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Book written at USS Silversides Museum inspires TV show

Dylan Goetz • Jun 30, 2018 at 12:00 PM

MUSKEGON — The Smithsonian Channel is launching the second season of “Hell Below,” a five-part series showcasing the strategic decisions made by military submariners during World War II, inspired by a book written at the USS Silversides Museum in Muskegon.

The season premiere, called “In Enemy Waters,” will air at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 1.

The book, “The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines That Battled Japan,” was released in 2013. It was entirely researched at the USS Silversides Museum.

“It’s pretty darn amazing,” said Peggy Maniates, the museum’s executive director. “(The book) both has military and personal aspects.”

Author James Scott spoke at the museum in 2015 after the book debuted.

The book focuses on three U.S. submarines that helped win World War II in the Pacific Theater. Maniates said the book chronicles everything from an emergency appendectomy performed with kitchen utensils to stories of American prisoners of war. The casualty rate among submariners topped that of all other military branches, according to the book’s description.

Research for the book included more than 100 interviews with veterans and thousands of unpublished letters and diaries from World War II.

“The biggest thing we like to do here is honor the veterans,” Maniates said of the museum, located at 1346 Bluff St. “It’s so easy to forget how much they give to our country.”

The museum, which is entirely privately funded, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is putting on a re-enactment event Saturday, July 7, in which historians and re-enactors will portray the crew of the Silversides in its heyday. There will also be German re-enactors portraying sailors to discuss the other side of the conflict.

For more information, visit silversidesmuseum.org.

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