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Battle for the North Atlantic: The Strategic Naval Campaign that Won World War II in Europe Hardcover – June 13, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press; First edition (June 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760339910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760339916
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,622,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The narrative is kept lively and engaging through the telling of numerous tactical sea engagements in detail. The author does a good job hitting the high points of these sea battles to show the difficult circumstances of the North Atlantic sailor on both sides of the war." - Military Review

"The author does a splendid job of presenting the campaign in all of its facets. This book is well laid out and illustrated with photos, maps and drawings that capture the participants, technology and events of the campaign." - Sea Power

"Few images of the Second World War are more iconic than a U-boat awash on the broad Atlantic, or a torpedoed merchant ship, burning furiously as she slips below the waves. If you like that kind of stuff, ou will like John Bruning's illustrated book Battle for the North Atlantic. In the language of booksellers, it's a beautiful book. Bruning writes well and has eye for a story." - Naval History

"This is a beautiful book for the mind as well as the eye. Bruning â?? an adept historian and agile writer â?? has wonderfully addressed the vast and complex combat which took place in the North Atlantic during World War II. This book will give the reader a comprehensive knowledge of the Battle for the North Atlantic beyond simple numbers and dates, addresses all aspects of the years long battle, transgresses national bias and gives an excellent understanding of the events as they unfolded. John Bruning has written a remarkable book." - Travel For Aircraft (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

From the Inside Flap

The Battle of the Atlantic began on the first day of World War II in Europe and lasted throughout the six long years of the war. Between 1939 and 1945, several thousand ships, both civilian and military, were involved in the conflict that encompassed thousands of miles of ocean.
While Allied merchant vessels brought much-needed materiel from the Americas to Great Britain, they were hounded by U-boats and other warships of the German navy and were defended, at first, by British and Canadian forces. But even before the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States officially into the war, American forces began taking part in convoy defense in September 1941.
The German campaign began in earnest in mid-1940, when the defeat of France gained Germany access to naval bases on the Atlantic coast. Evolving British tactics early in 1941, combined with new short-wave radar, turned the tide for the Allies—for a while. Tactical and technological advances continued to swing the overall advantage between the Allied and Axis powers. The formal entrance of the United States into the war in December 1941 eventually shifted the power back to the Allies, and from late 1942 through early 1943, the Germans were largely driven from the Atlantic.
Battle for the North Atlantic covers the mostly civilian crews of the U.S. Merchant Marine as well as the Allied and German military crews involved in this life-and-death struggle on the high seas. More than three hundred photos, including many rare color photographs, document the cramped and dangerous conditions endured by both sides of the long and often ruthless campaign. This engaging, informative text by John R. Bruning captures all the action of the battles and serves as a tribute to the wartime sacrifices made by civilian mariners.

Author bio:
John R. Bruning has been a professional military historian and writer since 1990. He is the author of Crimson Sky: The Air Battle for Korea, The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph, Ship Strike Pacific, Bombs Away!, and The Devil’s Sandbox: With the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry at War in Iraq. He served as an embedded civilian historian with the 2/162 during Operation Southern Comfort, the post–Hurricane Katrina relief operation in New Orleans. Bruning also has numerous articles, documentaries, multimedia computer programs, flight simulators, and museum displays to his credit. He lives in Independence, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Over the years, dozens of books, some quite lengthy, have been published on the battles fought in the North Atlantic between Hitler's U-boats and Allied shipping. Deservedly so since maintaining the flow of supplies to England was absolutely pivotal to the eventual Allied triumph in Europe. The latest such book is John Bruning's BATTLE FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC, THE STRATEGIC NAVAL CAMPAIGN THAT WON WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE, a 2013 Zenith Press release.

While it's neither exhaustive nor definitive, Bruning's book is a wonderfully-illustrated general history of the six-year battle waged in the North Atlantic. Initially the U-boats reigned supreme, their deadly U-boats captained by skillful commanders like Prien, Schepke, Kretschmer and Hardegen savaging the poorly protected, plodding convoys that crossed the Atlantic's stormy waters. In time, thanks to more escorts, air cover and hard-won experience, the Allies took the measure of the U-boats, ending the various 'Happy Times' enjoyed by the Germans.

BATTLE FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC devotes most of its 300 pages to events from 1939 to the summer of 1943 when the U-boat menace was finally ended. The book details the many convoy battles of the early war period, Bruning's text being complimented by hundreds of b&w and color photographs, maps and diagrams/three-views of ships, aircraft, etc. Also included are various sidebars on the Altmark Affair, Nazi code breakers, Type VIIC U-boats, Ultra, Florida in the U-boat war, etc.

As a general overview of the Battle of the Atlantic, Bruning's book is hard to beat. The wealth of illustrations is certainly its strongest selling point. However, it does an effective job of portraying the harsh battles fought in the North Atlantic and especially the bravery of the merchant crews who pitted their ships against the U-boats. Recommended.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marc L. Tavasci on May 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book hoping for a great pictorial record of the war against the German U-boats in World War II, and this book delivered that and more. Not only does it contain a wonderful selection of pictures dealing with the U-boats, but it also has lots of pictures of merchantmen, convoys, escort ships and aircraft. I didn't know this book would also showcase some of the naval battles such as the Battle of the River Plate, the pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck and the battle against Convoy PQ-17, so I was pleasantly surprised to find photos and information about these battles within the book's pages. There are many color photos in the book and I'd have to say the overall selection of photographs was superb.

The narrative was pretty good, but not as good as the pictures. There is only so much detail the author can provide on a campaign of this magnitude, and John Bruning does a good job of highlighting some key moments. He does a very good job of shining a light on the jobs and hazards faced by the ordinary sailors who made up the merchant marine, as well as the extraordinary efforts of the cryptographers and analysts who worked on breaking the German naval codes.

This book is worth picking up by anyone interested in the war at sea, especially since the pictures are so outstanding.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overall, this book isn't exactly what I expected, which was a more in-depth discussion and analysis of the North Atlantic battle. It has a good general overview of the war, including (obviously) discussions on the U-Boats, Escorts, and Aircraft, as well as specific aspects like the Arctic Convoys.

There are a ton of photos (many I haven't seen before), which I enjoyed a lot. However, often the photos in a section were barely relevant to the discussion, which was distracting.

I also have Jane's Naval History of World War II, which has more discussion on technology (like how the ASDIC worked, several U-Boat cutaways, escort positions around merchants in convoys,...). I would have liked to see more of that in this book.
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