on August 23, 1998
Wonderfully and skillfully written account of a German sailor in WWII that also weaves parallels with Greek mythology to American classics. Sometimes lighhearted, sometimes bewildering imagery, but always an adventure that takes the hero to hell and back - several times. When one wonders if Teidemann ever makes it back, one realizes that the entire book is written in the first person and this somehow adds to the value of the story. A wonderful examination of the very worst in human nature and nature itself. You will never see seagulls quite the same after this.
on May 17, 2002
One of the most entertaining books I have ever read,it displays a sense of humor and brutal realism seldom seen in today's historical novels. The characters are believable, and their simple honesty is refreshing in contrast to todays perfect characters that are a dime a dozen and very forgettable. Pick this one up if you are sick of the predictable and tiresome novels in which todays authors are mass producing with mind numbing regularity obviously using the same formula which enables them to mass produce the same stories under different titles.
on April 20, 2015
I recently got the urge to read about submarine warfare in WWII and I saw this book and was intrigued by what I read in reviews; ok, get it and read it. I want to open by saying that the beginning wasn't what I expected and almost put it down; that said as I waded a little deeper into the book the intrigue grew. Part of this is the writing style (while "fiction" it's obviously the writers memories of war. The other aspect that makes this different is that the writer is German, has a different style than many are use to and the translation factor doesn't always help) another factor is the authors memory/tale is exaggerated at times (I'm certain to him they aren't though). Focus throughout the book is more on the men and their character and interaction rather than on historical accuracy. Throughout it we see how simple and blunt these sailors are and at times desperate. We also get to see their desires and loves though it's through the eyes of a 16-20 year old. While many advertise that the book is about uboots, the bulk of it deals with the authors time on small vessels (he served on a torpedoboot, he also talks about the other auxiliary patrol craft to some extent).
Rating wise this was a tough one because it had to grow on me. Initially I was calling it a weak 3 star book but by the back half I was looking forward to reading it and it was shaping up to a weak 5 star book. Because of the mixture I'll call it 4 stars and tell you read through the first 100 pages and then you'll really enjoy it.
on January 11, 2014
I read this in a condensed version when I was a kid. Finally got the entire book. A "must" for anyone who enjoyed Das Boot or books about WWII submarine warfare. I will not do a review of the book. You can get that on the internet almost anywhere. The book is raw and gritty and pulls few punches. Booknack through Amazon gave me a great deal. The copy I received must have been an overstock because it was pristine. The book came within the appropriate time and was packaged well. The price, even with shipping, was far less than I had seen elsewhere. I highly recommend the book, the seller and, of course, kudos to Amazon.. . .
on March 4, 2015
I don't usually go in for WW2 fiction but this book came highly recommended. It's a slow start, and kind of boring, but once it gets rolling it's an excellent and extremely realistic treatise on warfare at sea. There are some harrowing passages that I still see vividly and there is a vague denouement. The book follows a couple of characters through their seagoing warfare experiences as seen from the German point of view during WW2. Not much time is spent on ideology, which like most German produced post-war propaganda, is filled with self-serving apologies and victimhood. You never read a book where the main character was an ardent Nazi or Hitler admirer. Based on the literature, you wouldn't even know who Hitler was. Nevertheless, the book provides good seagoing detail, although most of the characters are poorly fleshed out. You don't really care what happens to them, in fact, for the most part, it's hard to distinguish one from another. But the description of sailor's antics on boats, in boot camp, on shore, etc could be the same for any country's navy, and so it gives a kind of universality to the story. In the end, it was quite memorable and well worth reading.
on November 7, 2013
I first read this book as a deck seaman on my way to the Philippines sailing on an LHA. Forget about "Das Boot", this is the real deal. In this book the U-Boats Commander has to make an endorsement to the War Correspondent who is about to depart after a war patrol. His use of the word "while" in the endorsement will have you rolling on the floor laughing! If you have struggled through Lothar Buchiems book "Das Boot" you will know what I mean. Otts description of Navy life is spot on and unforgettable. If you think the Germans were all stodgy Prussians then be ready for a shock. The personalities and experiences they encounter are gripping and unforgettable.