This work relates the life - and the death - of the rebel German seaman who became one of the most successful U-Boat commanders of World War II. The story of Werner Henke - and a narrative outlining the history of his boat, U-515, and its crew - forms the basis for a biography of a man who defies the stereotypes of German character, who never fitted in as a career officer in the German Navy, but who chose a suicideal death in acceptance of the code of the military service whose rules he continually bent and broke. Throughout, the story Mulligan relates is engrossing and action-packed. It is also a carefully documented study that aims to break new ground in uncovering the sociological background of Henke and his crew, thus making it a study in German history as well as a biography. Examining the background and attitudes of the crew - including their views on Hitler and the treatment of the Jews - Mulligan sheds light on the men who constituted an elite in Hitler's Wehrmacht. The story of U-515 is also closely correlated to the overall conduct of the U-Boat war, including assessments of Karl Donitz's strategy, the influence of technological innovations, and the contributions of Allied signal intelligence. Henke's confrontation with the Gestapo and a detailed account of the sinking of the passenger liner "Ceramic" further adds to the story, revealing the complex reality behind an image which is too often dominated by propaganda sterotypes.