Walter Hall


Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack that Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic. By Francis M. Carroll. Annapolis, MD. Naval Institute Press, 2012. 254 pp. 41 photographs. Notes, bibliography and index. $29.95

Reviewed by Walter Hall

“It’s the end of the world; the end of everything.” US Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt on eve of Britain’s declaration of war, Sept 3, 1939.

December 14, 2012 (San Diego)--Very few readers today will remember that the first Americans killed in World War II were not at Pearl Harbor. Almost two years earlier, 30 Americans were among the 112 lost when the German torpedo that opened the Battle for the Atlantic struck and doomed the Donaldson Lines ship Athenia



I’M IN THE TUB, GONE. By Richard James Carlson


Publish America, Baltimore. 2004. 123 pages.
Available at the San Diego Police Museum and on


Reviewed by Walter Hall


“Today is the final day of this life…”


Only once in a long while do we encounter a book that just won’t let go. This is one of those books. The subject is suicide; the format is simple: a collection of the notes left behind. Identities are protected, but the texts are rendered just as they were found. Unvarnished. No commentary. Just a last wish, an edgy accusation, or a lonely cry against the coming night. Each voice wallops the unsuspecting reader from a different corner of life.


An experienced SDPD emergency negotiator, Richard Carlson introduces the collected letters and notes with a personal appeal not to give up. He is addressing two audiences: those who would consider taking their lives and the rest of us. After absorbing even a handful of these notes, readers will find it difficult to argue.