BENEATH THE WAVES - This is more than just a collection of accounts. It gives the stories context...
To some degree, the submariners of The Second World War were a breed apart. Showing often extraordinary valour, they served in the most difficult and perilous conditions imaginable and suffering sometimes astonishing losses in the process. The famed German U-Boat captain Günter Prien wrote of his crew, they were men who "did their duty silently and blindly, who could neither see the day nor the target and who dies in the dark if it had to be".
Jean Hood's excellent book is a fitting memorial to such men. It is an anthology of both published and unpublished accounts of life below the waves - many of them gleaned from the archive of the Imperial War Museum.
Unlike many other recent anthologies, however, this is much more than a mere collection of stories unrelated to one another and lacking background or context.
Arranged chronologically, the accounts chart the waning fortunes of the German and Japanese submarine forces, the technical advances of the Allies, as well as the contributions of lesser known combatants, such as the Poles, Italians and French.
In addition to all this, the book contains a wealth of additional information, such as a glossary of naval slang, and illuminating sections dedicated to everyday life beneath the ocean waves.
It is this sheer volume and breadth of information that will appeal both to the naval history buff, as well as the genealogist. Indeed, for those who have discovered submariners among their forebears, this book should be required reading. However, even for the layman, Submarine is a fascinating read - full of insight, drama and pathos. -- Reviewed by Roger Moorehouse for BBC Who Do You Think You Are magazine, February 2008 issue
A FASCINATING FIRST-HAND GLIMPSE OF WAR BENEATH THE WAVES
The submarine war was a hard and dangerous one. British submariners suffered 38 per cent casualties, almost all fatal and German U-Boats lost and incredible 85 per cent but continued to fight to the end.
In this oral history collection, submariners of almost all the participating nations recall their service. There are chapters on how submarines were worked, on life aboard and on the particular perils of the service - depth charges, being rammed, staying submerged for many hours. There is also a chapter for each year of the war, with tales from the submariner's perspective. Among the best are: one Royal Navy stoker who remembers hearing that his boat had been sunk and he'd been counted as dead; a U-Boat commander who describes swimming for 49 hours; and an American submariner who recalls returning to Pearl Harbour after the attack. The editor is to be congratulated on finding and putting together such a splendid collection of rare and compelling stories. -- Reviewed by Phil Tomaselli for Family History Monthly magazine, Jan 2007
From the Publisher
- Covers many of the overt and covert submarine operations- of
the Second World War.
- Includes vivid accounts by veterans of the submarine war.
- Balanced with news clippings, official reports and diary entries.
- Incorporates UK, US and Russian, German, Italian and 'Free' navy