What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

Updated 06 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

A terrorist attack disables a US Navy submarine in dangerously deep waters off the coast of Florida. The navy is compelled to use its least-favorite strategy to complete a rescue of the submarine crew: Send divers to extreme depths. 

Can a team of the navy’s best ultra-deep divers perform this mission? When things go perilously wrong, can a novel approach in diving physiology that has not been fully tested under controlled laboratory conditions save the rescuers? The plot twists back and forth in time between calm and happy days of friends working together in the laboratory, and the drama of the rescue mission. The story is told from the uncommon viewpoint of the rescuers, not the rescued.

In this tale, Susan R. Kayar, Ph.D., a former physiologist in the Decompression Sickness Research Program of the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, weaves together 21st century technology in disabled submarine rescue and saturation diving with 20th century diving physiology, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

It is a thrilling deep-sea adventure that truly captures the emotional camaraderie, life-and-death bravery and can-do spirit of both the rescuers and those trapped deep below on the icy black ocean floor.


What We Are Reading Today: The Fire Is upon Us by Nicholas Buccola

Updated 56 min 40 sec ago

What We Are Reading Today: The Fire Is upon Us by Nicholas Buccola

On Feb. 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. 

The topic was “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro,” and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. 

Nicholas Buccola’s The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America’s racial divide today, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Born in New York City only 15 months apart, the Harlem-raised Baldwin and the privileged Buckley could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. 

By the time they met in Cambridge, Buckley was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.”