Although the editor’s review and subsequent commentary on our book Cold War Submarines probably represents the longest book review in the history of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, he has still not described the unique features of the book. For example, it provides the first comprehensive description of Soviet submarine design efforts during the Cold War, both submarines built and not built. The book was written in collaboration with the two major Soviet submarine design bureaus, with several other Russian submarine-related institutions contributing. And, the book’s I 00-plus photos include many not previously published in the West, and also 80 line drawings, most produced specifically for Cold War Submarines.
But the editor chose to concentrate his comments on our alleged efforts to question the accomplishments (and failures) of Admiral Rickover. To prove his point, in the April 2005 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, the editor cites the last line of the book.
That single line is somewhat misleading when taken out of context. The final line answers a key question that must be asked when considering U.S. and Soviet submarine developments during the Cold War. The two previous paragraphs of the book read:
Since it appears unlikely that there will be a conflict between the United States and Russia in the foreseeable future, especially in view of the decrease in Russian submarine production rates and operating tempos, it is unlikely that U.S. and Russian submarines will ever be measured in combat. Thus, the answer to the question of which approaches to submarine research and development, design, construction, manning, training, support, and operations are superior may never be answered, or at least until some time in the future when currently classified information is revealed.
Still, considering the industrial, manpower, and operational limitations of the Soviet state, the Soviet achievements in submarine design and construction appear even more impressive. In discussing those achievements at the Malachite submarine design bureau in St. Petersburg, one of the Russian engineers leaned across the conference table and asked one of the authors of this book:
“Do you know how this situation came about?”
In response to our puzzlement he declared: “We had competition in submarine design. You [in Rickover] had Stalinism!”
Again, the reader of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is urged to read Cold War Submarines and to make his or her own conclusion.