A gripping tale of heroism - and doom - on the high seas....
The sinking of the German battleship Bismarck - a masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch guns - was one of the most dramatic events of World War II. She left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance. British battlecruiser Hood was quickly dispatched from Scapa Flow to intercept the Bismarck, together with new battleship Prince of Wales. They were ordered to find the ship quickly because, on their way from the USA, several large convoys were heading for Britain.
On 24 May, Bismarck was found off the coast of Greenland, but the ensuing battle was disastrous for the British. The Hood was totally destroyed within minutes (with only three crewmen surviving), and Prince of Wales was badly damaged. The chase resumed until the German behemoth was finally caught, this time by four British capital ships supported by torpedo-bombers from the carrier Ark Royal. The icy North Atlantic roiled from the crash of shellfire and bursting explosions until finally the Bismarck collapsed, sending nearly 2,000 German sailors to a watery grave.
Tamelander and Zetterling's work rests on stories from survivors and the latest historical discoveries. The book starts with a thorough account of maritime developments from 1871 up to the era of the giant battleship, and ends with a vivid account, hour by hour, of the dramatic and fateful hunt for the mighty Bismarck, Nazi-Germany's last hope to pose a powerful surface threat to Allied convoys.
©2009 Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"A must read for any WWII Naval Historian!"
This was an excellent book! I love reading about naval history and the battles from WWII. Though the days of the surface to surface warfare on the high seas are all but gone, there is something exciting about steel vessels hunting for one another in the North Atlantic that had my attention from the first chapter.
It's 1941 so the regular use of radar and sonar for that matter cannot be relied upon so navies from both the Axis and Allies had to rely on intercepted radio transmissions, last known positions, and the human eye to track and hunt the opposition. And now it is up to the Royal Navy to hunt and destroy one of the worlds most powerful battleships even after they have been beaten with the sinking of the HMS Hood.
The writer does an excellent job conveying this well-known story from both the German and British perspectives. Never getting ahead of either, Zetterling effectively goes back and forth between the two navies to explain what each was doing, thinking, and attempting to do while integrating countless anecdotes from those who were there. Thoroughly enjoyable!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII history, anyone interested in naval strategy, and anyone looking to add a volume to their collection like no other book. Two thumbs up!
"Very good history, excellently narrated"
This is a serious maritime history, which is hard to find these days. It is excellently narrated by Charles Constant, who has the voice for it, and the intuitive feel for this type of material. Some of the sentences in the book are long and complex. Mr Constant knows where to pause verbally to break them into understandable segments. And he knows how to give emphasis without over-dramatizing. I'm a dedicated history reader (and listener). I wish some of my other favorite history audiotapes had been narrated by this man. Too often, the books are narrated by people who don't have a feel for the material, and don't how to pace it verbally. This, on the other hand, is a first-rate performance.
Graf Spee by Dudley Pope. Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman. Along with this book, they are serious histories, related in a way that is respectful of the material.
Captain Ernst Lindemann. A master seaman, who took what care he could for his men under ultimately terrible circumstances.
"Excellent writing sunk by bad narration"
The writing for "Bismarck" is so excellent, so compelling, and frequently so exciting that it breaks my heart not to be able to recommend this audiobook highly.
The reason? The reading is amateurish. It simply ruins the book. I stuck it out to the end only because I wanted to learn more about the war in the North Atlantic, and about the fate of the Bismarck, but the halting, robotic narration, and the constant mis-emphasis on nearly every sentence made it tortuous indeed.
The battle scenes are truly remarkable. One can easily envision the spectacular sights and sounds—from the ship, the men, and the huge guns. Again, however, the narration almost totally obscures both the excitement and the action. What a pity.
Apparently, the publishers also recognized their mistake, and picked a far more skilled narrator for the reading of "Tirpitz," the story of the Bismarck's sister ship, by the same authors.
"Well done and suspenseful"
Although we know the outcome the story is rendered in an interesting manner.
The persistent British chase which involves lost contacts and fortuitous misinformation.
The Catalina's discovery of Bismark.
The death of the Hood.
Very well done.
"Great reflection of the battles of two super-power"
I greatly appreciated the over-arching history of the Bismarck with the roles it played in the early part of the war with Op. Rheinübung.In addition, i found the climatic final battle to be of great detail and execution.
Not really applicable.
I feel the narration was moderate; considering it is a non-fiction book of history, I was satisfied.
It is a great book, but for one sitting may be difficult as there is a lot of information being played out through the story with the detailed accounts of the characters involved and the duties being performed.
As a student of WW2 history, I found this to be a very informative & detail-oriented book. I learned a lot more about the Kriegsmarine objectives and the overall intentions to disrupt the British supply routes. I feel the author performed an excellent job on providing details of the overall story and how the Bismarck played in that role from the beginning. The battle of the Denmark Strait was a tragic outcome for the Royal Navy, and the ensuing chase of the Bismarck proved for a very riveting story. In this story, you'll find the compassion of the Royal Navy towards the sailors of the Bismarck after it's sinking - it really tells the human side of the war, which can often times be glossed over in books.If you have any interest in learning more about the North Atlantic war, this is a great place to look.
"Interesting history but a dry presentation"
I am a fan of naval history so I enjoyed the audible book. However the presentation sounded like someone reading a shopping list that had been translated from another language.
Enthusiasts who appreciate naval history will be ok with that, but the casual listener should listen to a sample to see what you think.
"Awesome story - horrible reader"
The only detractor - most people listen while driving, is the book producer trying to kill us with this guy??? Not sure if he was a real person or a machine... So monotone and boring.
"Excelente book... superb narration."
Accurate, compelling and exciting
A must-read for those who like www II historical books, and also for those who just like a compelling and gripping story.
"Just the facts"
This book presents all the facts, in the right order. But it's a dull read, compared to Farley Mowat's "Gray Seas Under." It's written from naval dispatches, not from interviews with people who were there, or their letters home (as Patrick O'Brian used). Obviously only three sailors survived the sinking of the Hood, and a few dozen survived the Bismarck.
"Artillery on Navy ship???"
In the Navy I served in we had guns not artillery on ships.
Constant pauses,very distracting,
We all know how the story ends,just was looking for an entertaining take.
"Blown Out Of the Water"
Whilst I was aware of the major points of the history of the Bismarck this audiobook was brilliant at bringing the details to life. I would recommend this audio book for anyone with an interest in WW2 history of maritime history. The only downside was it felt like the narrator was rushing a little a times and could have slowed down the reading a bit. However this is an issue that you do get used to and by the end of the audiobook I didn't notice the speed of the reading at all.
"Informative and well read.."
A well set out book outlining all the background and history of the short operational life of the German Battleship.
The no nonesence way in which the facts were delivered in a unhurried and calm way was excellent.
A great narration of one of the great naval stories. Well researched and written. Recommended.
"You sunk my battleship"
Yes I'd listen to it again
The Bismarck was a beautiful ship
Any great naval battle books
All of them
Yes I could listen to it again no problem
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