11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Not satisfied with having found the Titanic, this great explorer of Oceans set off in search of what many people believe to be the greatest Battleship ever built - the Bismarck.
Whilst we are treated, once again to excellent illustrations by Ken Marschall of the wreck itself, my own favourite series of images are across pages 218/9 and show the Bismarck sinking, how it turned upside down allowing the big guns to fall away from their mountings, how it then turned right side up as it continued it's voyage - 3 miles down, until it came to rest creating a massive underwater landslide. It is because there are no currents down there that that landslide was found - exactly as it was on the day it was created by this great ship in May 1941.
Having the achieved yet another outstanding feat of finding a famous - but elusive ship so far beneath the ocean's surface, Dr Ballard has, once again put together the most complete account of that search, discovery and final success. He also includes an extremely detailed, accurate and well portrayed account of the life and death of the ship itself. As with the Titanic, all the facts and historic photographs are there and, as I know from researching lesser ships, he really has done the most thorough job of work on all fronts.
From the book's front cover onwards we are, once again, treated to the most "outstanding" collection of artwork created by Ken Marschall. From thousands of photographic images taken far below the surface, Bob Ballard created montage after montage of the various sections and profiles of this great ship so that Mr Marschall was able to provide us with paintings which are as accurate as colour photographs.
Once again (and it will not be for the last time!) I congratulate Dr Ballard on an excellent and professional job of work. Altogether, the most outstanding book for which 5 stars are not enough.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Many people will be familiar with the 1950's movie 'Sink the Bismark', which differs from many others of that genre and era in that it had not been substantially fictionalised. The Bismark was one of several ships, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, Tirpitz and Graf Spee were the others, whose roles were to seek out and destroy British merchant shipping and vessels of other nations supplying Britain with food and other essentials. Submarines were similarly tasked. Bismark was one of the largest with the Tirpitz and potentially the greatest risk, and its working life was very brief due to British determination to either limit its activities or sink it. The reading of another book (mentioned below) indirectly led to me finding this book.
This book is coffee-table size and similar in size, nature and content to others of Ballard's titles relating to the Lusitania and Titanic that were recently added to my collection.
Fortunately for Ballard, the location of the Bismark was known with reasonable precision although it was not exactly where expected. Once located, the wreck was subject to several dives by Ballard and his team. Some images from those dives and the related TV documentary are included. Many more photographs, presumably from British and German naval sources, are of crew members and officers of many of the vessels and of the vessels themselves. Several illustrations are also included.
Where this book differs from the others of Ballard's 'Famous Wreck' titles that I own, is that it is not primarily about events decades beyond the sinking but includes a major slice of the ship's history and details of the battles that caused its loss. The Foreward is written by Ludovic Kennedy who was an officer on board one of the British naval vessels that pursued, caught and then destroyed the ship, as was the late British actor, Esmond Knight who was wounded in the battle and also appeared in the film mentioned above.
There are some facts about which Ballard was not aware as they came from German sources, namely an autobiography by one of Bismark's officers. He claimed that extensive damage was caused in the later stages of the battle, sufficient to render the vessel defenseless. Consequently, the Captain ordered that scuttling charges be set. It is therefore contested whether or not those charges or torpedoes released by British aircraft at a similar time caused the vessel to part-capsize. After being abandoned, ship-fired torpedoes were released to sink the hulk.
In consequence of its broad coverage, this could be the one book that anyone interested in the story of the Bismark will need. As such, it is highly recommended.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2010
The discovery of the wreck by Bob Ballard once again only demonstrated what an incredible explorer of our oceans Bob is.
The Bismarck class of battleships were amongst the largest warships built in nazi Germany (superseded only by the Kriegsmarine aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin in length) and were both formidable and beautiful.
The story of the persuit and subsequent sinking of this, the most powerful of Hitler's battleships is one of the great maritime naratives of the second world war.
An awesome piece of writing, the book is an excellent combination of history and adventure; the story of the discovery and exploration of Bismarck being almost as exciting as the story of her persuit!
Definately worth a read. 10/10!