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Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted: 1942-1945 Hardcover – November 17, 1998

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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This mammoth book concludes the two-volume set that began with The Hunters, 1939-1942. If the first installment charted the rise of the U-boat, this one describes its downfall as the United States became fully engaged in the Second World War. A careful scholar, Blair never overstates the impact the U-boats played on the war's final outcome, even though they sank roughly 3,000 ships. He is, above all, comprehensive. Rather than a breezy overview, this book describes, spread out over nearly 900 pages (including 20 appendices!), almost every U-boat action in the second half of the war. Some readers will find this level of detail exhausting, but others will revel in it, and The Hunted is sure to be regarded as a standard in its field. --John J. Miller


"A triumph of naval history-writing."   --The Times (London)

"An admirable and important book.... Should become the standard history of
the Unterseeboote for many years."  
--Russell F. Weigley, The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 909 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679457429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457428
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Near the beginning of the movie "Crimson Tide", there is a debate among crew members as to what is the best submarine movie of all time, "The Enemy Below" or "Das Boot." If you understand that debate, then this two volume definitive history of the Battle of the Atlantic is for you.
Using de-classifed documents previously not available to past historians, such as the documents concerning the breaking of the German Naval Code, and the subsequent use of the code breaking materials in anti-submarine warfare, along with a detailed analysis of the statistical numbers, Clay Blair rewrites the main conclusion of most previous histories of the U-Boats. Simply put, he concludes, with irrefutable logic and detail, that the U-Boats never came close to severing the Atlantic supply lines. They were too few in number, and when their numbers rose, they were technologically inferior to Allied anti- submarine initiatives and weaponry. Even in their best months, the U-Boats never sank more than 5% of Allied merchant shipping, and frequently were well below that figure.
Rather, the U-Boat, he concludes, was more a propaganda menace, misunderstood by the Allied leaders who fought and ultimately conquered the U-Boats.
It is also a tale of courage and fortitude on the high seas. The fact that the U-Boats never came close to their goal does not diminish the ardor and courage displayed on both sides of this cruel war.
Volume 2 is a particularly fascinating study of a proud naval force literally disintegrating under the overwhelming onslaught of Allied anti-submarine warfare. As Blair himself admits, the final year of the U-Boat war is mostly glossed over in the histories, and Blair corrects that injustice.
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Format: Hardcover
If you were persevering enough to finish volume one (the hunters) of Clay Blair's great historical account of the German u-boats during World War II, you will be delighted by the reversal of fortunes of the u-boats in this volume. Where once the u-boat was invincible, each run becomes a 50/50 suicide run, worse odds that playing Russian roulette with a pistol.
Blair notes that it took him 11 years to complete his research and write this book, and it shows. You could not ask for a more complete assessment of u-boat activity during the war than Blair provides. However, it's not for the weak reader. Reading this book requires stamina, but the reader is rewarded in the end with getting a very good "feel" for the u-boat situation in general. It's almost as if Blair, by hammering in each individual sailing, sinking, or abort, gets you to see the "big picture."
I like the author's interjection of ancillary material from time to time: the possibility of losing Enigma decrypts; the land invasion of Europe; where the boats went when the end of the war was announced, and so on. I also like Blair's outspoken opinion on various contemporary subjects such as the overbearing Brits, the vote-concerned politicians, the "unfair" war crimes trials, and so on.
Exceptional reading; the author knows his stuff.
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Format: Hardcover
Blair writes an intensely detailed operational history of the U-boat arm. He is successful in demonstrating what the U-boats did not do: they never came close to cutting the Atlantic sea lanes. The strength of this book is the tremendous detail on convoys, U-boat patrols and cumulative losses. The weakness of this book (and it's predecessor) is a failure to provide either analysis or in-depth assessments. Blair does not bother to tell us what the U-boats did accomplish (my conclusion based on Blair's facts; for the loss of 30,000 sailors Germany delayed the Anglo-American build-up by months, much precious war cargo was sunk even if it was only 1-2% of the total shipped and most important, huge Allied resources were diverted to anti-submarine warfare that otherwise might have gone to landing craft or armor production). Blair never asks, what alternative did a cornered Germany have to continuing the U-boat war? Blair slams German anti-aircraft tactics and the T-5 anti-destroyer torpedo, but the evidence indicates that both did achieve some success. Blair has an in-built anti-German bias that minimizes their success. There is very good detail on Enigma use here to win the Battle of the Atlantic and it is also amazing to see how many U-boats the Germans lost to non-combat causes (mostly collisions). German naval competence is called into question here but not their dedication or bravery. Blair never really tells us much about how the Kriegsmarine was able to continue building and manning U-boats right up to the end of the war or the effect of strategic bombing on German naval industry. Amazingly, he criticizes the Type XXI submarine as fatally flawed but never describes its development or production history. Maps barely adequate.
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Format: Paperback
Clay Blair has alredady established himself as an authority on submarine warfare, and as a former American submariner he knows of that which he writes. His two volume work "Hitler's U-Boat War" is in many ways his best work to date and must certainly be considered as one (if not the) definitives works on German u-boat warfare. Divided into two volumes, Blair gives a complete picture of the development, crest and ultimate demise of the German attempt to fight a war, actually two wars, at sea with limited resources. Vol. I, "The Hunters" details the development and crest of these efforts when the Nazi U-boats became the infamous hunters of allied shipping, while Vol. II, "The Hunted, 1942-1944" relates the dramatic counter measures used by the British, the Canadians and the Americans to combat and ultimately defeat the u-boat. There are other fine works on this subject, but what sets Blair's efforts apart is the overwhelming abundance of data included in his two volumes, and his conclusions that are well supported by that data. He concludes that the overall effect of German submarine warfare has been overrated, and emphasizes that this point is easily seen in the data. He also makes a case that Hitler's use of u-boats was a cheap consession to a German navy that he had little use for. Accordingly, very limited resources were committed to submarines or the navy in general. Throughout these volumes are a number of sub-plots and stories including the grand tale of allied efforts to get hold of vital German code devices. This is an interesting saga that remains engaging even with all of Blair's attention to detail. In Vol. I we identify with the u-boat commanders and crews, and lament the allied casualties. In Vol.Read more ›
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