Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship Hardcover – 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
No doubt it is thoroughly researched and historically accurate.
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.
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.
I like how the authors include an account of Operation "Berlin" before getting into Operation "Rheinübung," thus enlightening the reader regarding how alert the British were when the Bismarck sailed out. I like, as well, the good amount of first hand accounts from survivors. I have to mention though, the book does not present much new material, unless of course the reader is new to the subject. The accounts of "cat and mouse" situations are too long in my opinion, sometimes making the reading repetitive and loose momentum. I was expecting more material on how life was on board the Bismarck, her construction; armament; power plant, etc; but on this the book has little. There is little as well of the new material collected by research after the wreck was discovered and investigated in recent years.