ALL BRAVE SAILORS: The Sinking of the Anglo-Saxon, August 21, 1940

J. Revell Carr, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7432-3837-3

In the tale of the merciless assault by the German raider the Widder on the Anglo-Saxon , a British merchant marine vessel, Carr has chosen a typical WWII subject with untold riches beneath the surface, crafting a story that remains, generations later, well worth telling. In the war's early days, the heavily armed Widder commonly disguised itself as a neutral Swedish freighter and pummeled unsuspecting enemy ships with massive artillery. On August 21, 1940, the victim of this remarkably effective (and much frowned upon) technique was the defenseless Anglo-Saxon , which came under attack off Africa's western coast. What's unique about this story is its aftermath: the Widder 's incredibly effective ambush method resulted in a fatality rate of 100%—but not this time. Seven seamen were able to escape undetected on a tiny, meagerly provisioned "jolly boat"; their fate constitutes the utterly riveting heart of the book. The 70 days before the boat finally washed up on shore in the Bahamas (carrying only two living sailors) is by turns gut-wrenching and inspiring, and always enthrallingly detailed and vividly imagined. Carr also profiles Hellmuth von Ruckteschell, the captain of the marauding Widder , who was eventually tried as a war criminal. Carr, former director and president of Mystic Seaport, where for decades the jolly boat resided before being returned to the U.K., is unquestionably the expert this story needs. Clearly interested in the subject for some years and intending his book to be a tribute to the undersung and heroic sailors of the merchant marine, Carr wrings every fascinating last drop out of this powerful material. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. (Jan. 13)

Reviewed on: 12/08/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4516-0376-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-4096-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-2928-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7432-3838-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-2927-3
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