Under Pressure

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What to expect

‘One of the finest memoirs published in recent years.’ Dan Jones

‘An utterly fascinating and wonderfully detailed insight into the hidden world of the modern submarine.’ James Holland

A candid, visceral, and incredibly entertaining account of what it’s like to live in one of the most extreme environments in the world.

Imagine a world without natural light, where you can barely stand up straight for fear of knocking your head, where you have no idea of where in the world you are or what time of day it is, where you sleep in a coffin-sized bunk and sometimes eat a full roast for breakfast.

Now imagine sharing that world with 140 other sweaty bodies, crammed into a 430ft x 33ft steel tube, 300ft underwater, for up to 90 days at a time, with no possibility of escape. And to top it off, a sizeable chunk of your living space is taken up by the most formidably destructive nuclear weapons history has ever known. This is the world of the submariner. This is life under pressure.

As a restless and adventurous 18-year-old, Richard Humphreys joined the submarine service in 1985 and went on to serve aboard the nuclear deterrent for five years at the end of the Cold War. Nothing could have prepared him for life beneath the waves. Aside from the claustrophobia and disorientation, there were the prolonged periods of boredom, the constant dread of discovery by the Soviets, and the smorgasbord of rank odours that only a group of poorly-washed and flatulent submariners can unleash.

But even in this most pressurised of environments, the consolations were unique: where else could you sit peacefully for hours listening to whale song, or…

Based on first-hand experience, Under Pressure is the candid, visceral and incredibly entertaining account of what it’s like to live, work, sleep, eat – and stay sane – in one of the most extreme man-made environments on the planet.

Critics Review

  • Under Pressure is an extraordinary memoir of life aboard an underwater weapon of mass destruction. By turns hilarious and terrifying, profane and poignant, there were passages where I gasped aloud, and others where I laughed until the tears came. A deep dive into a life vanishingly few of us will ever know, this is one of the finest memoirs published in recent years.’ Dan Jones, bestselling author of The Templars

    ‘If you wanna read something great, this is it. The murky world of life on a Royal Navy submarine. What really happens. The trials, tribulations, tears and laughter of living under pressure!’ Jason Fox, bestselling author of Battle Scars

    ‘An utterly fascinating and wonderfully detailed insight into the hidden – and frequently disorientating and claustrophobic – world of the modern submariner, this richly compelling and hugely entertaining memoir brilliantly conveys the tension, huge responsibility, culture and, of course, humour, of being a crewman on the nuclear deterrent.’ James Holland, author of Normandy `44:D-Day and the Battle for France

    ‘A vivid, honest and very funny account of life as a submariner at the height of the Cold War.’ James Jinks, co-author of The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945

    ‘A visceral trip down under’

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