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Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy in the Second World War Paperback – 26 Apr 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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  • Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy in the Second World War
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  • Lost Voices of The Royal Navy: Vivid Eyewitness Accounts of Life in the Royal Navy from 1914-1945
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  • Sea Wolves: The Extraordinary Story of Britain's WW2 Submarines
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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141046325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141046327
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Marvellous...a fine addition to the literature on the Second World War (Sunday Telegraph)

Prysor does for the sailors of the Royal Navy what Patrick Bishop did for the RAF in Fighter Boys...He reminds us of their extraordinary contribution to our survival. (Daily Express)

A moving and evocative story of the war at sea (Professor N.A.M. Rodger, author of 'The Command of the Ocean')

This impressive human history of the Royal Navy begins the long overdue process of putting it back at the heart of the war effort (Book of the Week Independent)

Full of terrific stories (Sunday Times)

An absorbing read...a fine memorial (Literary Review)

Excellent. Captures the soul of the men who were there...their humanity and, occassionally, inhumanity (Navy News)

Skillfully weaves together a coherent 'people's history of the sailors' war'...Fresh and compelling (Times Literary Supplement)

Breathtaking skill...freshness and force...Prysor makes the Navy of the Second World War intensely personal, vivid and vital (Military Times)

Reads extremely well, with a gripping narrative that explains the unfolding of the war whilst weaving in moving and vivid personal accounts...This is a book that manages to fuse the strategic with the human and the social with consummate skill, and in so doing it delivers a multifaceted understanding of the war at sea as well as a poignant reminder of the way in which society has lost its 'sea vision' (Nautilus International Telegraph)

About the Author

Glyn Prysor was educated at Oxford University, where he completed a doctorate and taught modern history. He lives in Sussex. This is his first book.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone coming from a naval family and whose parents and other relatives served in the Royal Navy during World War 2, this book was a 'must' for me. It a book containing many fascinating accounts by those who were there, humourous, tragic and sometimes, so utterly pragmatic under very harrowing circumstances. There are two references included by a sailor who served aboard the same ship as my Dad, and I found that rather poignant. A highly recommend read, thank you Glyn Prysor.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has been very hard to put down, the personal accounts collected by the author about the experiences of World War Two sailors are addictive, though at times overwhelmingly sad. No stone is left unturned and unlike a singular personal account, you get a range of perspectives and stories from across the board, from various personalities, ships, ranks and events. The horrors of war are laid out bare; it is not a light-hearted read, but moments of fun onboard, or day to day life are also depicted which levels out the more distressing accounts. This book does not glorify war, it tells the stories of those that were there, come what may.

My only criticisms are that the stories are weaved through the book partly by a sort of events timeline and it gets a bit hard keeping track of the various sailors who are quoted as they duck in and out. Also towards the end of the book the author starts pulling towards the effects of war on post war Britiain, almost as if trying to sum up how sailors contributed to the political events after the war. At times I thought this should have been a whole other book and didn't quite sit well with the other accounts.

Otherwise it was a well written and compelling book, which left me wanting to shake the hand of any sailor who took part in the war out of respect, the heroics of just abiding their fate under such trying circumstances seems almost unfathomable and yet they just got it with it, knowing that a horrific death was possible at any second.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So much to read, so much to absorb, so much to try and understand. They went through such cruel experiences and some survived to tell their stories and it is so humbling to read them. These personal accounts really do shine a light on "The Greatest Generation" as a US President once described them. I doubt if we shall ever see their like again.
It is very fortunate that Glyn Prysor has so diligently collected these stories, for I grew up as a boy amongst many of these same sailors who returned from the horrors of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Murmansk convoys and many other theatres of war, and most of these poor men hardly ever said a word. "It had to be done," was the usual comment, without any great detail of just what they had done.
Reading these stories now, I do wish I could revisit those old, now long gone, silent heroes if only to buy them a very well-earned tot.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating account of the sailors who fought in WWII. Starting just before the Spanish Civil War the book chronicles the major naval battles of the Second World War, form the sailors' perspective. The writing is fresh, original and engaging. A great partner for Tim Clayton's Sea Wolves: The Extraordinary Story of Britain's WW2 Submarines.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My dad was in the RNVR, and although brought up by the sea, and crossing the Channel often in connection with his work, it was still a shock when it came to actually fighting on it. This book illustrates the communality of this experience, when tend of thousands of young men, many of whom had never even seen the sea before, were "called up". It does it by quoting liberally from the seamen's diaries, and this gives it an authority that it would not have had, if the memories had been personal to the author. A well written and valuable social and naval history.
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Format: Hardcover
I did a specialist topic on the Second World War whilst at school for my A-Levels, so was really excited to receive this book in the post. Living in Portsmouth also added to the enjoyment of reading these accounts as local areas were regularly mentioned as were ships that family members had served on. Prysor has included many first hand accounts from sailors of the Royal Navy, that give an insight into some of the less well-known battles as well as the more familiar. Some of these testimonies are raw and gritty, and Prysor does not try to shy away from this fact, and I feel this has given me a more real view of what it was like to serve for the Royal Navy during these years. I have since passed this book on to other family members who are enjoying it as much as I did, definitely one to recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As my father was in the Royal Navy during world war 2 the book was just my cup of tea .
Prompt delivery and in condition as advertised would recommend the company' .
Pleased with my purchase to and would use them again.
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Format: Hardcover
Prysor's debut is a fascinating, brilliantly written account of naval warfare in the Second World War. His treatment of this intriguing topic is immediately engaging and takes the reader on a vivid voyage through the turbulent waters of life as a Royal Navy sailor throughout the War. Once this book is picked up, it is difficult to put it down, so interesting and rich are the human stories told.
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