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Posted September 3, 2012
Neither history nor historical fiction, this account of the hunt for and sinking of the Bismarck might be called fictionalized history. It's a decent telling of the events of the Bismarck's brief voyage, but consists mostly of invented dialog spoken by characters who didn't exist and descriptions of scenes that the author could only guess at because he did little research. There's no background about the German and British navies, World War II naval tactics are ignored, the Bismarck herself is not described, her design and capabilities are not discussed, her potential impact on the course of the war is hardly mentioned, and the strategy of her mission is left to the reader's imagination. We have no idea who is directing the operation on the British side--the author neglects to name the naval officers in charge, referring to them only as "the Admiral" and "the Rear Admiral," and does not bother developing them as characters. He doesn't even mention the date that all these events were taking place. Forester was a good prose stylist, but this book must have been written in haste, probably to fulfill a commission with a tight deadline, or perhaps to serve as the basis for the movie script.
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Posted March 13, 2013
I would recomend the book to people who like to learn about who was on the ship, not about the ship.
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