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Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship Hardcover – 2009

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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Wait for a revised edition Feb. 14 2010
By M. Lin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The legendary naval battle is an inherently exciting topic, but unfortunately I was just not able to enjoy this book as a casual weekend read, due to its shockingly poor writing. If you can overlook the numerous basic spelling errors found throughout the text -- no exaggeration, things spell check would detect -- you will find it slow and difficult to read due to its disorganization, repetitiveness, and pervasively confusing grammatical structure. I am not super picky about writing style in general, but the publisher has seriously dropped the ball here.

No doubt it is thoroughly researched and historically accurate.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
..pursuit and death of the Schlachtschiff Bismarck Oct. 19 2009
By N. Page - Published on
Format: Hardcover
..exciting and competent re-telling of the hunt, pursuit and final destruction of one of the mightiest battleships ever to put to sea. A tremendous British victory, the heroism of the sea-and-airmen involved is calmly and dispassionately portrayed in this fine account. After the shock of the loss of the Royal Navy's battleship Hood with virtually all hands, the attempts to shake off the pursuing pack and the desperate attacks flown by the Navy's venerable Swordfish torpedo bombers are nicely built up by the authors to the final denouement, as the Bismarck, crippled by a torpedo strike, is shelled into oblivion..
A couple of criticisms; the authors don't bring much new information to the table and their style is ponderous and leaden to say the least. This is not helped by the authors attempt to weigh up and evaluate the decision making process undertaken at each stage of the hunt by the various interested parties. On the German side they rely heavily of course on Mullenheim-Rechberg's memoir but don't appear to realise that an English translation was published. The authors are not native-speakers and sentence construction is predictably and unfortunately rather wooden in places, while this work has more typos and omissions than any other similar work I've ever read. In short the text desperately needed copy editing. Recommended despite these shortcomings.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Enthralling account of WW2 naval warfate July 3 2009
By Bruce Trinque - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Surely, the raid of the German battleship Bismarck into the North Atlantic in May, 1941, and the Royal Navy's search for and destruction of the feared ship is one of the best-known incidents of World War II naval warfare, but perhaps never before has such a comprehensive, thoughtful analysis of the event been published as in Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander's "Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship", looking at what happened from both the German and British perspectives. The Bismarck's mission is carefully placed in the context of the German strategy of commerce raiding, with a comprehensive look at the strategic and tactical problems faced by the commanders of both sides, and possibly alternative actions at each stage are carefully explored. The text is well-illustrated with large-scale maps showing the changing positions of hunter and hunted, making clear the development of events. The narrative text is highly detailed
but does not, as books on naval history so often do, descend into a merely technical hardware descriptiion in which seemingly every bolt is counted and described. Instead, authors Zetterling and Tamelander concentrate upon the human element, always keeping in mind what each side knew and did not know at any given moment, with the result that a feeling of tense suspense builds, even though the reader already knows the Bismarck's fate. All in all, a gripping account.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Okay it was written by Swedes Oct. 4 2010
By Raymond C - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While I agree with the lower rated reviews that there are spelling errors and there is repetition in the text, it is most pondorous in the first half of the book. (They need to look up synonyms for "bunkering fuel".) Overall the book provides a good strategic and tactical overview of the naval war situation before and during the Bismark/Eugen sortie. The authors' analysis, rather than being intrusive, was broadening in the explaining the fog of war, possible options the commanders on each side faced and vagarities of equipment available at the time. Data on the book: Part 1 includes 82 pages of prior German capital ship sorties in the "cruiser war" against British merchant ships. A further 26 pages looks at the combatant's preparations prior to the Bismark sailing. Part 2 138 pages of the battle up until the final 24 hours. Part 3 is the sinking and aftermath and final analysis. There are 4 strategic maps on early cruiser war. 7 strategic maps that deal with Bismark's sortie with 6 of them having orders of battle. 3 tactical maps; sinking of the Hood, searches after British contact with the Bismark is lost and a map of the final battle. 8 pages of photos.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good Account; Numerous Errors are difficult to overlook Feb. 15 2012
By a_wienke - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must preface this review by saying that I am by no means an expert of the German Navy in World War II. I have read several accounts of the Bismarck that focused solely on 14FEB1939 and 19-27MAY1941. This book gives a good overall account. As other reviews have stated, this work draws heavily on Mullenheim-Rechberg's memoir (which I have yet to read). The authors do a good job placing the mission of the Bismarck in the context of the Kriegsmarine's overall strategy for naval warfare concerning surface ships.

The main drawbacks of the book are the numerous editing and proofreading mistakes. The main drawback--I was willing to overlook the grammatical errors with some effort--was that the footnotes in the back of the book do not match up with the ones in the text. They are off by one. This caused some confusion at first, as the first footnote does not seem to have a place in the text. The footnote was interesting, and I would have liked to see how it matched up within the main text.

If one is willing to overlook these moderately serious shortcomings, the main text and the explanation of Cruiser Warfare and what the Germans were hoping to accomplish are quite interesting.

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