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Das Boot (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) [Paperback]

Lothar Gunther Buchheim
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

3 Jun 1999 CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS
It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic. Their targets now travel in convoys, fiercely guarded by Royal Navy destroyers, and when contact is finally made the hunters rapidly become the hunted. As the U-boat is forced to hide beneath the surface of the sea a cat-and-mouse game begins, where the increasing claustrophobia of the submarine becomes an enemy just as frightening as the depth charges that explode around it. Of the 40,000 men who served on German submarines, 30,000 never returned. Written by a survivor of the U-boat fleet, DAS BOOT is a psychological drama merciless in its intensity, and a classic novel of the Second World War.

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Das Boot (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) + Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004] + Das Boot (Director's Cut) [DVD] [1998]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (3 Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304352314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304352319
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 13 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Book Description

Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama.

From the Back Cover

Four detonations in quick succession, then the mad gurgle and roar of the black flood . . . a cold hand creeps under my collar and runs down my back. I shudder.

This is the story of a German U-boat, her commander and her crew, as they embark upon yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Weeks in a small metal tube twenty feet by two hundred feet with fifty other men. Weeks of unbearable tension and terror. Weeks of crushing boredom, as the condensation drips down the walls and mould slowly blooms on the food.

Written by a survivor of the U-boat fleet, this is a novel but not a work of fiction. Das Boot is one of the best and most truthful stories ever written about men in combat; a withering condemnation of the insanity of war.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I wish I could write as well as Buchheim can. His vivid descriptions embroil you in the emotions of the Boat every page of the way. And the ending - well, I won't give it away but if you don't find yourself wishing it had happened differently - there's something wrong with you.
The Boat covers a single wartime patrol of U-A in 1941, operating in the Atlantic Ocean. The story (a true one) is told through the eyes of a naval correspondant, Buchheim, and is typical of it's time. Repeatedly depth-charged and bombed, it vividly paints the picture of survival against the odds (on both sides), the frustrations, the fears and the outright terrors of war.
As other reviewers have noted, there is almost certainly something lost in the translation to English. British readers should note that this is an American translation, and the occasional "Americanism" (buddy, ass, that sort of thing) does crop up and intrude some how. If you can find the "British English" translation, it is easier to read.
Despite that minor criticism, I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who is interested in War, Naval matters, or history. Forget the 2-hour film and the 2.5hr "directors cut" - they both lose too much of the story. Read the book. It's impossible to do in one sitting, but you will try.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I read this because I am a great fan of Wolfgang Petersen's original six one-hour episode film version (sadly not the woeful 1.5 hour version with dubbed voices made for the US market). It's no wonder the film was so good. The imagery of life as a WW2 German submariner, the sordid shore-leaves, the squalor of life on board and the sheer terror of being under attack is so powerful that the lives of the characters seem to be carrying on even on the occassions when you are able to put the book down.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of survival 23 Sep 2002
Format:Paperback
Set in the late part of 1941, the U Boats no longer enjoys mastery of the Atlantic. The author, as an official Naval correspondant, joins the crew of UA a Type VII-C boat(the stable horse of the U Boat fleet) to write of life at sea.
It would be wrong to give away too much detail, as this book certainly deserves the reputation it has as one of the best war stories ever written. Those who have an interest in Naval battles or those who are interested in World War 2 will find this a truly amazing story. The author does well to describe the key characters; 'The Old Man', The Chief and the 1st and 2nd Watch Officers. Also we meet Johann, the Chief Mechanic, and a number of other crew members, all who have a key role to play onboard the submarine.
You can hear the diesel motors hammering, experience the claustrophobia, lack of personal space, frustration and boredom, sense the combined fear, excitement and exhileration during an attack, and picture the helpless situation of the crew during a depth charge run.
It is quite a long story at just over 550 pages, but has an addictive quality which makes it very hard to put down. The men do not seem to think that they are in any way brave, they just know they have to obey orders and carry out their duty. From start to finish this is compulsive reading.
The film starring Jurgen Prochnow as 'The Old Man' should also be watched, as this is a rare occasion where the film is as good as the book. If you enjoy Das Boot, consider also reading 'Iron Coffins' by Herbert Werner(one of the few surviving U Boat Captains) and also Hirschfeld's 'The secret diary of a U Boat' written by a serving radio operator.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authenticity and Claustrophobia 28 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I returned to 'Das Boot' after a 20 year absence and it proved as compelling a read as I remembered it. The story, seen through the eyes of a journalist on board to write a propaganda article, follows a German U-Boat on a single patrol in the Atlantic at a time in late 1941 when the convey system and Allied technological advances were beginning to turn the tide of battle. The book is thinly autobiographical - the author did actually sail in such a journalistic capacity on a U-boat in that period - although I suspect that the exploits described are an amalgam of the experiences of several U-boats. Certainly the dramatic and poignant ending is culled from an incident with a different boat later in the war.

Despite the success of the film adaptation this is not an all action Hollywood blood and thunder story. Indeed at 560 pages the pace can at times be a little slow. Unless you have a particularly technical or nautical mind the lengthy descriptions of the mechanical workings of the boat, especially in the early chapters, can drag. But its worth sticking with it because the length is also the book's strength. It serves well to build and emphasise the boredom, routine, claustrophobia and tension experienced by the crew. You get the impression that this is a deeply authentic picture of a WW2 submariners life, right down to the graphic and earthy descriptions of every day life and conversations on board. There are no heroes and no villains. Just scared but stoical men attempting to do their duty with all the moral ambiguities that sometimes implied. The characters are one dimensional, little or nothing is known about their private lives but this too is, I am sure, consistent with the reality of serving men reluctant to let slip their brittle protective facemask of nonchalent bravado.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read even for someone who, like me, has seen the film.
I'd like to start by correcting another reviewer. This book is a work of fiction, based on real life events. Read more
Published 1 month ago by GDD
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written account
A very well written account od one mans experience during world war 2. The fact that so many were lost indicates how this must have been
Published 5 months ago by BC Chandler
5.0 out of 5 stars U2 should read this!
I first saw the film and then read the book. Loved them both. Dont worry if you have seen the film first as this will not spoil your enjoyment but enhance it even more. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars classic
It's an amalgam of true or trui-ish stories all compressed into one patrol. I don't know if the writer was using hindsight, but I was struck by the difference between the crew's... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Fascinating to read of the WW2 submarine conflict from the other side. Regardless of your nationality they were remarkable men.
Published 9 months ago by Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
very good read about a part of war that is not always understood
bit slow to begin but builds up to climax and makes you aware of the stress these crews when thro
Published 12 months ago by laurie coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ
EXCELLENT AND PROMPT SERVICE. GREAT READ FORM FIRST TO LAST PAGE. WILL TELL MATES AT WORK.COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.
Published 13 months ago by MR GRAHAM K WHEELER
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, highly recommended
In the beginning I found the book a bit "disappointing" but soon realised that author purposely makes reader bored when the boat's crew is bored, when crew is stressed somehow... Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2011 by gloxius
3.0 out of 5 stars Not The Best Edition
Das Boot is an incredible story well told and deserves better than this Cassell paperback edition. Das Boot a long story which here is printed on cheap paper and has been crammed... Read more
Published on 18 Mar 2010 by Mrs EeBea
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit and mind wrenched by war
This is a unique piece of writing from it's drink sodden start to it's terrible, wrenching finish. It's long at over 500 pages but, after the first chapter, impossible to put down. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Mr. M. D. Clift
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