Pat Anderson has produced a well-researched chronological account of the world’s first peaceful use of nuclear energy. This picture-filled Nautilus Trilogy allows the reader to easily gain knowledge of the USS Nautilus from the laying of the keel to decommissioning. Included also is a less well-known part of Nautilus’ history, the political battle that eventually brought our Grand Lady home to Groton, Connecticut. Thankfully, she rests proudly at the pier of the Submarine Force Library and Museum – a national landmark everyone is welcome to experience. 

Gary S. Schmid
USS Nautilus 1968-1971
President, Nautilus Alumni Association 2016-2018
Past Member, Connecticut Governor’s Nautilus Committee

Nautilus Trilogy provides a comprehensive and meticulously researched history of the world’s first nuclear submarine plus information never before available pertinent to Nautilus’ historic under-ice explorations. This is a unique book and the material presented is timeless and appropriate for all ages.

Admiral Steven A. White, USN (Retired)
Former Chief of Navy Material
USS Nautilus 1957-1960

Pat Anderson’s book Nautilus Trilogy takes the reader on a wonderful walk through the history surrounding the birth of nuclear power and construction of USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first atomic submarine. Pat’s attention to detail and carefully researched newspaper articles, press releases, and other documents of the day give the reader a sense of being front and center for each major event and underscores the sacrifice and dedication of the nuclear pioneers on whose shoulders we stand today.

Tommy Robinson
USS Nautilus 1963-1967
Author, Steely Eyed Killers of the Deep,
A Collection of [Nautilus] Sea Stories, Memories, Musings, and More (2013)



     This book is about one thing: the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The exciting story of how and why she is now the Historic Ship Nautilus comes to life in a sequential array of hundreds of period photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, transcripts of speeches and interviews, official navy records, personal diaries and letters, and much more.

     The telling of the Nautilus story in this way has been in my head since 2004, the year my late husband, Captain William R. Anderson, and I visited the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. He was writing a second book about the three under-ice polar explorations untaken while he was the commanding officer of Nautilus. The final, world-famous under-ice crossing of the Arctic Ocean via the north pole had been a top-secret mission personally authorized by President Eisenhower.

     Quite frankly, my husband did not want to go to the Eisenhower Library as much as I did and I understood why. His memory remained keen to the day he died in 2007 but he suffered from macular degeneration and it was very difficult and tiresome for him to read without the aid of the bulky, heavy “reading” machine on his desk. Besides, we already had boxes and boxes of period material. How could we need more?

     The negative mood disappeared when we began uncovering pertinent material previously unknown. We examined (by way of my eyes) folder after folder of letters, calendars, press releases, newspaper clippings, and memoranda produced by the men and women who worked in the White House fifty years earlier, many of whom my husband knew personally. By the end of our first day at the Library, he wanted to find a really good restaurant and talk over our findings.

     It’s always great when your husband suggests eating out, but this gesture was as close as he came to admitting that he regretted resisting the idea of going to the Library and was glad I kept pushing for the trip. I do not remember where we ate dinner that night, but I will never forget the fun, excitement really, that Bill and I experienced literally turning the pages of history at the Eisenhower Library.

     Now my goal was to create a book that readers of any age could experience turning the pages of Nautilus history. Moreover, telling her story in a highly graphic manner would add a meaningful dimension to the detailed narratives of my husband’s books, Nautilus 90 North (1959) with Clay Blair and The Ice Diaries (2008) with Don Keith.

     I accomplished little toward my book idea until 2017 when I happened to share my dream with Wanda Sells, the supportive and energetic wife of James Sells (Nautilus 1963-1 967), and the chair of the Nautilus Alumni Association’s 2018 reunion. Wanda took me seriously and suggested I contact their son, John, who grew up listening to his father’s sea stories and had computer and graphic layout skills to boot!

     One conversation with John and the ball began rolling. John and Dawn hauled themselves and lots of scanning, photographic, and computer equipment to meet me in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of University Libraries, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and the permanent home of my husband’s artifacts of his political and naval careers. Some weeks later, the entire Sells trio and I met at the Submarine Force Library and Museum, Groton, Connecticut, for four more days of scanning old documents.

     Meanwhile, John Yuill and I discussed adding his wonderful, historically accurate Nautilus drawings to the mix. Suddenly, I had thousands of documents—enough material for several books. Enter Gary Zambrana, a family friend of 20 years. I begged his help and out of respect for my husband, for whom Gary had performed miracles on faded, wrinkled old photographs, Gary agreed to immerse himself in documents and computer graphics to create Nautilus Trilogy.

     One last note: The documents are the real thing, enhanced to improve readability. Long narratives were retyped, formatted for the book, and appropriate photographs inserted. Some documents were “rebuilt” to retain original look and feel. I have done my best to identify sources and photo credits.

     I hope you enjoy the second edition of Nautilus Trilogy, dedicated to the 1958 PANOPOs.

Patricia Walters Anderson

August 3, 2023


Nautilus Trilogy with Dust Jacket

Underneath is navy blue hardcover,
with gold stamping.


Before the wonder of John Glenn orbiting the earth, before the wonder of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, there was the wonder of Nautilus, the first atomic submarine and the first vessel of any kind to cross the Arctic Ocean under all that ice, straight across the North Pole.…



Patricia Walters Anderson

For over 31 years, until his death in 2007, Pat was the wife and business partner of Captain William R. Anderson, the commander of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) during the first under-ice explorations in 1957 as well as Nautilus’ historic top-secret mission to transit the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 1958. They had two children, Jane and Thomas. Pat lives in Alexandria, Virginia, to be close to granddaughters Olivia and Evie.


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