Bitter Ocean: The Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1945

Atlantic (2)

About the Book

An authoritative chronicle of the lesser-known World War II Battle of the Atlantic documents the costly battles fought by U.S., Canadian, British, and German forces for control over the Atlantic sea lanes, in an account that draws on archival research and veteran interviews to tally the casualties suffered on both sides of the conflict.

Between 1939 and 1945, more than 36,000 Allied sailors and navy airmen and 36,000 merchant seamen lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. All the tanks, planes, bombs, and other vital supplies that the U.S. used to fight in Europe–as well as the American troops themselves–crossed the Atlantic aboard ship, a journey made perilous by the German U-boats that prowled the seas.

The Author

David Fairbank White has been a reporter for The New York Times and The Journal of Commerce, where he worked on the maritime desk. He is also the author of a novel True Bearing.

My Thoughts

Having two uncles who served in the Atlantic Ocean before and during the war, I was especially interested in the map, “Overview of Convoy Routes in the North Atlantic During World War II.” The very useful book also includes other maps and photos.

Donald Wilson served aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5) while it escorted convoys across the Atlantic six times from the East Coast even before Pearl Harbor was attacked, as part of the Neutrality Patrol.

Delbert Wilson was on the crew of the USS Maumee (AO-2) which hauled oil to North Africa right after Operation Torch, and was caught in a hurricane on the way back and the mufflers caught fire.

Appendix A lists monthly losses in the North Atlantic, Allied ships as well as U-boats.

Appendix B is U-boat Fleet Strength.

Appendix C: Royal Navy Fleet Strength in Home Waters.

Notes, a Bibliography, and an index complete the well-written and organized history.

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