U-BOATS OFFSHORE: When Hitler Struck America by Edwin P. Hoyt

U-BOATS OFFSHORE: When Hitler Struck America

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Hoyt has ransacked the public libraries of the East Coast cities from Long Island to Florida, the Washington Naval Archives, Samuel Eliot Morison's WW II naval histories, Admiral Doenitz' biography, etc., and produced a chock-a-block history of U-boat action off the coast during 1942 and 1943 and American unpreparedness. What he has not done is bring it to life. One longs for the human voice to invade these pages instead of Hoyt's endless cataloging of facts, ships, and faceless names. In the first six months of the war we lost nearly six hundred ships to the U-boats, almost half of the American merchant ships at sea, while the Nazis lost only six submarines in the western Atlantic. The Battle of Britain was being torpedoed by incompetent Americans, and only Churchill's intervention saved both countries when he ordered a fleet of ships and men trained in anti-submarine action to these shores. Admiral Doenitz was well aware of the havoc his understaffed U-boat fleet had scored, but Hitler would not follow through and allow him the 20 or 30 more subs he needed for a war-winning blockade against Britain. Hoyt recites and skimpily portrays the sinking of many ships, including massacres by both sides, and includes the reactions of coastal civilians. The picture is clear enough but sparsely felt.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1978
Publisher: Stein & Day