The Iron Sea: How the Allies Hunted and Destroyed Hitler’s Warships

Simon Read. Hachette, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-306-92171-1
Historian Read (Winston Churchill Reporting) delivers an action-packed and vividly written rundown of how Allied forces sank Germany’s four most dangerous battleships during WWII. The Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Bismarck, and Tirpitz “posed a mortal threat to Britain’s survival,” Read writes, endangering the island nation’s access to food and raw materials as well as its ability to supply the Allied war effort overseas. After the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and its destroyer escorts, killing more than 1,500 British sailors and airmen, Read notes, the German ships went on to destroy or seize “more than 115,000 tons of Allied shipping” over a two-month period in 1941. Read also describes the sinking of HMS Hood by the Bismarck (“vertical to the sea like some massive gray tombstone, she loitered for a moment before slipping beneath the waves”), and the public calls for revenge that led to an all-out effort to discover and sink the German warship. A daring attack on the dry-docked Tirpitz by British commandos failed, but RAF bombers eventually destroyed it in 1944. Drawing on firsthand accounts from Allied and German sources, Read recreates the demise of each German warship in gripping, often poignant, prose. WWII buffs and naval history fans will be spellbound. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2020
Release date: 11/03/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-0863-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-8969-2
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