The Shetland Bus" is the story of the British/Norwegian operation to run supplies, ammunition, weapons and secret agents from the Shetland Islands to Norway during WW2. Rescued refugees took the return trip. These efforts were key to the Norwegian resistance to the German occupation, which tied down 10 divisions and 280,000 enemy troops.
Author Howarth was well placed to write SB. He was the number 2 British Naval man in the Shetlands and had a key hand in each mission. He was obviously as close to his men as a good commander can be and writes touchingly, respectfully and personally about his charges. We learn of close escapes from the treacherous weather, quislings and the persistent, if over stretched, German authorities. If his men were in trouble, they could -and did- die in minutes in the icy North Sea, far from shore or any hope of rescue. The author lends the reader an appreciation for the sheer logistical strains behind the Shetland Bus. Balancing people, personalities, supplies, and technical details was a demanding job- one, which the author plainly relished. He was a talented writer, producing 18 historical works, several of which are available on amazon.com.
The weak side to SB is that Howarth was shoreside throughout the war. The action here is all second hand and the telling suffers. Howarth simply wasn't there. He was hundreds of miles from the action. Since this book first appeared in 1951, one gets the distinct impression that, so close to the War's end, some censorship of classified information may have been imposed. Something or someone may have held Howarth back. SB is hard to rate. Out of respect for the author, his obvious writing talent and his men: 4 stars. Amazon.com fans may wish to scroll through Howarth's (apparently) better-received WW2 efforts; "Sledge Patrol" or especially "We Die Alone". I'll end on a positive note: Here is one military book with decent maps! Hooray!