on 24 May 2012
I found this book via "Amazon's recommendations" and bought a copy almost right away.
value for money, yes IMO and a welcome addition to a long line of U Boat and Coastal related buys over the years.
the book itself is larger than A4 size which I feel helps given the nature of the subject matter and the need for clarity of presentation.The "build quality2 of the books is good , nothing which is going to fall apart , good paper, font style and size, photographs are well reproduced and I find kit hard to fault the presentation.
Maps showing the location of the losses are presented in the front and rear end papers which is fine and although small they are very clear and relate easily to the text.
The history of each loss is well laid out in a common easy to follow format providing a wealth of detail from both Allied and Axis sources and in this the research and attention to detail comes together to provide a balanced and reasonable account of each loss, you will find UBoat KTB entries,findings from board of inquiries, history of the ship s sunk as well as details of U Boat Commander and the fate of the attacking submarine.
Occasionally the comments made by those who reviewed the sinkings seems harsh and they do make you think beyond what is written on the page but then again that it the nature of such boards and they have the luxury of time which a captain on the spot often did not.
I like this book and will learn a lot from it so value for money and my need for it makes me give this 5 stars.....a aprt from which when you take a look at the sources both primary and secondary it is apparent that the authors went to great lengths to try and iron out as many mistakes as possible, are there mistakes...the law of averages will say there must be but I think they will be minor and few and far between.
An excellent history and one which folks who with an interest in the war at sea will welcome .
As mentioned elsewhere, I study many books in relation to my ongoing research into ships and shipwrecks. Even though a fair proportion of these have been worthy of 5 Stars, few are truly - and I do mean TRULY, outstanding. On this occasion, it was quite apparent that I was holding a work of supreme quality even before I had opened the pages. Having now studied much of the content most carefully, I can say you too will not be disappointed. Certainly not!
With a foreword by eminent historian Professor Jürgen Rohwer, this book is a collaboration between two equally renowned authors who, to put it simply, understand the task in hand and strive to provide the best possible results. How curious that the last time I wrote such glowing comments similar to the above was in 2005 and the author was Bruce Taylor who also co-wrote this work with Daniel Morgan...
In order to provide the prospective reader with a complete understanding of this product, I shall commence with size and scope. The book measures 11¾ in x 10 in (296mm x 255mm) and commences with; Contents, Acknowledgements, Abbreviations, Glossary, Foreword, Introduction (19 pages) and a fascinating six page item headed "Reading the Kriegstagebücher" - which explains both the layout and, therefore, how to understand the very information on which much of the book is based. These are followed by 425 pages of text, Gazetteer (8 pages), Bibliography and an Index. The number of contributors mentioned under Acknowledgements is far too lengthy for reproduction here - except to say they include the finest experts and the most impeccable sources.
The underlying purpose of the book is, as the title suggests, to provide information from both sides of the conflict with regard to those Allied warships sunk by German U Boats during WW2. To this end, the authors have accessed material held by Allied and German sources to provide a detailed analysis of 110 of those 250 subject vessels with the remainder being summarised. The first two vessels included under the former are the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous and the battleship HMS Royal Oak - both of which have been the subjects of several books in their own right!
From a personal viewpoint, having dived the Royal Oak and told her story in writing on several occasions, I have researched that particular ship time and again over many years. I was not, therefore, expecting to find significantly `new' information from a work which might ordinarily expect to be nothing more than an overview of so many ships. The fact that I did find new and very relevant information bodes well for my ongoing further research in future years. In short, this work is not an overview at all.
The entries include wide-ranging details from, as I say, the different perspectives of both sides of the conflict. These include an understanding of the environment in which those sailors lived and worked and the fate of the crews of sunken ships - details often overlooked when searching for technical specifications of all vessels involved coupled with dates and so forth. By using a fairly small font, there is far more information than one might ordinarily expect from a book of this size. This is further supported by the diligent use of carefully selected photographs and diagrams - none of which are allowed to overwhelm the product in any way.
Altogether, this is easily one of the most important works to cross my desk for a very long time and, dare I say, I can only hope for a similar work on those merchant vessels lost by the same means. Please be under no illusions whatsoever. Such is the importance of this outstanding work, I firmly believe many people will now have to reassess their understanding of how certain ships were lost.