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

Hachette. Nov. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780306921711. $30. HIST
The U-Boat campaign often dominates the popular consciousness of World War II naval history. Here, journalist Read (Winston Churchill Reporting) makes a compelling case for the Allies’ naval engagements to be better understood in order to gain a greater perspective of the war. In this latest work, the author provides a vivid and detailed analysis of the most significant events of the surface campaigns between the British and German fleets from 1940 to 1944. His narration of the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck (1941), the British commando raid against [the French commune] St. Nazaire (1942), the convoy battles near the Arctic Circle (1941–44), and the multiyear effort on the part of the British to sink the Tirpitz (1944) make for fascinating reading. The fast-paced narrative draws on a solid foundation of primary sources from the British archives and moves easily from metathemes of strategy to the experiences of the sailors and airmen of Allie and Axis powers who fought in the various engagements. Though accessible, the prose is sometimes bogged down in excessive details that seek to provide a full accounting of the war.
VERDICT Overall, an engaging history recommended for all U.S. history and World War II collections.
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