A knowledgeable overview and exciting re-creation of the final U-701 attack and defeat.




An authoritative work on the awful, early effectiveness of German U-boats in disrupting shipping traffic off the east coast of the United States.

Having written previously on the Battle of the Atlantic (Turning the Tide, 2011, etc.), military reporter Offley focuses on a short, early period of World War II—in particular, one lethally effective U-boat that caused massive devastation along the rich hunting ground of the North Carolina coast. During the course of the first six months of 1942—a period the Germans blithely referred to as der Glückliche Zeit, or halcyon days—a cluster of German U-boats marauded along the U.S. Atlantic shore, strangling the shipping lifeline to Britain, sinking scores of Allied merchant vessels, totaling more than 1 million tons of cargo, especially oil, and killing thousands of seamen. As part of a major expansion of his U-boat force, Vice Admiral Karl Dönitz, using the newly refurbished bunker at Saint-Nazaire and other occupied French ports as launch pads, resolved to sever Atlantic maritime trading routes, which fed British fighting power. The Germans drew on their experience from World War I while taking advantage of American inexperience and ill-preparedness in the first days after the confusion of Pearl Harbor. Lt. Cmdr. Horst Degen’s U-701 made three patrols during this period, the last encompassing a mine-laying operation in the Chesapeake Bay and numerous sinkings of oil tankers near Cape Hatteras, before U-701 was hit fatally by Lt. Harry Kane’s aircraft depth chargers on July 7. Offley brings up the other factors that came into play for the U.S. Navy, such as the breaking of the Enigma code, interservice rivalry, taking advice from the more seasoned British, and garnering the necessary higher-level support for a convoy escort system and more effective patrol bombers. 

A knowledgeable overview and exciting re-creation of the final U-701 attack and defeat.

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-465-02961-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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