Preservation, Education, and Commemoration of Naval History
BOOK REVIEW – The Zimmermann Telegram
By Thomas Boghardt, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2012)
Reviewed by Capt. Winn Price USNR (Ret.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this tale from the black world of cryptology. Espionage novels replete with the ‘shaken-not-stirred’ womanizers and drivers of fast cars, abound in fiction and non-fiction. Codebreakers have not received glorification in a similar genre of novels. Probably the foremost impediment to ‘cipher thrillers’ is the tedious, attention-to-detail process of breaking codes that does not require fast women and faster cars as accessories.
BOOK REVIEW – Isaiah’s Eagles Rising: A Generation of Airmen (Second Edition)
By Bernard Thomas Nolan, Xlibris Corporation, Bloomington, IN (2012).
Reviewed by Richard P. Hallion, Ph.D.
Privately published memoirs constitute a mixed-bag of literature, with many generally offering more opinion than substance. However, bomber pilot Bernard Thomas Nolan’s Isaiah’s Eagles Rising constitutes a very definite exception to this “rule.” It is at times a gripping account of one young American’s preparation for air war, and then his experience in combat.
BOOK REVIEW – Hunting Tirpitz: Royal Navy Operations Against Bismarck’s Sister Ship
Edited by G H Bennett Ph.D, Plymouth University Press, England, (2012)
Reviewed by David Kronenfeld
Hunting Tirpitz is a new work in a series of books recently released by the University of Plymouth Press. The series is entitled Britannia Naval Histories of World War II and comprises declassified government documents describing various naval operations during World War II. The German Kriegsmarine deployed the battleship Tirpitz to the northern reaches of Norway in 1942 to serve as both a deterrent to an invasion of Norway and to threaten the convoy routes to Russia’s northern ports. Often overshadowed by her sister ship Bismarck, Tirpitz caused great consternation among British naval planners and the book provides primary source documents on the four principal efforts launched to de-fang Hitler’s most powerful battleship.
BOOK REVIEW – Hitler’s Ghost Ships: Graf Spee, Scharnhorst, and Disguised German Raiders
By G. H. Bennett (editor), Britannia Naval Histories of World War II, University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, UK (2012).
Reviewed by Charles C. Kolb, Ph.D.
This volume is one of the first in a new series of books on Royal Navy engagements with the Axis Powers during World War II. Battle Summaries from the archives Britannia Royal Naval College’s Library have never been published in a monographic format. These are documents once stamped “Secret,” previously restricted, classified reports and plans drawn up by serving Royal Navy officers during and immediately after the war. The books in the series also contain Germany’s recorded view of Kriegsmarine actions against the British, with Hitler’s comments (Der Fuehrer Conferences) as they were typed and filed at the time. Hitler’s Ghost Ships demonstrate how the Royal Navy dealt with the threat of German raiders more than 70 years ago.
On 21 November 1918 the German High Seas fleet surrendered to U.S. and British fleets at Rosyth, Firth of Forth, Scotland. Most of the fleet was sunk in 1919 when German crews intentionally scuttled their own ships in the harbor at Scapa Flow.
BOOK REVIEW: The US Navy and the War in Europe
By Robert C. Stern, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD: (2012)
Reviewed by Richard P. Hallion, Ph.D.
The vast scope, momentous operations, and drama inherent in the Pacific War—think Midway, Guadalcanal, the return to the Philippines, and Okinawa, for just a few examples—have always dominated the narrative of the U.S. Navy’s contribution to the Allied victory in 1945. If the Pacific is America’s naval war, the Atlantic, in the popular mind, is Britain’s. America has the Pacific, the Battle of Midway, and Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny; Great Britain and Canada have the Atlantic, the U-boat war, and Nicholas Monsarrat’s The Cruel Sea.
BOOK REVIEW: Tirpitz– The Life and Death of Germany’s Last Super Battleship
By Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander, CASEMATE, USA 2009.
Reviewed by Capt. John A. Rodgaard, USN (Ret.)
Zetterling and Tamelander tell the story of the Tirpitz, Germany’s last super battleship, and the desperate, if not obsessive, efforts by the British to destroy her with a comprehensively different perspective from their previous work about the battleship’s sister, Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany’s Greatest Battleship. In their introduction to the book, the two Swedish scholars admit that it was impossible not to compare Tirpitz‘s fate with that of her sister, whose pursuit and destruction occurred during a single week in May 1941, 70 years ago.