoll very interesting and informative.  Both locations are well-known even outside the diving world for the sheer numbers of wrecks they contain although bikini is better known because it was the location of the immediate post-World War II nuclear testing by the United States.  The final section about ships that have survived the war and avoided being scrapped was the most interesting.  I have visited several of the ships highlighted in this section and the information presented was accurate for all the locations I have personally visited.  The second appendix is very useful.  It is a list of all surviving World War II vessels and where they are located.

Overall this is a very interesting book.  The descriptions and histories of the ships are well-written and the illustrations that accompany the text are excellent.  I recommend this for anyone who has ever been interested in wondering what happened to ships sunk in World War II.  It is extremely interesting even for someone like me who will probably never dive on one of the wrecks but the photos in the book are so good that you can dive vicariously, as it were.  An excellent book.