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The enemy below

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; First Edition edition (1956)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007JBM92
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,124,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JDThird TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first was introduced to "The Enemy Below" with the movie back in the 80's. It was one of my father's favorite movies, and instantly had become one of mine. It's only 30 years later that I got the bug in me to read the book after watching it a month ago and noting that it was based on a book by D. A Rayner.

The movie was incredible, one of the reasons I really loved it so much. And was surprised to find how much it followed the book.

There are differences though - in the movie, it was a US Naval ship, in the book it's a British Naval ship. But many of the small things I would have expected to either be dropped from the book for the movie, or things I would have expected were added by Hollywood, were actually in both. The seaman who hurts his hand on the destroyer, for example, was only slightly modified. His fingers were severed in the movie, his wrist crushed in the book.

One thing I had thought may have carried over from the book was the defiant singing in the movie of the U-boat's captain and crew, but there was no such scene in the book.

Both book and movie do a fantastic job of letting the audience witness both sides of this heroic battle between the two opposing forces. But the German kapitan in the book is a MUCH more bloodthirsty, sadistic person than the kapitan in the movie, played beautifully by Kurt Jurgens. I'm not sure which version I actually prefer. The book version seems to be more inline with things we've seen from the third reich during WWII, and things I'd seen when I visited the concentration camps in Germany when I lived there in the 80's before then after the wall came down.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of the exciting World War II naval yarn, this is a book for you. Well told by D.A. Rayner, who served in that war, this is a well crafted story of a destroyer chasing a U-boat. I enjoyed reading the book after getting to know the film of this story, which starred Robert Mitchum, and the book is quite different from the movie version. I can understand the changes the movie studio made, changing to an American ship to fit Mitchum...and the U-boat captain is not nearly so sympathetic in the book which would probably be closer to the real life equivalent. Rayner has a neat turn of phrase and his dialogue is enhanced by his real life experiences in the Navy. His book is well worth the time and a very enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fast moving, quick read. It may be read in a few hours of dedicated reading time. I am not learned enough to know absolutely the difference between a novella and a novel. This is either a novella or close to it. As is often the case with a shorter, quicker, read, there is little character development. The book is semi autobiographical in that the author served on escort duty, for the British Navy in WWII. As such, he certainly has my respect. From a literary standpoint, I would it call it average writing. A certain amount of time is spent extolling the virtues of the escort captain and the British Navy. In tone, length, and form, as a semi autobiographical work, it reminds me of "Twelve O'clock High". In length and style it reminds me of "The Bridges of Toko Ri" by James Michener, which is about the Korean War and not semi autobiographical. This short work was made into a movie and changes were made to make the movie, which of course, is common. I felt the movie was better than the book and recommend both for comparison and contrast. But the movie is significantly better in my estimation. As I previously stated, I greatly respect the author. As a work of literature, except for the fact that this work was converted into a fine movie, the book is somewhat forgettable. The book is small and short, and I am VERY glad I did not overpay for my copy. I paid $3.00 for a nice used copy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book written by a man who experienced the Battle of the Atlantic personally. It gets into the psychological aspect of the adversarial relationship between the Capt of the destroyer and the U-Boat Capt. Rayner is a great author. His "Long Fight" is an excellent read. It's sort of a Master and Commander/O'brien novel for those who don't have the nautical background. I wish he wrote more books!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Novel from which the movie was based. BOTH are recommended. Usual amount of artistic license in the movie. Seeing the movie helped me to visualize the characters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very disappointing. Having read the first and got accustomed to the real characters of HMS Hecate, the second book appeared contrived with nameless participants (The Captain) playing parts that just did not fit. The whole story was full of technical holes that did not appear in the first book. All academic as the the book was written a long time ago. But not nearly as good as his first work.
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The author describes an "attack table," an electrical device, which allows the U Boat Captain to aim his torpedo at the proper angle to hit the moving target. In fact, this complex device, an analog computer, was called a "Torpedo Vorhaltrechner," and did trigonometric calculations to derive the angle of firing. If you are curious to learn about the details, you should visit an excellent website, Torpedo Vorhaltrechner Project.
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