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Destruction of Convoy PQ-17 Hardcover – February 13, 1990


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (February 13, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517032007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517032008
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,161,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Irving's "Trail of the Fox" is the best action biography I've ever read, so when I wanted to learn more about the infamous Lend-Lease convoy PQ 17, Irving was my author of choice for source material, despite the controversy that now hangs about him as a result of his being tagged a 'holocaust denier' (a punishably crime in many European 'democracies'). I was especially intrigued that this book was banned by the British Admiralty for twenty years. Did they have a book bonfire, I wonder, or do only NSDAP students have those?
This book is a sample of Irving's early work, and is much drier and more methodical than I was hoping for. Unlike a biography, where the writer can focus on a single individual or cast of characters, a book like "Destruction" is forced to split its attention over numerous historical figures -- pilots, U-boat commanders, staff officers, ship captains -- with the result that we never really get a clear picture of any of them. Then again, the story is about the convoy, not just the people in it.
Convoy PQ 17 was a 34 ship train, with heavy naval protection, dispatched from Iceland in July of 1942 carrying hundreds of thousands of tons of American-manufactured war materials for the faltering Soviet Union. The Germans were determined to prevent it from arriving, and prepared their battleships and battle-cruisers in Norway to intercept it. The British Adminralty got wind of this, panicked, and withdrew the convoy's naval escort, ordering the convoy to scatter and make Soviet ports alone. When the Germans realized this, they threw in every aircraft and U-boat available on the now-defenceless mass of ships tacking over the Arctic Circle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Bishop on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I can see why David Irving wrote this book. So many lies have been told about this convoy by the Allied governments and the censorship that has kicked in, mandated that someone tell the whole truthful story.

The disaster to this convoy by the Germans in 1942 show that should this have been the norm with other convoys, the USSR would not have gotten the aid it wanted and Britain would have been essentially strangled into submission. In short, Germany would have won the war.

I did find it interesting that while Hitler restricted naval policy involving capital ships to a very cautionary level, he later critiqued Admiral Raeder and his naval command for being excessively cautious in not using those ships. He wanted to 'scrap' the big ships - a threat he never carried out - but had he done so and the metal been put into aircraft and U-boats, the possibilities of victory would have come a bit closer.

One thing that comes through clearly in the narrative is that the Germans nearly always were very chivalrous and humane in helping the survivors of the ship sinkings, providing them with food, water, maps, etc. and advice to on how to survive and get to the nearest landfall. This is massively at variance with American propaganda in particular, filled with lies about Germans machine-gunning survivors and similar nonsense.

Irving gives the British and Americans a human face, but the Germans are left somewhat anonymous. It would have been a good thing to show them in the same way, to demonstrate that each 'has a story to tell', on both sides, and that war is thus a tragedy for the individual. Hence no 5th star.

A very interesting read and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the WW2 war at sea in general and the convoy battles in particular.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Courie on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
David Irving's The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17 is a well-researched and well-written story of one of the northern Lend-Lease convoys to Soviet Russia during World War II. Due to a series of maneuvers by the Germans, messages by the British, and mistakes, the convoy scattered and suffered very high losses to German U-boat and air attack before the survivors finally reached Soviet Russia. Irving's account of this action is one of the most readable narratives of any sea action that I have ever read.

(The author is a controversial "historian" and a Holocaust-denier. This book pre-dates his public refutation of the Holocaust. However, Irving was sued for libel and lost because of some passages in the book about Captain Broome, the commander of the destroyer escort for Convoy PQ-17. Anyone reading this book should be aware of the libel action and should also realize that the action was based on a handful of passages that were taken out of later versions of the book. There are accounts of the libel trial on the internet. I did not even find the "libelous" actions offensive.)

Irving's account of the battle is extremely well-researched. He recounts how confused and in the dark both the British and German commands were during the battle. Much of his story is based on archival research into both the British and German commands' actions and decisions, but he fleshes out the story with great narratives based on ship logs, the memoirs of many participants, and interviews with many of the survivors. The personal stories help add a human dimension to the story, as he recounts the difficulty of trying to survive at sea in the northern latitudes with German aircraft and U-Boats stalking the ships.
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