Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews


The Illustrated History of the Raiders of the Deep

Miller, David

2000, Brasseys Inc
ISBN 1574882465
208 pages, numerous b&w photos, tables, diagrams, maps

Type. General History
Pros. Many illustrations, good overview
Cons. No bibliography (see below)

This is an encyclopedic, photo-rich book that makes for both a good reference work and a nice overview of the U-boat war. A lot of information is packed into small print on large pages.

The book begins with a short overview of U-boats in World War I, then moves on to World War II U-boat types, including operational histories of many individual boats. Next are covered weapons and technologies, followed by an overview of the phases of the U-boat war. A section on officers includes, among other items, a summary of incidents which although unfortunate in themselves often attract the interest of the U-boat scholar - commander suicides, accidental deaths, and the Peleus Affair (Eck). A description of the boat's crew and its training, and a section on Dönitz, round out the information on U-boat personnel.

The next part of the book is concerned with operational and logistical topics, including air support; replenishment at sea; weather reporting; and Far East transport duty. A listing of boats lost through accidental sinkings (collisions, diving accidents, etc.) follows.

The book is reasonably accurate, and contains numerous pictures, diagrams, tables, and maps, all in black and white. One small negative is the trade-off necessitated by space constraints - each individual illustration is rather small. An appendix table lists all U-boats lost, with data on type, builder, commission date, fate, and dead/survivors. The book also includes an index.

The only major flaw of this book is its lack of a bibliography or source list. [Please note: the following text was added on 25 September, 2000 and replaces the original text.] In the original review published 30 July, 2000, I blamed the author for this omission. However, the author has since informed me that he did indeed compose a bibliography, but it was cut out by the publisher for lack of space. It is very disappointing to learn that publishers are doing this disservice to readers, not to mention to the authors themselves. In any case, I can now add that some of the sources used in the writing of this book include the U-Boot Archiv, Altenbruch; the Public Record Office, Kew, London; the US Submarine Museum, Groton; and the RN Submarine Museum, Gosport.

Review written by Tonya Allen.

Published on 30 Jul 2000.

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This title is highly recommended.

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