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Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939-1942 Paperback – 1 Aug 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publications; Reprint edition (1 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679640320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679640325
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,139,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Lloyd on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
This might be the definitive command history of the U-Boat campaign in the first half of WWII. The book is in 2 parts, the campaign vs the British Empire to December 1941 and the campaign vs the Amercas to December 1942. It is a monumental work; 700 pages without the appendices. The book documents every important U-boat voyage and, on many voyages, accounts for every torpedo expended. This is a command history focusing on combat actions and tactics. There is less emphasis on human factors such as the experiences and perspectives of the crews of the U-Boats, escorts and merchantmen. For example, there are few quotations from first hand accounts. This stands in the way of the book being the definitive history of the campaign.

The author was a submariner in the US Navy in the Pacific in WWII. He provides refreshing and frank assessments of British and German decisions and capabilities. There is a more partisan tone to his treatment of USN leaders and decisions. He is concerned to bolster the reputations of the USN and its CinC Admiral King vis a vis British criticism, decisions by President Roosevelt and the rivalry of the US Army Air Force. The book fully integrates an account of the intelligence war and code breaking with the combat actions of the U-Boat campaigns. This is a great strength. There are many other fascinating pieces of information: how the Germans solved the problem of faulty torpedoes by copying captured British models; how the much vaunted Type VII U-Boat design to took several years and versions to 'de-bug'; and the disproprtionate importance of a cadre of aggressive and experienced U-Boat captains to the tonnage war.

The analytical component of the book is overshadowed by the length and detail of the chronological narrative.
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Format: Hardcover
I suspect this is very close to being a sort of definitive volume in terms of the detail included. You really would have to do a lot of research yourself to verify everything Blair says, but he has an authoritative manner, and there are many many names and facts included. (Actually - more than I needed, and I rather ended up skimming over paragraphs.)

However, Blair is a bit too dismissive of other authors, and interprets some themes of the U-Boat war along his own ideology, rather than the true historian's approach of allowing facts to speak for themselves. He certainly comes across as a bit negative towards the British, and also Roosevelt, whereas King's critics are roundly attacked time and again. I suppose it was difficult to limit himself only to naval matters, but his glimpses into other aspects (e.g. code-breaking) let his research down a bit.

Still - if you want to know more or less exactly what happened, and to feel a bit excited from time to time (he does describe action pretty well) then this is for you.

I read it on my Kindle Paperwhite - and felt a bit crushed when it said there were 12 hours to go... It is a long book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr A S Chmielowski on 10 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read other books on this topic, but this book takes the Oscar on this topic. It is an excellent well researched book as well as being a brilliant read. Well worth buying !!!
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By Yossarian on 16 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The definitive history of the U Boats at war, and very readable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Blair researches and writes with method and skill to bring a terrifying arena of war to us in first hand detail. Interviews and quotes from patrol diaries from both sides bring this longest battle into sharp relief. A good read and reference text giving background on main players, tactics, equipment and trivia, I have re read this and checked other sources against it.
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