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Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 909 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; UNKNOWN edition (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679457429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457428
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 15.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,928,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By PracticalUser on 14 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly detailed account, well worth reading for anyone interested in naval warfare and how WW2 progressed.
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By R Weston on 30 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very detailed and good explanation of the issues the U boats and the allies faced.
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By B.LEPORI on 2 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Rewrites the histories of the Battle of the Atlantic 22 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Near the beginning of the movie "Crimson Tide", there is a debate among crew members as to what is the best submarine movie of all time, "The Enemy Below" or "Das Boot." If you understand that debate, then this two volume definitive history of the Battle of the Atlantic is for you.
Using de-classifed documents previously not available to past historians, such as the documents concerning the breaking of the German Naval Code, and the subsequent use of the code breaking materials in anti-submarine warfare, along with a detailed analysis of the statistical numbers, Clay Blair rewrites the main conclusion of most previous histories of the U-Boats. Simply put, he concludes, with irrefutable logic and detail, that the U-Boats never came close to severing the Atlantic supply lines. They were too few in number, and when their numbers rose, they were technologically inferior to Allied anti- submarine initiatives and weaponry. Even in their best months, the U-Boats never sank more than 5% of Allied merchant shipping, and frequently were well below that figure.
Rather, the U-Boat, he concludes, was more a propaganda menace, misunderstood by the Allied leaders who fought and ultimately conquered the U-Boats.
It is also a tale of courage and fortitude on the high seas. The fact that the U-Boats never came close to their goal does not diminish the ardor and courage displayed on both sides of this cruel war.
Volume 2 is a particularly fascinating study of a proud naval force literally disintegrating under the overwhelming onslaught of Allied anti-submarine warfare. As Blair himself admits, the final year of the U-Boat war is mostly glossed over in the histories, and Blair corrects that injustice.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you were persevering enough to finish volume one (the hunters) of Clay Blair's great historical account of the German u-boats during World War II, you will be delighted by the reversal of fortunes of the u-boats in this volume. Where once the u-boat was invincible, each run becomes a 50/50 suicide run, worse odds that playing Russian roulette with a pistol.
Blair notes that it took him 11 years to complete his research and write this book, and it shows. You could not ask for a more complete assessment of u-boat activity during the war than Blair provides. However, it's not for the weak reader. Reading this book requires stamina, but the reader is rewarded in the end with getting a very good "feel" for the u-boat situation in general. It's almost as if Blair, by hammering in each individual sailing, sinking, or abort, gets you to see the "big picture."
I like the author's interjection of ancillary material from time to time: the possibility of losing Enigma decrypts; the land invasion of Europe; where the boats went when the end of the war was announced, and so on. I also like Blair's outspoken opinion on various contemporary subjects such as the overbearing Brits, the vote-concerned politicians, the "unfair" war crimes trials, and so on.
Exceptional reading; the author knows his stuff.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Detail But Not Much Analysis 27 Jan. 2001
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Blair writes an intensely detailed operational history of the U-boat arm. He is successful in demonstrating what the U-boats did not do: they never came close to cutting the Atlantic sea lanes. The strength of this book is the tremendous detail on convoys, U-boat patrols and cumulative losses. The weakness of this book (and it's predecessor) is a failure to provide either analysis or in-depth assessments. Blair does not bother to tell us what the U-boats did accomplish (my conclusion based on Blair's facts; for the loss of 30,000 sailors Germany delayed the Anglo-American build-up by months, much precious war cargo was sunk even if it was only 1-2% of the total shipped and most important, huge Allied resources were diverted to anti-submarine warfare that otherwise might have gone to landing craft or armor production). Blair never asks, what alternative did a cornered Germany have to continuing the U-boat war? Blair slams German anti-aircraft tactics and the T-5 anti-destroyer torpedo, but the evidence indicates that both did achieve some success. Blair has an in-built anti-German bias that minimizes their success. There is very good detail on Enigma use here to win the Battle of the Atlantic and it is also amazing to see how many U-boats the Germans lost to non-combat causes (mostly collisions). German naval competence is called into question here but not their dedication or bravery. Blair never really tells us much about how the Kriegsmarine was able to continue building and manning U-boats right up to the end of the war or the effect of strategic bombing on German naval industry. Amazingly, he criticizes the Type XXI submarine as fatally flawed but never describes its development or production history. Maps barely adequate.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Definitive Work on U-Boat Warfare 24 Aug. 2000
By G M. Stathis - Published on
Format: Paperback
Clay Blair has alredady established himself as an authority on submarine warfare, and as a former American submariner he knows of that which he writes. His two volume work "Hitler's U-Boat War" is in many ways his best work to date and must certainly be considered as one (if not the) definitives works on German u-boat warfare. Divided into two volumes, Blair gives a complete picture of the development, crest and ultimate demise of the German attempt to fight a war, actually two wars, at sea with limited resources. Vol. I, "The Hunters" details the development and crest of these efforts when the Nazi U-boats became the infamous hunters of allied shipping, while Vol. II, "The Hunted, 1942-1944" relates the dramatic counter measures used by the British, the Canadians and the Americans to combat and ultimately defeat the u-boat. There are other fine works on this subject, but what sets Blair's efforts apart is the overwhelming abundance of data included in his two volumes, and his conclusions that are well supported by that data. He concludes that the overall effect of German submarine warfare has been overrated, and emphasizes that this point is easily seen in the data. He also makes a case that Hitler's use of u-boats was a cheap consession to a German navy that he had little use for. Accordingly, very limited resources were committed to submarines or the navy in general. Throughout these volumes are a number of sub-plots and stories including the grand tale of allied efforts to get hold of vital German code devices. This is an interesting saga that remains engaging even with all of Blair's attention to detail. In Vol. I we identify with the u-boat commanders and crews, and lament the allied casualties. In Vol. II, the tables are turned and one cannot help but sympathize with the crews of the u-boats as they suffered defeat and near annihilation, and glory in the final allied victory. Each volume is presented in a manner that makes them a complete work, but the full achievement here can only be appreciated by reading the two volumes in succession.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Exhaustive and complete, but a bit much for the lay reader 12 Jan. 2000
By Matthew D. Carr - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Clay Blair has completed his masterful account of the German submarine war in WWII. While it is extremely thorough, the level of detail can become cumbersome to the amateur historian. Mr. Blair outlines every mission undertaken by a German submarine during the entire war; a blessing for other researchers in naval history but a curse to the lay reader. The author does a commendable job outlining the major campaigns and summarizing the effects of the submarine war. While the first volume covers the early, successful years of the German effort, the second details how superior allied technology and tactics decimated the German submarine fleet and removed it as a factor in the war. This account rounds out his conclusion that the feared "wolf packs" and the submarine war in general never posed the serious threat that the Allies believed it did. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the book is the chapters devoted to describing the development of submarine/ASW technology and the encryption/decoding efforts of both sides. The author does an average job as far as the "characters" are concerned. For most people he simply describes their military careers and follows their progression through various commands and notes the awards they receive. Very few players get the background coverage that makes them come alive and seem like real people.
I highly recommend this book for any reader of history interested the German submarine war. However, the casual or amateur reader will do well to skim through the endless details.
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