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on 6 July 2016
This book was written to accompany the BBC television series of the same title. As might be expected from a TV series, it contains a good many anecdotes from people who were involved in the campaign, both British and German, and is a balanced account of their experiences.

Williams also describes the tactics and training of the two sides, especially the ineffective tactics of the escorts at the beginning of the war and the very effective tactics which were developed later, aided by significant advances in technology such as radar and High-Frequency Direction-Finding. He contrasts the over-simple organisation by which Donitz ran the U-boats with the highly developed Western Approaches Command run by Admirals Noble and Horton.

The book concentrates entirely on the Atlantic U-boat campaign; very little is said about German surface warships and merchant raiders, or about the Arctic convoys or U-boats in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

The book is a good read and gives a satisfactory overview of this campaign, the longest of the war, lasting from 3 September 1939 to VE Day, and the one that Britain had to win or be reduced to starvation and to be forced into making peace with Germany.

The paperback edition is made from Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, which is laudable, but the reproduction of photographs on this paper is pretty awful; hence only four stars.
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on 22 October 2015
I can't really remember how i came across this book, but when I started to read it, i just could not put it down!
It tells the story of one of the longest and most bitter campaigns of WW2. The story of German Admiral Karl Dönitz, his U-Boat arm and his quest to starve fighting United Kingdom into submission. It follows all the main facts chronologically from the sinking of the SS Athenia right till the end of the campaign, focusing mainly on the U-boats operations.
What Andrew Williams perfectly does, is finding the balance between personal stories and larger picture. Thanks to that, we can look at quite a few facts from different perspective, as he tries to tell the story "as it was", not taking any side. He criticises, when deserved, all parties. Not only Dönitz but also the King and Churchill.
It can be an eye-opener for many people. It is an extremely well written and documented book. It is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the battle of Atlantic, battle to keep UK fighting.
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on 5 April 2014
Having seen and read other peoples comments on this book based on true stories of the second world war, I wasn't disappointed and I found it very gripping reading of what the sailors and seamen had to go through as well as all the dangers of sailing in ships with little or no protection ,in running the gauntlet bringing food and supplies to England and to which
to which these brave seamen put their lives on the line bringing food and materials to Britain,
and sadly many of these brave seamen never survived to see the end on the second world war.

this book is a real insight to seamen and sailors ,and of conditions and dangers that they faced on a daily basis, at that time,
2 people found this helpful
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on 11 April 2016
There is not a page of this book that is other than fascinating. Providing the reader with vivid testimony of those who fought this terrible battle, At a time when the Nazi high command demanded utter ruthlessness in dealing with the survivors of torpedoed vessels, it is reassuring to read of acts of humanity by some U-boat commanders - sometimes to the point of disobeying orders. Once started the book is hard to put aside.
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on 23 May 2013
I had read plenty of books about WW2 but little about the war at sea, so I picked up this book. I think this was a good choice because it provides a great overview of the battle of the Atlantic, during the first half of the war. The war at sea is often overlooked but it is actually the closest Germany came to winning in the West before America entered the war. Most of the book focuses on u-boat operations, as this was the most strategically important part of the war at sea. The book is well documented but, at the same time, the non-expert reader won't get lost in technicalities. Highly readable and good personal descriptions of the key commanders that fought this battle.
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on 22 April 2014
This book provided a really informative and good overview of the Battle of the Atlantic and its overall importance to the outcome of World War II. I particularly liked the authors use of the memoirs of those involved in as it made the book real rather than a purely dry analysis of events.
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on 19 December 2012
The book gave an insight into the problems faced not only by the ships but also the Admiralty in trying to minimise the dangers faced they faced. Didn't realise the German Navy was breaking the British Codes while we were breaking theirs.
A well presented and doccumented story of the time.
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on 5 July 2013
A really good book with some fascinating facts and figures. Hard to believe how many sailors on both sides made the supreme sacrifice fighting for their countries. The technical advances - and the evolving tactics - made by the Allies in the fight against the U-Boats were quite stunning.
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on 13 March 2013
I have yet to find a more complete and absorbing history of the Battle of the Atlantic, and I cannot praise it too highly. If there is a shadow of a doubt, and this is purely personal, at times I found the description of individual U-boat tactics so detailed that they tended to overshadow the main story, and I would have liked more explanation of how the British and the Germans managed to break into each other's secret codes.
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on 28 June 2013
For someone how only knew about ww2 mainly through films and a little bit of history at school this was an education. The one fact that stood out for me was that subs only attacked with torpedo's while on the surface, not like the movies at all. Unbelievable number of lives lost on both sides and the tonnage of ships and cargo was something I never would have known about only for this book.
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