Buy Used
$7.03
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Fast shipping from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $35. Overnight, 2 day and International shipping available! Excellent Customer Service.. May not include supplements such as CD, access code or DVD.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War Hardcover – May, 1991

12 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$34.30 $4.00
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This masterful, engrossing work tells of the British Royal Navy's operations and command decisions throughout "the hardest war of its four centuries of history." Barnett's analytical narrative devotes attention to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's efforts during the early years "to keep the war ablaze so that America would believe Britain's cause worth backing." Barnett shows how, after the U.S. entered the war, the Western Allies developed and carried out their grand strategy in such a manner that sea power became "the midwife of victory on land." Barnett ( The Desert Generals ) is controversially critical, however, of Churchill's direct intervention in naval campaigns, his pursuit of "strategic fantasies" such as the 1940 Norway campaign and his concentration on the Mediterranean as a theater of operations. This is a first-rate history of the war from a perspective unfamiliar to American readers; it also introduces important wartime British military leaders such as Admiral B. H. Ramsay, who commanded the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation and the Allied naval force in the 1944 D-day landings. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is the story of the heroic twilight of a fleet and an empire. The Royal Navy of 1939 was the creation of governments that had hoped in vain for security on the cheap. From Norway to Crete and from Singapore to the Atlantic, the Royal Navy fought a rearguard action for a Britain no longer able to fulfill its imperial obligations. Only with the U.S. entry into the war in 1941 were British admirals able to take time to prepare strategies and concentrate forces--albeit as the junior partner of the Grand Alliance. Barnett is a superb narrator as well as a perceptive analyst. He tells a series of gripping stories relatively unfamiliar to American readers: the destroyer raid on Narvik, the epic battle of the Malta convoys, the airstrike against Taranto that crippled Italy's battle fleet. He pays tribute to sailors as well as admirals. The junior officers and men who crewed the ships that won superiority on the Atlantic, and in Europe's coastal waters, were worthy successors to the victors of Trafalgar. Never in its long history has the Royal Navy performed more gallantly and effectively than in World War II. Recommended for all collections.
- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1052 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; 1st edition (May 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393029182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393029185
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Sayles on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Barnett undertakes to describe the Royal Navy's operational history in World War II. To do this, he has to take up where World War I ended and the interwar years. He describes the budget cuts, wholesale decommissioning of ships, the subordination of the Fleet Air Arm and the neglect lavished on the RAF's Coastal Command. This book becomes, in certain areas, a work on Joint Warfare - the current rage in the United States, but not a new concept if one goes back and looks at Saunders and Wolfe in the French and Indian Wars and Grant and Foote in the Civil War.
This work is painstaking in it's detail. One may not agree with the conclusions of the author, but you will know how he arrived there. I found his arguements thought provoking and informative.
What one has in this work is a review, warts and all of the state of the Royal Navy from 1918 to 1945. The Royal Navy started to rearm in the 1930s but it was not always a well designed ship that went into service. The Tribal class with single purpose low angle main battery - fine for ship to ship combat but useless for engaging aircraft as would be shown in the Mediterranean and Norway. New aricraft carriers were commissioned but aircraft were obsolescent or hasty sea conversions of RAF aircraft such as Spitfires and Hurricanes. A poor choice of fire-control systems put ships are a disadvantage when engaging aircraft. In all, a very mixed picture. Barnett gives the failures and successes of the Royal Navy high visibility. He is balanced in his approach, not failing to describe positive aspects of failures and negative points in successes.
I found this an excellent all around history of the Royal Navy. It is very useful as an adjunct to the biographies of Royal Navy leaders and events. I recommend it for anyone with an interst in the Royal Navy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Bowers on October 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the brutally honest story of the sunset of a navy and an Empire. After the triumph of WW1 Britain's interwar governments believed in security on the cheap. When again confronted by a resurgent Germany they found themselves desperately short of the escorts needed to convoy vital sustenance to the Island of England. Desperately short of the carriers needed to spearhead offensive operations against a continent occupied by the enemy. Desperately short of the innovation needed to mold tradition bound forces to new practices. In U-boat chief Admiral Karl Donitz the Royal Navy faced an opponent more lethal than De ruyter or Tromp. The Royal Navy rose to the challenge of Prime Minister Winston Churchill- they did indeed stand in to Europes coasts and engage the enemy more closely in a series of actions unfamiliar to American readers. The destroyer raid on Narvik. The carrier strike on the Italian navys primary anchorage at Taranto. The raid on St. Nazarie on the coast of France. In Sir Bertram Ramsey the Royal Navy found a fighting seadog in the image of Lord Nelson. But Royal Navy's far east fleet was a thing of shreds and patches incapable of operations on the American scale and unwelcome in the US Navy's Private duel with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tom Munro on November 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a book written by Correlli Barnett who has written quite a large number of books and he is famous for a work called "the Desert Generals". The Desert Generals was a sustained attack on the reputation of Field Marshal Montgomery and if nothing else was quite amusing. This book is a history of British naval actions in the Second World War and perhaps lacks the laughs and descends a bit into a boys own account of the operations .
Barnett comes across as a is a bit of a whinger. He starts out by saying how dreadful it was that British Governments of all political persuasions did not spend money on the navy after the First World War. My god they only kept thirteen battle ships in commission. And in 1922 those peaceniks signed the Washington treaty that limited the number of battleships to a 5:5:3 ratio with America and Japan.
Sometime later all this doom and gloom is repeated when he describes a number of engagements between the Italian Fleet and the British Mediterranean Fleet. The Italian Battle Ships had been built after the war and thus were able to go faster than the British Ships and to avoid battle. Barnett then goes on to lament that if Britain had spent money on its navy things would have been different.
What makes all of these statements unbelievable is his descriptions of the numerous actions in which aircraft were able to reduce modern battleships to sunken heaps of scrap iron. At Taranto some less than twenty old slow Swordfish by planes were able to put the Italian battle fleet out of action. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk in a few minutes by Japanese land based bombers.
If Britain had engaged on a huge program of naval construction in the twenties it would have built a fleet of battleships.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Correlli Barnett is one of the more interesting historians the British have produced in the last few decades, and certainly one of the better researchers and more literate writers. I have already read "The Desert Generals," and while I disagree with his dislike of Field Marshal Montgomery, he is deadly accurate when he describes the weaknesses of the British Army of 1939-1945, in terms of its psychology and operational art. He explains why Rommel ran rings around the British 8th Army that outnumbered it for so long -- it had more to do with the British than the Germans.

In "Engage the Enemy More Closely," Barnett meticulously studies the Royal Navy at war from 1939 to 1945, covering nearly everything from battleship design to tachymetric anti-aircraft armament. Nor does he neglect the human factor, from admirals on the bridge to stokers in the engine room.

Mr. Barnett's main thesis is that the Royal Navy was let down when the war began by the failure of its leadership to move forward technically between the two wars, but through determination, adaptability, courage, and values that dated to before Lord Nelson's time, was able to defeat its enemies on the high seas and coastal waters, every time it was called upon to do so.

Yes, the Royal Navy suffered some tremendous defeats, mostly due to outdated thinking, with many casualties, but it was able to overcome these horrific disasters to win tremendous victories, exhausting itself in the process.

Well-written, detailed, heavily researched, this book is must reading for a serious World War II scholar.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews