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Heart of Oak (Panther Books) [Paperback]

Tristan Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Aug 1985 Panther Books
The story of the author's eventful service in the Royal Navy during World War II and the time he spent at home in Wales on leave. It includes eyewitness accounts of the battle between HMS "Hood" and the "Bismark", the sinking of the "Bismark", and the final moments of the "Scharnhorst".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Triad Books; New edition edition (1 Aug 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586060553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586060551
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 817,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read 12 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book came to my attention after researching the HMS Comorin. My Uncle died onboard the ship when it caught fire in April 1941. There were recollections from Tristan Jones on the internet about the incident so I therefore got the book where the stories originated.

However I think his recollections stray from the real events, the Comorin is called the Cameroon in the book and you are left wondering if his stories are fact or fiction! They may be based on his adventures but how far from the truth are they?

That besides, its a great read and gives you a valuable insight into the conditions the seamen were subjected to.

I always thought my Uncle died in the fire onboard but it may well be that he was one of many drowned trying to reach the HMS Hood.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tale of Life in the WWII Royal Navy 29 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Always the consumate story teller, Tristan Jones relates his experiences as an enlisted man in the Royal Navy with a sense of realism that is so missing from many other accounts. In particular, his ability to put the reader into the world of the matelots (enlisted sailors) sheds light on a part of military history that has often been ignored. This is of particular importance when looking at the WWII Royal Navy, with it's rigid class divisions and the almost parallel worlds that existed between officers and men on RN ships. Many WWII accounts came from RN officers, with their often highly paternalistic and class bound accounts of the actions of their ships and crews. Jones takes you inside the very dynamic societies that existed in those thin skinned steel tombs that sailed the Atlantic.
Jones's account also offers a rare glimpse of the world of the boy sailor, a rank now abolished but the starting point for many of the previous generations of RN sailors. I personally met a WWII vet who, like Jones, had started as a boy sailor in the Royal Navy, and he vouched for the accuracy of Jones's tale.
An excellent read, and a often gripping look at the life of the ordinary (and often extraordinary) men who sailed the ships that won the war.
Highly recommended
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping war and sea story 19 Aug 2002
By Stephen Schwartz - Published on
Heart of Oak is one the finest war books and sea stories that I have read. I found it hard to put down. Although the intensity of the war and its effects on the men was depressing, I was compelled to keep reading.
Jones' gives the reader a different and personal perspective--that of the lowly, poor, and teenage sailor; looked down upon by everyone else and facing death, boredom, and discomfort constantly.
I agree with another reviewer that it is unlikely that Jones witnessed as much as he claimed, and I cannot attest to the accuracy of his descriptions of life aboard His Majesty's Navy, but there is a truthfullness and sincerity in Jones' narative that I find totally convincing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid, first-hand view of life in the WWII British Navy 9 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
A welshman's soulful and realistic retelling of a matelot's live in Her Majesty's Navy during the dark days of World War II. Tristan Jones recounts his experiences with all the colour and song of a poet; a sea poet - and that he is. The lives of these men carry with you long after reading this book. Put Tristan Jones near the top of my favorite author's list.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant storyteller 5 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
A very good example of the British Navy during WWII. Can it be proven that he saw both the Hood and the Bismark go down? Who cares! It is still a wonderful read as only Tristan can tell.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 for fantasy 16 Jun 2005
By Graeme J. W. Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a terrific book - and I have enjoyed it for many years. However I recently discovered it is - as Anthony Dalton's new biography of Jones shows - complete fiction - in the sense that Jones was never at any of the events he described. In fact he didn't join the Royal Navy till AFTER World War II.

But that is not to diminish the writing of the tale - Jones imaginings make for a "real" perspective of life in the lower decks of the WWII Royal Navy - and I imagne that in his immediate post-was career in the navy he learned enough to set the scene accurately.

But remember - it is a work of fiction - set on a real historical timeline - but still a good read.
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