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Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author)
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British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War & After
British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War & After
Prix : CDN$ 37.15

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Completely indispensible., Sept. 21 2014
This is another work from acclaimed American naval historian Norman Friedman who is described as being “as much at home with warship technology as he is with contemporary defence issues.” It is the fourth book from this author to have crossed my desk this year and, as someone who studies ships and shipwrecks for a living (it’s what I do!), I have found his name to be one I can trust for accuracy of detail. In this instance, however, I was also delighted to find a complete work about a particular genre of British warships which fills the very large gap which had previously existed in my own private library. That void was only filled because of the wealth of detail Friedman provides in a most interesting and readable style - and all students learn more when they are enjoying the teaching experience.

No sooner had I started the work, I found myself cross-referencing specific details with those of other notable experts alongside information already known to me. Nothing written by Friedman was lacking in any way. In short, this is a work of supreme technical excellence presented in a readable style. Alongside that text, we also find a series of b&w images of the highest calibre. It just so happens I am particularly familiar with both Malta and Gibraltar and, therefore, able to compare historic images from this book with some of my own more recent photography. Whereas little appears to have changed on the Malta harbour coastline, it really is remarkable to discover how much of Gibraltar’s famous harbour is now land-fill - but I digress.

The final element of the work which will be of huge interest to all enthusiasts - including model-makers are the large number of line drawings (side profiles and deck plans) which are, again, of the highest possible quality.

The work itself is divided into 15 self-explanatory chapters as follows: (1) Introduction, (2) Beginning the Slide Towards War, (3) What Sort of Destroyer?, (4) Defending Trade, (5) The War Emergency Destroyers, (6) New Destroyer Classes, (7) Wartime Ocean Escorts, (8) The Post-war Destroyer, (9) The Missile Destroyer, (10) The 1945 Frigate and her Successors, (11) The Search for Numbers, (12) The General Purpose Frigate, (13) The Second Post-war Generation, (14) The Post Carrier Generation and (15) The Future. The work then concludes with; Bibliography, Data Tables, List of Ships and an Index.

Those who regularly read my reviews will know that I do not tolerate works which are lacking in any way. Similarly, I dislike those who criticise works for all the wrong reasons. This work is an impressive product by any standards and must be recognised as such. The depth of research in terms of technical information is equally matched by the similar attention to detail given to both the selection of historic images and the provision of those line drawings. Altogether, therefore, it is hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with such an outstanding work - unless, of course, they were looking for some aspect which is beyond the scope of the book.

Personally, I already regard this book as completely indispensible.

NM

The Sinking of the Lusitania: Unravelling the Mysteries
The Sinking of the Lusitania: Unravelling the Mysteries
by Patrick O'Sullivan
Edition: Paperback
6 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Poignant and thought-provoking., Sept. 14 2014
The Lusitania was a ship which was loved by a nation. State-of-the-art when launched and the very first passenger liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she immediately became the fastest liner on the North Atlantic. She was popular with passengers and a resounding commercial success. This was a ship that had everything.

Suddenly, all that came to an abrupt end on 7 May 1915 when she was torpedoed and sunk. The reaction - both at home and abroad, was one of complete outrage. Although the loss of the Titanic - just 3 years earlier, was still very fresh in peoples minds, this was different. That earlier disaster had been an accident and those bodies had been buried in far-away Canada. This time they were buried in Ireland and the photographs of the day said it all. It was viewed as one of the most diabolical and savage acts of aggression of all time - and eventually helped bring America into the First World War.

The Lusitania; Unravelling the Mysteries is packed full of solid information, facts, maps, paintings, photographs and even cartoons - all relevant to the time in question. In addition, the author’s background reveals someone well-qualified to write a book such as this. It is a skilfully planned work in which he provides all the relevant information including various descriptions of this and other similar vessels in both their peacetime and wartime roles. Having ‘set the scene’ he then moves on to the German submarine menace, British Intelligence and the code-breaking of the day as he carefully and deliberately produces a fully detailed prelude to the sinking. It is here that we learn of other U Boat incidents off Ireland - which were never relayed to the Lusitania.

Then we arrive at the tragedy itself and, of course, the aftermath. There are distressing photographs of dead children and heartbreaking stories of those who survived - often having lost all other members of their family. There is the grief that overwhelmed Ireland and photographs of both the memorial in Cobh and one or two of the more dramatic headstones - “Foully Murdered by Germany” and “Victim of the Lusitania Crime.” Even the sham tribunals and the way in which blame was wrongly laid at the feet of the ship’s master - Captain Bill Turner, in a bid to deflect public opinion away from government ineptitude are covered in fascinating detail. For those who were previously unaware, the fact that the ship was carrying munitions (as was common practise) is revealed - thus making the ship a justified target.

Throughout the entire work, the author brings a semblance of sense to what happened almost 100 years ago and, therefore, fully justifies the book’s title.

This is a poignant and thought-provoking account and one that has been expertly crafted into a first-rate book. How sad the wreck itself has never been designated a “War Grave.”

NM

British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After
British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After
by Norman Friedman
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 66.61
5 used & new from CDN$ 66.61

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quite exceptional., Sept. 11 2014
Norman Friedman is an acclaimed American naval historian of the highest calibre with three of his works having crossed my desk since March of this year. Whereas the first of these (Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery) quickly became indispensible and is in continuous use, I found the second (Naval Firepower; Battleship Guns & Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era) rather turgid and hard-going.

In this instance, I am happy to review a book which appears to have everything one might hope to find. Firstly the information is not only ‘there’ but it is also presented in a most readable style - and that is always welcome. Secondly, the historic B&W images are of the highest calibre. Each of these is accompanied by a fully descriptive caption - many of which point out some little additional snippet which adds to the overall enjoyment and interest. In addition, throughout the work we also find a large number of line drawings (side profiles and deck plans) of the highest possible quality.

The work commences with: Glossary & Abbreviations and Acknowledgements - both of which are worth a moment of study. The chapters, which are mostly self-explanatory, are as follows: (1) Introduction, (2) Protecting Trade, (3) Destroyer-Killers, (4) War Experience, (5) Treaties and Heavy Cruisers, (6) The 1930 London Treaty and its Cruisers, (7) The Slide toward War, (8) War, (9) Wartime Cruiser Design, (10) Post-War Cruisers and (11) The Missiles Age. The book then concludes with; an Appendix on Fast Minelayers, Notes, Bibliography, Data List (specifications), List of Ships and an Index.

As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do!), the full value of this work will only become apparent when I am looking for some awkward detail at some time in the future. Naturally, I will be delighted if the information is there and ‘not’ if it cannot be found. After having read the book, however, I can honestly say I am deeply impressed. There are 432 pages of tightly packed information with (as already mentioned) a liberal supply of historic images and line drawings. Personally, I never tire of looking at photographs of ships that are long gone - and, with the exception of HMS Belfast now moored on the Thames in London, none of these ships remain in existence.

Halfway through the book, I paused to see how many other books about British Cruisers were also available and was surprised to discover how few there are. Those that do exist are, generally, for a specific type or design with none being as comprehensive as this work. A small point perhaps, but any work designed to fill such a large hole in the market would have to be of exceptional quality and that is exactly what you get. Furthermore, each of those aforementioned qualities and feature combine to provide a product which caters equally for those with a casual interest to others with a more professional expertise. Or, to put it another way, this is possibly the only work you will need on the subject - and that applies to expert and amateur alike.

All things considered, I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with this quite exceptional work.

NM

British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After of Norman Friedman on 23 August 2012
British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After of Norman Friedman on 23 August 2012
by Norman Friedman
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 135.98

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quite exceptional., Sept. 11 2014
Norman Friedman is an acclaimed American naval historian of the highest calibre with three of his works having crossed my desk since March of this year. Whereas the first of these (Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery) quickly became indispensible and is in continuous use, I found the second (Naval Firepower; Battleship Guns & Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era) rather turgid and hard-going.

In this instance, I am happy to review a book which appears to have everything one might hope to find. Firstly the information is not only ‘there’ but it is also presented in a most readable style - and that is always welcome. Secondly, the historic B&W images are of the highest calibre. Each of these is accompanied by a fully descriptive caption - many of which point out some little additional snippet which adds to the overall enjoyment and interest. In addition, throughout the work we also find a large number of line drawings (side profiles and deck plans) of the highest possible quality.

The work commences with: Glossary & Abbreviations and Acknowledgements - both of which are worth a moment of study. The chapters, which are mostly self-explanatory, are as follows: (1) Introduction, (2) Protecting Trade, (3) Destroyer-Killers, (4) War Experience, (5) Treaties and Heavy Cruisers, (6) The 1930 London Treaty and its Cruisers, (7) The Slide toward War, (8) War, (9) Wartime Cruiser Design, (10) Post-War Cruisers and (11) The Missiles Age. The book then concludes with; an Appendix on Fast Minelayers, Notes, Bibliography, Data List (specifications), List of Ships and an Index.

As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do!), the full value of this work will only become apparent when I am looking for some awkward detail at some time in the future. Naturally, I will be delighted if the information is there and ‘not’ if it cannot be found. After having read the book, however, I can honestly say I am deeply impressed. There are 432 pages of tightly packed information with (as already mentioned) a liberal supply of historic images and line drawings. Personally, I never tire of looking at photographs of ships that are long gone - and, with the exception of HMS Belfast now moored on the Thames in London, none of these ships remain in existence.

Halfway through the book, I paused to see how many other books about British Cruisers were also available and was surprised to discover how few there are. Those that do exist are, generally, for a specific type or design with none being as comprehensive as this work. A small point perhaps, but any work designed to fill such a large hole in the market would have to be of exceptional quality and that is exactly what you get. Furthermore, each of those aforementioned qualities and feature combine to provide a product which caters equally for those with a casual interest to others with a more professional expertise. Or, to put it another way, this is possibly the only work you will need on the subject - and that applies to expert and amateur alike.

All things considered, I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with this quite exceptional work.

NM

British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After
British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After
by Norman Friedman
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 110.93
13 used & new from CDN$ 55.80

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quite exceptional., Sept. 11 2014
Norman Friedman is an acclaimed American naval historian of the highest calibre with three of his works having crossed my desk since March of this year. Whereas the first of these (Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery) quickly became indispensible and is in continuous use, I found the second (Naval Firepower; Battleship Guns & Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era) rather turgid and hard-going.

In this instance, I am happy to review a book which appears to have everything one might hope to find. Firstly the information is not only ‘there’ but it is also presented in a most readable style - and that is always welcome. Secondly, the historic B&W images are of the highest calibre. Each of these is accompanied by a fully descriptive caption - many of which point out some little additional snippet which adds to the overall enjoyment and interest. In addition, throughout the work we also find a large number of line drawings (side profiles and deck plans) of the highest possible quality.

The work commences with: Glossary & Abbreviations and Acknowledgements - both of which are worth a moment of study. The chapters, which are mostly self-explanatory, are as follows: (1) Introduction, (2) Protecting Trade, (3) Destroyer-Killers, (4) War Experience, (5) Treaties and Heavy Cruisers, (6) The 1930 London Treaty and its Cruisers, (7) The Slide toward War, (8) War, (9) Wartime Cruiser Design, (10) Post-War Cruisers and (11) The Missiles Age. The book then concludes with; an Appendix on Fast Minelayers, Notes, Bibliography, Data List (specifications), List of Ships and an Index.

As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do!), the full value of this work will only become apparent when I am looking for some awkward detail at some time in the future. Naturally, I will be delighted if the information is there and ‘not’ if it cannot be found. After having read the book, however, I can honestly say I am deeply impressed. There are 432 pages of tightly packed information with (as already mentioned) a liberal supply of historic images and line drawings. Personally, I never tire of looking at photographs of ships that are long gone - and, with the exception of HMS Belfast now moored on the Thames in London, none of these ships remain in existence.

Halfway through the book, I paused to see how many other books about British Cruisers were also available and was surprised to discover how few there are. Those that do exist are, generally, for a specific type or design with none being as comprehensive as this work. A small point perhaps, but any work designed to fill such a large hole in the market would have to be of exceptional quality and that is exactly what you get. Furthermore, each of those aforementioned qualities and feature combine to provide a product which caters equally for those with a casual interest to others with a more professional expertise. Or, to put it another way, this is possibly the only work you will need on the subject - and that applies to expert and amateur alike.

All things considered, I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with this quite exceptional work.

NM

From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Volume III: Jutland and After, May to December 1916
From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Volume III: Jutland and After, May to December 1916
by Arthur J Marder
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 23.51
29 used & new from CDN$ 17.25

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 With no bias beyond the wish to provide an accurate account!, Sept. 9 2014
This is Vol. 3 in a series of 5 excellent books which fully explain the Royal Navy from 1904-1909. When launched in 1906, HMS Dreadnought was so revolutionary it rendered all other warships obsolete. From that point onwards all battleships were designated as either Dreadnought or pre-Dreadnought - almost in the same way as aircraft went on to become known as either propeller or jet-driven many years later. This new breed of ship, however, meant that any nation with the requisite capabilities could now build themselves an entire fleet at the same speed as any other and the Royal Navy’s supremacy in terms of numbers of afloat ships was ended. In 1918, after four years of bloody conflict, Germany was defeated and her naval fleet interned at Scapa Flow. On 21 June 1919, under the very noses of the British, Admiral von Reuter successfully scuttled that fleet - thus denying so many valuable vessels to his former enemies. That entire period is the subject of those 5 volumes with this (Volume 3) dealing with the Battle of Jutland and its aftermath.

Renowned author and historian Arthur J. Marder (1910-1980) was Emeritus Professor of History at the University of California who concentrated on British naval history. His was one of the most distinguished careers with many established British sources expressing astonishment at the calibre and excellence of his work! As one who spends most of his waking hours immersed in shipwreck research, I can only add that, with so much information spread over 5 volumes, it is astounding how he also manages to maintain an extraordinarily good read throughout.

Once again we have a very thick book (1 inches or 32 mm) with over 370 tightly packed pages. Illustrations are few and comprise; 16 historic photographs (4 ships and 12 personalities), a line drawing of a Handling Room on a British ship and a chart showing alternative routes for the German Fleet. The final 19 pages contain 15 charts showing the evolving phases of the Battle of Jutland plus one of the North Sea area of operations. The remainder of this book consists of the most meticulously researched, fully detailed and carefully presented description of the time and events in question.

By commencing with an Introduction followed by Prefaces to the first and second editions - we are brought fully up to date in readiness for what follows. The Chapters are; (1) Jellicoe’s Tactics; Motivating factors, Employment of light forces, Night fighting and Critique, (2) Jutland - the Battle-Cruiser Phase; Preliminaries, Contact, the Run to the South and the Run to the North, (3) The Battle Fleets in Action; Deployment, First encounter, Second Encounter and Last daylight action, (4) Jutland - the Night Action; Dispositions, Night Actions & Scheer’s escape and Dawn and the morning after, (5) Jutland - Comparisons and Reflections; Matériel (i.e. equipment and supplies used), Non-matériel factors and Tactics, (6) Jutland - Evaluation; Reactions and Results, (7) Post-Jutland Reformation; Sweeping changes, New tactics and Problems in strategy, (8) The Grand Fleet after Jutland; Blind man’s buff and Results, (9) End of the Balfour-Jackson Regime; Admiralty under fire, U-Boat offensive and Shake-up of the navy high command. The work then concludes with Appendices on the organisation of both the Grand Fleet and German Fleet.

The Battle of Jutland was many things. It was the last major naval encounter between two opposing fleets of battleships and, of course, the tactics had barely changed since the days of Nelson over 100 years earlier. Those who favour one side over the other will say ‘we sank more of your ships’ and their opponents will respond with ‘but we damaged or destroyed a larger tonnage of yours.’ All of which underlines the fact that Jutland was indecisive with neither side winning or losing.

It is not, therefore, the task of a humble book review to provide any definitive answers or explanations - where none exist. Similarly, it would be pointless to paraphrase Marder’s valuable clarification of events for fear of misrepresenting what is said. What I can do, however, is explain what this book is all about and offer a personal recommendation for this series of 5 works because they were written by an American who held no bias beyond the wish to provide an accurate account.

NM
British army major (retired)

Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era
Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era
by Norman Friedman
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 26.43

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Perhaps such a technical undertaking was bound to contain errors?, Sept. 7 2014
During my recent review of Norman Friedman’s “Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery” - from which I learned a great deal about the subject, I came across this title and immediately obtained a copy. Sadly it is the first of his books to have really disappointed me. I study (and write about!) shipwrecks for a living. It’s what I do. As such, I find myself researching the intricacies of whatever ferry, freighter, frigate or tanker is the subject of the moment. Warships are, of course, always particularly interesting and no aspect more so than their offensive capabilities. In addition to that aspect of my own interest in this work, I also possess an above-average grasp of the English language.

As a scholar, Norman Friedman appears to occupy a league all of his own. He is an acclaimed American naval historian of the highest calibre and, of his 3 books I have previously reviewed - each scored high marks and well-deserved compliments from me. In this particular instance, however, I found the work suffering from two separate ailments - both of which need to be addressed with neither being repeated.

The first is one I am able to forgive - if only because there are those who seek to study the finer points of technical detail and, therefore, require books that are so very detailed. In short, this work is far too technical for the casual reader and is often couched in a language which most people will find foreign and all will find hard-going. It is not a book which I have enjoyed studying at all and is one which I came close to discarding several times…

The second, however, is not so forgivable and is not easy to define. Because words, phrases and terminology interest me, I frequently find myself re-reading and re-reading whatever passage troubles me in a bid to achieve a complete understanding. After all, if you really don’t understand the Shakespeare comment “Methinks she doth protest too much,” you will not understand the play until that line is explained. In this instance, and on several occasions, there was no understanding to be had. Obfuscation is a means of concealing a lack of knowledge. It’s also called bluffing.

Whereas the title suggests the work is about Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era, it is in effect devoted to fire control - with all the mathematical equations a gunnery officer needed to understand… From the comments appended to some of the reviews for this work posted on Amazon.com, I also learned that many errors have been included. As all experienced researchers will testify, the one single ‘fact’ that you accept as correct without it being checked is the one that will prove to be incorrect. In this work, there would appear to be too many such mistakes to pass without comment.

As stated, this is a highly technical work which relies too much on mathematical equations for the casual reader. It is a work largely comprising 14 chapters as follows: (1) The Gunnery Problem, (2) Range-keeping, (3) Shooting and Hitting, (4) Tactics 1904-14, (5) The Surprises of War 1914-18, (6) Between the Wars, (7) The Second World War, (8) The German Navy, (9) The US Navy, (10) The US Navy at War, (11) The Imperial Japanese Navy, (12) The French Navy, (13) The Italian Navy and (14) The Russian and Soviet Navies. These are preceded by: Notes on Units of Measurement, Notes and Abbreviations, Author’s Acknowledgements and an Introduction. The work concludes with Appendices (on: Propellants, Guns, Shells and Armour), Notes, Glossary, Bibliography and Index.

My biggest problem with the work will forever remain those factual inaccuracies - although it must be conceded that such a technical undertaking was, perhaps, bound to contain some errors.

NM

Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack that Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic
Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack that Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic
Prix : CDN$ 18.14

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Provides the answers to an awful lot of questions., Sept. 4 2014
On 1 September 1939, the British liner Athenia (13,581 grt), under command of Captain James Cook, departed British waters carrying passengers for Montreal. At 1115 hrs 3 September the British declared war on Germany and at 1945 hrs that evening, when the ship was some 250 miles into the Atlantic, she was torpedoed by U30. On board were 1,103 passengers - of which 311 were American citizens, plus a crew of 315. The U Boat then surfaced and commenced shelling the ship which was already in a sinking condition. Many people were already dead and the task of launching the boats made all the more difficult by the ship’s list. One full boat fell from the davits, another capsized and a third ran into the screw of a Norwegian ship which came alongside to assist. Altogether 128 persons died.

Mindful of how the loss of the Lusitania in May 1915 influenced America’s decision to enter WW1, German propaganda made preposterous claims in which they sought to blame the British resulting in the British government having to formally deny all culpability and make a number of assurances to the US government as follows; (1) That the ship carried no bullion or securities, no guns, munitions of war or explosives, (2) That the ship was NOT sunk either by contact with a British mine, by British submarine, by gunfire of British destroyers or by internal explosion but instead, in accordance with the evidence they were able to produce, was sunk by German submarine, (3) That the ship was neither armed nor stiffened to receive armament of any kind and was not intended to be used as an armed raider, armed merchant cruiser or in any other offensive capacity at the end of the voyage on which she was sunk.

So commenced the Battle of the Atlantic - the longest battle of WW2.

In this excellent and thought-provoking account, we learn much that might have ordinarily been overlooked by other authors. This is the first major work to take a fresh look at this particular sinking for over 50 years and during that time, certain documents not previously available for public scrutiny, will have been released under whatever 30 or 50 year rule was in force. Those documents have clearly been sourced and carefully studied as part of the preparation for this book.

As mentioned elsewhere, I am currently engaged in a huge project concerning the fate of passenger and cruise ships throughout history. ‘So many ships - so little time,’ it really is a daunting venture. Several of the books which are available (old and new!), however, suffer from an almost complete lack of credible research - with many of the more recent efforts having clearly looked no further than the internet for their inspiration (and false facts!). Those who understand the difficulties and complexities associated with ‘research,’ however, will recognise the detail and quality of information provided by this author. And, for those who simply want to enjoy a good read about an important factual event of WW2, all that data has been turned into a darned good read.

In a work about the loss of a single ship - which might easily be described as the most important sinking of the war - if only because it was so politically sensitive, we have a product worthy of the incident, an account worth reading and the answers to an awful lot of previously unanswered questions.

NM

Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll (Oct 15 2012)
Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack That Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic by Francis M. Carroll (Oct 15 2012)
by Francis M. Carroll
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from CDN$ 41.62

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Provides the answers to an awful lot of questions., Sept. 4 2014
On 1 September 1939, the British liner Athenia (13,581 grt), under command of Captain James Cook, departed British waters carrying passengers for Montreal. At 1115 hrs 3 September the British declared war on Germany and at 1945 hrs that evening, when the ship was some 250 miles into the Atlantic, she was torpedoed by U30. On board were 1,103 passengers - of which 311 were American citizens, plus a crew of 315. The U Boat then surfaced and commenced shelling the ship which was already in a sinking condition. Many people were already dead and the task of launching the boats made all the more difficult by the ship’s list. One full boat fell from the davits, another capsized and a third ran into the screw of a Norwegian ship which came alongside to assist. Altogether 128 persons died.

Mindful of how the loss of the Lusitania in May 1915 influenced America’s decision to enter WW1, German propaganda made preposterous claims in which they sought to blame the British resulting in the British government having to formally deny all culpability and make a number of assurances to the US government as follows; (1) That the ship carried no bullion or securities, no guns, munitions of war or explosives, (2) That the ship was NOT sunk either by contact with a British mine, by British submarine, by gunfire of British destroyers or by internal explosion but instead, in accordance with the evidence they were able to produce, was sunk by German submarine, (3) That the ship was neither armed nor stiffened to receive armament of any kind and was not intended to be used as an armed raider, armed merchant cruiser or in any other offensive capacity at the end of the voyage on which she was sunk.

So commenced the Battle of the Atlantic - the longest battle of WW2.

In this excellent and thought-provoking account, we learn much that might have ordinarily been overlooked by other authors. This is the first major work to take a fresh look at this particular sinking for over 50 years and during that time, certain documents not previously available for public scrutiny, will have been released under whatever 30 or 50 year rule was in force. Those documents have clearly been sourced and carefully studied as part of the preparation for this book.

As mentioned elsewhere, I am currently engaged in a huge project concerning the fate of passenger and cruise ships throughout history. ‘So many ships - so little time,’ it really is a daunting venture. Several of the books which are available (old and new!), however, suffer from an almost complete lack of credible research - with many of the more recent efforts having clearly looked no further than the internet for their inspiration (and false facts!). Those who understand the difficulties and complexities associated with ‘research,’ however, will recognise the detail and quality of information provided by this author. And, for those who simply want to enjoy a good read about an important factual event of WW2, all that data has been turned into a darned good read.

In a work about the loss of a single ship - which might easily be described as the most important sinking of the war - if only because it was so politically sensitive, we have a product worthy of the incident, an account worth reading and the answers to an awful lot of previously unanswered questions.

NM

Capital Ships at War 1939-1945
Capital Ships at War 1939-1945
by John Grehan
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 20.92

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Provides a well-written series of exciting accounts., Sept. 3 2014
In a series of encounters involving some of the greatest ships from WW2, this work provides a valuable and interesting overview of some of the most amazing battles in which they were involved.

In December 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was brought to action and famously scuttled at Montevideo. Although much of the burned out wreck has slowly sunk into the muddy seabed over the years, it is interesting to learn her mast tops are still visible.

At the outbreak of hostilities, HMS Hood - for so many years the pride of the British fleet, was the largest ship of her type afloat and yet she was destined to be utterly destroyed by a single shell during an encounter with the Bismarck which was immediately hunted down and also destroyed. Severely damaged by the exploits of those who manned the miniature submarines called ‘X-Craft,’ the Bismarck’s sister ship Tirpitz never saw fleet action and became an utterly wasted resource until finally bombed and sunk off Norway. The brand new HMS Prince of Wales - so new, the builders were still on board when she went into action against the Bismarck, survived only long enough to be lost alongside the older battlecruiser HMS Repulse within a week of Pearl Harbour.

These and other stories such as the Battle of the Denmark Strait and the Battle of North Cape are well-documented naval actions brought together in this work by concentrating on official documents, the personal despatches of the commanding officers and accounts from various survivors. They all combine to provide a well-written series of exciting accounts which will provide a firm foundation for those who are unfamiliar with the subject.

The work is mostly text with a few maps and a selection of 17 historic b&w glossy photographs placed together in the middle of the book.

NM

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