The Sinking of the Bismarck

The Deadly Hunt
William L. Shirer
Random House - Landmark Books
Number of pages: 
178 pages
Grade / Age level: 

Back in print! It was May 1941 and the British were struggling to hold back the Germans (this is of course before the United States had entered World War II). Since the summer of 1940 the Germans had access to the harbors and airfields of western Europe from Norway to southern France. Their submarines, warships and bombers were wreaking havoc on Britain's supply convoys crossing the Atlantic which was seriously threatening Britain's survival. It was at this time that the British admiralty learned of the imminent release of the new German battleship Bismarck, the most powerful warship afloat in the world. This is the story of the week-long chase by the British who were hoping to prevent further losses to their precious convoys by destroying the battleship. This very accurate account is more exciting and suspenseful than fiction partially because we realize how much is at stake. It is such a game of nerves and logic, but the interesting tales of "luck" and unbelievable human error might make the reader wonder (okay, it made me wonder) whether Divine Providence had a direct hand in the final outcome. Most appropriate for mid-gradeschool through high school (and plenty interesting for adults too!). It's suspenseful, but not too scary or graphic to be read aloud in front of younger siblings.
NOTE (12/3/07): This has recently come back into print as part of the Sterling Point series under the title The Sinking of the Bismarck: The Deadly Hunt.

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