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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

narrator is reading the book and you can tell!

one of rhe worst narrators I've come across. theres no feeling, no emotion, just read.
otherwise its a good account of the battle and events leading up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Comprehensive Account of Bismarck

Very much enjoyed this well researched account of Germany's Commerce Raiders, Bismarck and her tragic voyage. A+

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  • Rick
  • 14-10-2013

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 19-08-2013

Very good history, excellently narrated

What did you love best about Bismarck?

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.

What other book might you compare Bismarck to and why?

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.

Which character – as performed by Charles Constant – was your favorite?

Captain Ernst Lindemann. A master seaman, who took what care he could for his men under ultimately terrible circumstances.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • 30-01-2015

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TMGSINY
  • 17-06-2014

Well done and suspenseful

What made the experience of listening to Bismarck the most enjoyable?

Although we know the outcome the story is rendered in an interesting manner.




What was one of the most memorable moments of Bismarck?

The persistent British chase which involves lost contacts and fortuitous misinformation.

Which scene was your favorite?

The Catalina's discovery of Bismark.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The death of the Hood.

Any additional comments?

Very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 01-03-2018

A must listen for any naval history buff

Spends a little too much time setting the stage, but otherwise, this is a thrilling, fascinating and comprehensive telling of the last great battleship fight. I appreciated the author's heavy reliance on eyewitness accounts from those who were there, on both the British and German sides.

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  • Joe
  • 10-02-2018

Good story bad narrator

The narrator is worse than a computer voice. Truly disappointed in him and he easily makes my list of never again narrators

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eggleston
  • 22-12-2017

Bismark: German attempts surface raiding in WWII

Where does Bismarck rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Surprisingly well researched and written. Narratlon is good. If you're a military fan, you will like this one. If you know your history, you know the ending, but the part leading up to the denoumant is interesting. Call it the fog of war. Both sides making big mistakes and taking big chances.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan R. Zeko
  • 02-07-2017

Well-researched and written book on a famous naval battle.

A very good book on the famous battle between the British and German Navies and during the earlier part of the war.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicolai Aasen
  • 31-05-2017

Best and most detailed factual telling of Operation Rhine on Audible

Fantastic listen - if you have any interest in WW2, in particular naval aspects, then this book should be definitely on your radar.

Well researched, with a real in depth look at the events before and leading up to the Bismarcks grim end, I've listened to this book several times already and I can't really pay it any higher compliment; it's that stuffed with information on anything from the technology in the ships (both allied and axis, naturally), to interviews and testimony from the men who where there, that listening several times is a must if you're to have a chance of taking it all in.

Easily 5* and the best book on Audible that tackles this subject.

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  • Keith
  • 10-02-2017

very eye opening account of the battle

I shuddered through parts of this book.. no details were spared in the retelling of the fateful battle at sea that claimed nearly 3000 men...