U-505: The Lone Wolf of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

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9781591149675: U-505: The Lone Wolf of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

On 4 June 1944 the German submarine U-505 became the first man-of-war captured by the U.S. Navy in battle on the high seas since the War of 1812. Attacked by the American hunter-killer force Task Group 22.3 off the coast of West Africa, the 750-ton U-boat was forced to the surface after a fierce bombardment. Abandoned by the crew while partially afloat, it was boarded by American sailors and secretly towed to Bermuda. Renamed USS Nemo, it made a war bond subscription tour before docking to await scrapping. The book offers a vivid description of these events and continues the story by explaining how U-505 became a major attraction at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Author Jim Wise tells of the efforts of Dan Gallery, the commander of Task Group 22.3, to convince the Navy to transfer U-505’s ownership to the museum in his native Chicago. Wise chronicles the boat’s arduous journey down the St. Lawrence River and across three Great Lakes to the shores of Lake Michigan for restoration. He then offers a memorable description of the staggering engineering feat that moved the boat overland to an outdoor exhibit area at the museum, where it was opened to the public in 1954. By the turn of the century, museum executives determined that nearly fifty years of exposure to the elements and more than 24 million visitors had taken their toll. They raised millions of dollars to restore the U-boat and build an indoor site four stories below ground that the author calls an architectural wonder. In addition to the fully restored boat, there is an exhibit area filled with artifacts and interactive stations to give visitors a taste of what it was like for the crewmen in battle. Some two hundred photographs of the U-boat and exhibit are included in the book.

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About the Author:

James E. Wise Jr., a former naval aviator and intelligence specialist, is the coauthor of many books published by the Naval Institute, including Soldiers Lost at Sea, Stars in Blue, and Shooting the War.

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