The Battle of the Atlantic (in Books!)

Thank you all for your lovely comments on the new look to the blog and the new job. I have had two days in the office, plus some events (and hosting some of the authors which has been really good fun and I will report back on), over the past week and it seems to have flown by and now Friday is here all of a sudden, and for some reasons some scheduled posts haven’t gone live! Anyway… Work is going well, lovely people and the view from the office is too much (though not too distracting thankfully), there is just lots and lots to get my head round. First up Pinterest, which I am finding completely and utterly flummoxing… and also The Battle of the Atlantic!

You might be wondering why on earth The Battle of the Atlantic is on my periphery, well it is the next big set of festivities, commemorative not celebratory, that Culture Liverpool are putting on as it reaches its 70th Anniversary, so of course I am going to be involved in some ways. For those of you who might not know much about it The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest running military campaign of World War II and cost more than 30,000 seamen their lives.

Not knowing anything about it my first thought is to turn to books, which is of course where we get most of our knowledge from. My initial thoughts are that non-fiction is going to be my best call, experts from newspapers, diary extracts of survivors on both sides of the battle, photographs and much more…


I also thought that fiction might be a good way forward to. Now some of you may be a little agog at all this as, if you are regular visitors you will already know, I am normally not the biggest fan of books involving boats nor do I really read WWII fiction. Yet I like a challenge and also I wonder if the fiction will take me even more into the battle itself. Why I think that fiction will win me over more than nonfiction I am not sure, maybe I am worried nonfiction will be like homework?

The book I have found that fits the bill so far is ‘The Cruel Sea’ by Nicholas Monsarrat based on the authors won experiences, a meeting of both fiction and non really, which was at one point the biggest selling book in the world. As usual though I would really love some more recommendations from you…

…So do you know of any great nonfiction books which cover The Battle of the Atlantic or indeed do any of you know of any novels about it? Also if any of you would like to join in reading ‘The Cruel Sea’ then I would love to know, with all those ships etc I might struggle a little bit. I am aiming to have read it by Friday the 24th of May as that is when everything starts here, let me know if you fancy a challenge.  Thanks in advance as always.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

3 responses to “The Battle of the Atlantic (in Books!)

  1. My father, a sub-mariner in WW2, said that absolutely nothing came close to the reality of the underwater war in the Atlantic (or indeed in other theatres) like Das Boot the1973 novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. As you may know it was made into a film released inn1981 (and re-edited & re-released in 1997). The film is stunning – so is the book

  2. Cruel sea wd be a good choice because it deals with the individual responses to the campaign. Not many novels seem to have been written on the topic, maybe because its not that interesting to write about battle after battle. Another option cd be Harris’s The Enigma for a different perspective. Did yiu know for the 50th anniversary, Liverpool produced a book of first hand accounts by local people. Cd be worth tracking down a copy

  3. I’d recommend the film version of The Cruel Sea and also The World at War episodes that look at the Battle of the Atlantic. These often use first hand testimony.

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