Customer Review

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many flaws, 15 Feb 2011
This review is from: Castles Of Steel: Britain, Germany and the Winning of The Great War at Sea (Paperback)
Massie is a gifted author and Castles of Steel makes a good read. He keeps your attention for almost 800 pages of non-fiction which is really an achievement.
But there are too many flaws in this book. As others have pointed out, there are many small mistakes, which a good editor should have corrected, especially in the later editions. Also of minor concern, but rather frustrating are the inadequate maps. Luckily, detailed maps of the battles described can be found on the internet, but these should have been included in the book.
More serious in my few is the strong bias on the British side of the war, notwithstanding the subtitle "Britain, Germany and the Winning of the Great War at Sea". For example, there are chapters on both Jellicoe and Beatty, but hardly any background information is given on German admirals like Von Hipper and Scheer. Neither will you find anything on the German activities in the Baltic, though there are five chapters dedicated to the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, which were basically a battle between Britain and Turkey. On the other hand, there is no mention of the other British naval activities in the Mediterranean other than the chase of the Goeben in the early days of the war. Further there is nothing about the way the Germans aided the Irish rebels or the British activities in the Baltic.
But the reasons for the trouble I have with this book are twofold. Massie states the effects of the blockade were the main reason for the German defeat. But there is hardly any information about the way that blockade was organised and maintained. Neither will you find anything about the many diplomatic activities between Britain and the neutrals about it. We read that there were American protests, but what these were and how these were dealt with, remains a mystery.
What really is unbelievable is that there is no mention whatsoever of the Zeebrugge Raid of April 1918. That really left me flabbergasted. Any general textbook on the Great War, even not half the size of this one, doesn't fail to mention this, so it's totally incomprehensible that it's missing in a book dedicated to the warfare by the Royal Navy.
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