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The Gathering Storm: The Naval War in Northern Europe September 1939 - April 1940 Hardcover – 15 Nov 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing (15 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848321406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848321403
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having thoroughly enjoyed the previous works by Geirr Haarr I had no hesitation in purchasing this and have not been disappointed. There is ample detail in the work, covering all aspects of the war at sea in the first few months of the war - surface engagements, the early attempts to make effective use of airpower, submarines, mines, raiders etc. It is lucidly presented and concentrates on operational/tactical aspects without wandering off into political or grand strategy. There are a healthy supply of very clear maps, and a good selection of photographs. What is very pleasing in these days of "rush to publish" is that the layout has been well-thought out with the photos and maps appropriately positioned with the text.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than 75 years after the events detailed in this work, there may be some people who will question whether there is much new to say (or even worth saying) about naval operations during the so-called phoney war. Mr Haarr's latest book, however, more than proves such critics wrong.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
September 1939 to April 1940 was the 'phony war' on land, but certainly not on the sea - and this deals with the war in the waters between Britain, Germany and Scandinavia, and the northern Atlantic. There was plenty of action here from day one: U-boats sinkings ships from the Athenia to HMS Royal Oak; commerce raiders such as the Deutschland (later the Lutzow), mine warfare, the Northern Patrol, the Altmark, and the preparations for the invasion of Norway. Actually, this invasion could have been by Great Britain and France, just as well: troops had already been embarked! Haarr describes all this in detail, with many photographs of both ships and actions, and with a good supply of maps as well. It ends with the actual invasion, described by this same author in his earlier books (The German invasion of Norway; the battle for Norway).

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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent
Well up to the standard of his previous books. Recommended to purchase by anyone interested in this period of naval history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very readable and lively account of the early months of the war at sea - cannot wait to read the other books by this author.
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