‘U-boat’ (also published as ‘Das Boot’), the fictionalised account of a WW2 German u-boot war patrol is the best account, bar none, of life on a German U-boot. In reality Buchheim had shipped on U-96 (Lieutenant-Commander Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock) as a Leutnant photographer and writer in the propaganda unit of the German navy, for a single Atlantic patrol in 1941. Experiences on that patrol gave him the experience and factual background to write ‘U-boat’, eventually published in 1973. The book was used as the basis for the 1981 blockbuster film and TV series ‘Das Boot’ which was nominated for six Oscars. The book is raw, gritty and earthy. It brilliantly pictures the boredom, fear, terror and awful moral dilemmas of U-boot patrols. Anyone who has served in the military of any nation will recognise the mix of characters that crew the boat. The tension is gripping and the mental images painted by Buchheim endure long after you have finished the book. Excellent.
A wonderful history book, bringing the era, main players and a host of secondary characters to life. A wide ranging, in-depth and fascinating build up to WW1. Massie is excellent at giving views from all sides of the conflict – and despite the door-stop size of the book, it is never boring. The title suggests it is an analysis of the capital ships programme – but it is much, much more. By the outbreak of war on the last page, the reader has been made aware of the multiplicity of stepping stones to conflict that were laid throughout Europe. The ominous seeds of the Second World War can also be spotted. The only minor criticism that I can suggest is that the role of the German General Staff, (particularly Alfred von Schlieffen and the younger Helmuth von Moltke) does not get quite the same in-depth analysis as that of the other main protagonists, yet it was surely the unrelenting and rigid German mobilisation plan that finally pushed the great powers of Europe over the brink and into the conflagration of the First World War? Five stars.
Fast paced but very disappointing thriller. Main characters are English and Ted Bell, an American, is a million miles from being able to write English voices. Lady Penelope (the puppet)in the kids TV show "Thunderbirds" was bad, but more realistic than "Hawke". Most of the "Thunderbirds" plot lines were better as well! Sterotype characters and scenes. Lots of inaccurate technical details which always destroy books for me. It seems to sell well, but God knows why... Scores very high on the crapometer.