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Darkest Before Dawn: U-482 And The Sinking Of The Empire Heritage 1944 Paperback – March 1, 2011
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- Publisher : The History Press (March 1, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0752458833
- ISBN-13 : 978-0752458830
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.14 x 0.47 x 9.21 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,345,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was a passenger on the Ariguani, a small ship carrying RAF dependents home to Britain. I was a Canadian war bride hopping to link up with my husband who was serving "Somewhere in England." The Ariguani was close enough to Empire Heritage to feel the explosion when the torpedo struck. I was lifted up off my bunk. Fearing the worst, I dressed quickly in warm clothes, life jacket on my arm and hurried to the saloon where stewards assured us all was well but the captain would not allow us out on deck.
Fortune smiled on me that day but not on the many men serving on Empire Heritage and Pinto who lost their lives. John Peterson is a gifted story-teller. Darkest Before Dawn is a page turner focusing on the U-boat menace during the Battle of The Atlantic. I read Darkest Before Dawn on my e-reader but have ordered two hard cover copies, one for my bookshelf and a copy for my son.
Top reviews from other countries
If you know a reasonable amount about the naval history of the Second World War, it's easy to get a handle on the story, but John Peterson has decided to reach out to both those who do and those who don't. So he gives the in-depth history of all four vessels. bringing them to what you could call - if you were being melodramatic - their moment of destiny, when the commander of U-482 struck at the convoy. He explains the convoy system, and U-boat tactics, as well, making this book a very useful introduction to the broader subject. He also deals well with the findings of the court of inquiry that followed the loss of this huge ship and her critically important cargo - as well as that of the rescue ship, Pinto, which was also torpedoed, even as she was rescuing survivors.
The author was inspired to write the book by the discovery that his grandfather was involved in the drama, but he doesn't make the mistake of skewing the content to over-emphasise the family connection. What comes through, instead, is his personal commitment to provide a comprehensive account of a what for the German U-boat arm was a triumphant patrol at a time when their submarines were fighting for their lives. For the Allies it was a rude reminder that they needed to maintain the leadership and organisation in their convoys that had so dramatically reversed the course of the Battle of The Atlantic
There are a few technical inaccuracies but these in no way affect the flow or the thrust of the narrative. I found though, the constant and inappropriate use of "actually", finally" "simply", "in fact" and "managed", to be irritating; this is a fault which could have been easily remedied by a good editor. That said, John Peterson is commended for most ably extending our knowledge of a forgotten event and I strongly recommend his book for those interested in maritime operations in the Second World War.