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Three Corvettes Paperback – 6 Sep 1973

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Paperback, 6 Sep 1973
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Mayflower (6 Sept. 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0583120857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0583120852
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.1 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Nicholas Monsarrat was unquestionably the finest writer on the war at sea, 1939-45. This book features all his writing on the sea, excepting only The Cruel Sea itself and the much later Master Mariner. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Nicholas Monsarrat was born with the sea in his blood. During the war, he rose to become a First Lieutenant RNVR, then a corvette captain, then a frigate captain, all the while making notes, keeping a diary, publishing wartime accounts. After the war, Monsarrat's career as diplomat and novelist took every twist and turn in the book. He died of cancer in 1979 and was buried at sea from a destroyer, off Portsmouth. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was written prior to the more famous 'Cruel Sea' (which I have not read (yet!)).Interestingly most of the book was written and published during WW2. Three Corvettes is actually a collection of Nicholas Montserrat's work but is no less for this. Three corvettes is a factual account of the authors time on corvettes firstly in the Atlantic convoys and then in the East Coast convoys. It is beautifully written. I went to bed that night with the smell of the sea, the swell of the Atlantic and the fear of the torpedo. After reading this account my utmost admiration went out to the relatively unsung bravery of the Merchant Seamen. The other articles in the book include an account of the tragic sinking of the Lancastria with approximately 4000 passengers trying to evacuate from France. This was actually hushed by Churchill during WW2.Also covered are Dunkirk and the return of a crippled ship to port after being torpedoed. The collection includes 'The Ship that died of Shame' later a black and white film about a MTB boat which is converted for smuggling after the war. I will however remember this book for its frightening account of the convoy war and I look forward to reading the cruel sea.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across this gem on holiday recently while staying in a chambre d'hote, and found it to be riveting bed-time reading. I've owned a copy of The Cruel Sea since the seventies, but this is altogether more realistic.

My paperback 1973 Mayflower edition of Three Corvettes is actually a collection of three short autobiographical accounts of Monsarrat's experience serving on a corvette and is based on his diaries. Each piece was published separately at the time of writing, because, like many others, he was expecting to be killed the next time he went out on duty.

The structure, strengths and weaknesses of British WW2 Naval command are made all too clear, and the book makes one realise how lucky Britain was to win the war.

My eyes were opened wide regarding the duties of the different ranks, how the watches were organised, how the responsibilities were assigned, how the team functioned. If I were to write a novel or film about life on a small fighting ship, this would make excellent background reference material, far more revealing than any dry official manuals of ranks and standing orders.

I found the moralising somewhat overlong, hence only four stars, but this also serves to emphasise just how much the Services went through, and why they continued to do what they did with such dedication and heroism.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent.

As the other reviewers have stated it is a collection of stories based on his wartime experiences and a number of short stories (fictional) that are very well set-out.

Firstly, his war was horrid. Read the section entitled "It Was Cruel" and you'll be disgusted at what these men went through to keep Britain going, but at the same time, their sacrifice will make you proud.

Monsarrat also injects humour in the most unlikely of places and some sections genuinely had me giggling at the absurdity of it all. It has highs, lows, humour and sadness - the lot.

I just wish there was more of it!
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Monsarrat does not pull any punches when desribing the horrors of the war at sea in WW2. His contrasts the teduim of long watches in freezing weather and the violence and terror of actions.
This is a must read for anyone interested in the Battle of The Atlantic. Had the Allies not triumphedI would be writing this in German.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From an historical point of view this is a valuable little book and I'm glad I have it on my bookshelves. If you;re looking for the excitement and detail of other Monserrat books such as "The Cruel Sea" you won't find it here as this is basically a release of the pre-print notes for that very book. Still - a good read and a great insight into the author which is why I've given it five stars.
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A truly gripping account of war at sea by a master story teller . All three stories two of which are of the writers own experience are so easy to read . The fact that I am myself with a background of WW2 service makes it all the more
nostalgic
Regards John
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For anyone who has read The Cruel Sea, and wondered at Nicholas Montserrat's ability to capture the pure essence of the war at sea, all will be revealed in Three Corvettes. Each story is a diary of the author's own experiences of life on a small escort ship, mundane and monotonous for the most part, dramatic and exciting in flashes, and the three combine to provide (in my opinion) the bedrock of his later masterpiece. Great reading, full of insights into that terrible time, and written with an apparent complete understanding of those he served with, and a warm sympathy towards their own lives and problems.
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Clearly there is a lot of 'The Cruel Sea' in this book. If you have no interest in the Navy during the Second World War then you will probably not enjoy this book. Monsarratt extolls a lot of values that a lot of people today would not consider at all.
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