Book Review: Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship


by Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander

Philadelphia: Casemate, 2009. Pp. 320. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN:1935149040

A fresh look at the life and death of the most famous German warship of World War II.  The work has a rather German perspective, with numerous glimpses into the ship's experiences drawn from the recollections of surviving crewmen.  This perspective by no means distorts the story of the ship or her adventures; The British side of the matter is well covered. 

The book opens with a very good overview of the events leading up to the Bismarck 's one -- and only -- sortie into the Atlantic , fitting it into Germany 's strategy of strangling British commerce.  The long chase and the two great sea fights that saw first HMS Hood and then Bismarck slip under the waves is well told, and nicely fitted into the broader events in the Atlantic at the time.  The authors avoid the silly argument that the Bismarck wasn't sunk by the British, but scuttled by her crew, their narrative making it plain that the ship was doomed. 

Although the book suffers from occasional poor wording, due certainly to poor translation, it makes a very good read for anyone interested in naval operations.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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