The Gathering Storm: The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 - April 1940 Hardcover – 15 Nov 2012
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About the Author
GEIRR HAARR, a Norwegian living in Stavanger, works in environmental project development. Combining his academic training, research skills and a passion for naval history, he has delved into some of the more exciting aspects of the naval war in Europe. His first books, The Invasion of Norway and The Battle for Norway, were received with high praise.
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Top Customer Reviews
The chapters progress chronologically apart from ones devoted to a particular topic (eg air power), but this doesn't make the overall thread loses track of the broader picture. Quotes bring the actions to life, and there is also analysis about whether particular decisions were the right choices. I have no concerns about the quality of the research that has gone into the book, and even where I thought I had spotted an error, on re-reading it was I who was wrong.
There are a series of appendices, some of which are convenient to include but obtainable elsewhere (ships sunk, ships in a particular force) but also including a list of German ships intercepted by the Royal Navy (which I'd never really given much thought to).
For those with an interest in naval matters in the war, it provides a very readable volume with in-depth handling of a dynamic period.
Beginning with some excellent scene setting chapters, the book then takes us through to the verge of the invasion of Norway in April 1940, focussing on various aspects of the naval war in turn. One of the particular strengths of this book is that it sets the events in their strategic and operational context, but at the same time provides some nice anecdotal touches that give the reader some idea of what it was actually like to be involved in the actions described.
The chapter dealing with the Altmark is a good example of the strength of Mr Haarr's work. Looking beyond the dated and propagandistic "the Navy's here" view of the incident, he provides the reader with a cool and balanced account of the boarding itself and the events that led up to it, as well as pointing out some of the legal issues involved. At the same time, he also puts some flesh on the principal characters involved, like the austere Captain Dau and his antagonist, Captain Vian.
The book also reminds us of the darker side of this naval conflict, as when the German minesweeper M1 cruelly rammed several Danish fishing craft on night in February 1940 on the speculative basis that their crews might have been gathering intelligence for the British. The officer responsible did not even get a reprimand.
Mr Haarr rounds things off with a interesting analysis of the naval war up until April 1940, which will no doubt provide a starting point for some lively debate and discussion.Read more ›
My opinion: this is how military history should be. Detailed and based on plenty of research, but still with a solid overview; covering politics and war, ships and personalities, but remaining lucid and very well-written. Very well illustrated (with many photos from the authors' own collection) and with plenty of clear maps - for me, this is as good as it gets. I will buy anything from this author, from now on, sight unseen!
Well up to the standard of his previous books. Recommended to purchase by anyone interested in this period of naval history.