Rachel Lance - 'In the Waves' (online)
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On the night of February 17, 1864, the tiny Confederate submarine HL Hunley made its way toward the USS Housatonic just outside 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 HL Hunley lay in their watery graves, 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.
Much more than just a military perspective or a technical account, it is also the story of Lance’s single-minded obsession spanning three years.
Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer and blast-injury specialist who works as a scientific researcher on military diving projects at Duke University.
Rachel will be in conversation with Civil War lecturer Freddie Kiger.
"One part science book, one part historical narrative, one part memoir . . . harrowing and inspiring.”—The Wall Street Journal
How a determined scientist cracked the case of the first successful—and disastrous—submarine attack