"All eight men inside were found resting at their battle stations. None showed any signs of skeletal trauma. None appeared to have made any attempt to escape the vessel. ... It looked as if all eight men simply sat back, relaxed, and died."
It was another mystery. One that Rachel Lance, a biomedical engineer and blast injury specialist, was determined to solve. She was a grad student at Duke at the time and thought the Hunley might make a good research paper. In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine is her account of the Hunley and how she figured out what really happened to it all those years ago.
"If people near a bomb die, I always suspect the bomb first."
Lance combines her own personal fascination with the Civil War vessel, with well-researched historic accounts of it, along with the modern-day science and technology she used to prove her hypothesis. And she certainly did her research! There were times the narrative bogged down a bit with all the technical details, but overall this book is a well-written and oddly compelling read. And I learned a lot about black powder, shock waves, and certain historic figures like Horace Hunley, one of the men involved in the funding and building of the submarine, who actually died on one of its test runs. This ended up being a very interesting book.