English language Biographies


50 North

by Easton, Alan
An Atlantic Battleground
1980, Paperjacks, Markham ON
ISBN 0770101321
Paperback, 287 pages, 4 photos, 2 maps
Canadians played a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic, and Lieutenant-Commander Easton in 50 North was the first man to write about this contribution - about the men and the ships he knew intimately. Forward by Rear Admiral K.L. Dyer, DSC., C.D.. R.C.N. Originally published 1963.

Aces of the Reich

by Williamson, Gordon
1989, Arms & Armour
ISBN 0853689865
219 pages
Short biographies of more than 100 selected Knight's Cross winners are presented in this book. The section on the 'sea aces' is primarily concerned with U-boat captains, including Bargsten, Bauer, Eick, Guggenberger, Hardegen, Kretschmer, Koitschka, Marbach, Merten and Westphalen, among others.


Admiral Dan Gallery

by Gilliland, C. Herbert and Shenk, Robert
The Life and Wit of a Navy Original
1999, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557503370
Hardcover, 352 pages, 50 photos and illustrations
A biography including substantial material written by Gallery himself, with an introduction by his good friend Herman Wouk. Of special interest are the sections having to do with the capture of the U-505, keeping it afloat while towing it into port, and later moving it to Chicago, where it is now the showpiece of the Museum of Science and Industry. Michael Gannon has called it "the most personally revealing life study ever made of a modern flag officer."

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A Bloody War

by Lawrence, Hal
One Man's Memories of the Canadian Navy, 1939-1945
1990, McClelland & Stewart
ISBN 0933852215
193 pages, 26 b&w photos, 2 facsimiles, 1 map
Very entertaining memoir of a Canadian officer whose experiences, mostly on escort duty, spanned the entire course of the war. As an officer on Moose Jaw he witnessed the unexpected leap of Korvkpt. Hugo Förster from U-501 to his own corvette, and was one of a boarding party that attempted to capture U-94. First published 1979.

Captains of War

by Gray, Edwyn
1988, Leo Cooper, London
ISBN 0850522463
Some exploits of submarine captains. Only Otto Kretschmer from the U-Bootwaffe, but includes Weddigen, von Spiegel and von Arnauld from WWI.

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The Convoy that Nearly Died

by Revely, Henry
The Story of ONS-154
1979, William Kimber, London
ISBN 0718304063
222 pages, photos

Coxswain in the Northern Convoys

by Kerslake, S. A.
1984, William Kimber, London
ISBN 0718305086
191 pages, 16 pages of photos
Personal recollections of a British participant in these convoys.

Crossing the Line

by Kernan, Alvin B.
A Bluejacket's World War II Odyssey
1994, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557504555
Hardcover, 173 pages

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Different Battles

by Johnson, Rody
The Search for a World War II Hero
1999, Sunflower University Press
ISBN 0897452364
Paperback, 205pp.
U-333, commanded by Peter Cremer, torpedoed the US tanker Java Arrow off the Florida coast in May, 1942. The tanker crew was rescued by the author's father, Kit Johnson, a Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer, in his fishing boat. This incident is the basis for a story about Cremer and Kit Johnson in war and in old age. The author visited Cremer in Germany and maintained a close association with him until Cremer's death in 1992. The book provides additional information and a more personal look at Cremer than found in his book, “U-boat Commander.”

Dönitz, The Last Fuhrer

by Padfield, Peter
Portrait of a Nazi War Leader
ISBN 0060152648
523 pages, 30 b&w photos
This is a well-researched but very biased book. To quote Timothy Mulligan, it "provides much useful information but remains a prosecution brief."
- This book has been translated into other languages


The Enemy We Killed, My Friend

by Jones, David C.
1999, Gomer Press
ISBN 1859026249
Paperback, 136 pages, maps, photos
On 19 September, 1942 Officer Cadet D.C. Jones was on board the British vessel Quebec City when it was torpedoed by U-156 (Werner Hartenstein). Survivors were aided and shown charts to set a course for West Africa and were wished 'A good journey and safe landing. We hope to meet you again in a better and more peaceful world.' This book tells the author's story and includes the results of his research into Hartenstein's life.
- This book has been translated into other languages

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The Fighting Captain

by Burn, Alan
Frederic John Walker RN and the Battle of the Atlantic
1993, Leo Cooper, London
ISBN 085052315X
Hardcover, 204 pages
A biography of RN Captain Frederick John Walker, the commander of the Second Support Goup and Britain's most successful anti-submarine practitioner of World War II.

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The Fighting Commodores

by Burn, Alan
Convoy Commodores in the Second World War
1999, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557502838
Hardcover, 262 pages, 16 b&w photographs, 2 maps
The story of the convoy commodores, most often senior naval officers who came out of retirement to serve again, and their tiny staffs. Includes useful information on the merchant service and its experience of convoy operations worldwide. Table of contents: Starvation or Surrender, The Making of a Commodore, The Convoy Signalmen, Sir Kenelm Creighton, The Coastal Convoys, The Attack on Convoy SC-7, The Merchant Seaman's Lot, The Liberty Ships, The Bait Convoy - SL-125, The Oil Crisis - Winter 1943/43, Convoy ONS-154, Knife Edge, Commodores in the Arctic. The book contains some flaws and a serious bias which somewhat diminish its usefulness; please see our review.

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Fraser of North Cape

by Humble, Richard
The Life of Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Fraser, 1888-1981
1983, Routledge & K. Paul
ISBN 0710095554
386 pages, 17 pages of photos

H.M. Corvette

by Monsarrat, Nicholas
2001, Cassell Academic
ISBN 0304354449
Paperback, part of Three Corvettes
A wartime account of the author's experiences in a British corvette on convoy duty in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. In spite of the fact that it was censored before publication, like every other wartime writing, it gives a detailed and informative overview of life and action on corvettes in the first years of the war. Much more lighthearted in tone than the author's later novel, The Cruel Sea, yet does not shy away from describing some of the grim realities of war.

First published in 1943, this book was republished as the first book in Three Corvettes.

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by Frank, Benis M
1974, Ballantine Books, New York
ISBN 0345238427
Paperback, 160 pages, many photos
History of Bill "Bull" Halsey during World War II. Ballantine's Illustrated History of Violent Century.

I Sank the Royal Oak

by Prien, Günther
1954, The Grays Inn Press
Wartime autobiography of the most famous U-boat commander, probably ghost-written by Wolfgang Frank.
- This book has been translated from another language

In Nazi Uniform

by Born, Siegfried
1997, Pentland Press, Raleigh
ISBN 157197041X
Paperback, 297 pages

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In Peril on the Sea

by Kane, James S.
The Naval Career of Signalman Kane
1994, The Ulster Society, Brownlow House, Lurgan
ISBN 1872076173
Paperback, 115 pages, 22 pages of photographs
This book charts the naval career of Signalman Henry Kane during the two world wars. As a boy sailor, Henry was wounded by artillery fire off the coast of Belgium in October 1914, took part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and was torpedoed by an Austrian U-boat in 1918. In 1919 he took part in the naval expedition against the Bolsheviks. In World War II, Henry served in destroyers before joining the secret Q ship, HMS Cape Howe. This book includes the first full account of the operation of a World War II Q ship and is therefore a significant contribution to the history of the war at sea. Other chapters deal with the careers of all the other Q ships used in this war. HMS Cape Howe was sunk by U-28 on 21 June, 1940 with heavy loss of life, including that of Henry, who is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial. Includes photographs of the actual sinking of HMS Cape Howe as well as extracts from the log of U-28.

The book can be ordered from the following address:-
The Ulster Society
Brownlow House
Windsor Avenue
Co. Armagh
Northern Ireland
BT67 9BJ

The price is £4.99 plus £1.00 postage in UK (£2.00 postage RoW)

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Little Ship, Big War

by Stafford, Edward P.
The Saga of De343
2000, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557508909
Paperback, 336 pages
The story of USS Abercrombie from commissioning to decommissioning, and an account of the author's service on that vessel in World War II. First published 1984.

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Lone Wolf

by Mulligan, Timothy P.
The Life and Death of U-Boat Ace Werner Henke
1993, Praeger
ISBN 0275936775
247 pages, 12 photographs.
The author chose a tricky subject to explore in this work. Henke's personality is difficult to understand from his actions, and the situation is compounded by previously published stories about him that might be biased. Henke served on U-124 with Jochen Mohr under Georg Schulz, legitimately won the Oak Leaves late in the war as CO of the U-515, sank the British liner Ceramic, was captured by Daniel Gallery's Guadalcanal-led task force, and was shot to death at Fort Hunt, Virginia while a prisoner of war. He is portrayed as being everything from a superb U-boat commander to 'a typical clean-cut, arrogant, ruthless Junker who gloried in the war.' The author provides reasonable, if not completely convincing, explanations for all the questions that are raised by this man's wartime record.
- This book has been translated into other languages

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Master of Sea Power

by Buell, Thomas B.
A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King
1995, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557500924
609 pages
A biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's wartime Chief of Naval Operations. Originally published in 1980.

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by Dönitz, Karl
Ten Years and Twenty Days
1997, Da Capo Press
ISBN 0306807645
519 pages, 18 b&w photos
Written by himself about his time as Commander-in-Chief U-boats (10 years) and as the last head of state of the Third Reich (20 days).
- This book has been translated from another language

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Men of War

by Howarth, Stephen
Great Naval Leaders of World War II
1992, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London
ISBN 0312088442
602 pages, photos, maps
This reference book contains biographies of the major naval leaders of the second world war.

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My Life

by Raeder, Erich
1980, Ayer, Salem NH
ISBN 0405130759
Hardcover, 430 pages, 16 pages of photos
Autobiography of Erich Raeder. First English edition published in 1960.
- This book has been translated from another language


Q-ships versus U-boats

by Beyer, Kenneth
America's Secret Project
1999, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557500444
236 pages, 16 photos, 7 maps/diagrams, 4 facsimiles
About the work of the American Q-ships Atik and Asterion in defending the U.S. coastline immediately after Operation Drumbeat in 1942. Much of this book deals with the encounters of U-123 with both Q-ships.

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The Quiet Warrior

by Buell, Thomas B.
A Biography of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance
1987, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 0870215620
Hardcover, 518 pages
Originally published 1974.

RAAF Flying Boats at War

by Leach, Joe
The Way It Was
1999, Australian Military History Publications
ISBN 1876439483
Paperback, 190 pages, b&w photos
From the back cover: Joe Leach was a member of the Militia before the war, but when the European conflict began he applied to join the RAAF. Before long he was training as a Wireless Air Gunner and was soon on his way, via the Panama Canal and America, to join the air war over Britain. After a prolonged operational tour in 10 Squadron Sunderland Flying Boats - much of it spent tracking and attacking German U-boats off the Biscay coast of France, he eventually looked to home and the Pacific War. Includes an account of an attack on U-664.

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A Sailor's War

by Lombard-Hobson, Sam
1983, St. Mary's Press
ISBN 0312697252
174 pages
Personal recollections of a British participant in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The Ship That Would Not Die

by Becton, F. Julian with Joseph Morschauser, III
1987, Pictorial Histories Pub Co
ISBN 0933126875
About the author's service on the Laffey. First published 1980.

Shooting the War

by Giese, Otto and Wise, Capt. James E. Jr. (Ret.)
1994, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557503079
Hardcover, 209 pages, 100+ photos
An autobiography covering his service in blockade runners and U-boats. Well worth reading for his account of going from a merchant marine officer present at the scuttling of the Columbus to becoming the IIWO on U-181 on Far East duty up through the end of the war.

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Silent Hunters

by Savas, Theodore P. (editor)
German U-Boat Commanders of WWII
1997, Savas Publishing Company
ISBN 1882810171
Authors include some of the top U-Boat authors working today, including: Tim Mulligan (on Merten), Eric Rust (Guggenberger), Jordan Vause (Oehrn), Gordon T. M. Kelshall (Kapitsky), Dwight Messimer (50-page article on Eck and the trial) and Admiral Erich Topp. Topp's piece is a wonderful, very personal article about his relationship with Endrass, written while he was on patrol just after Endrass' death.
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- This book has been translated into other languages

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Silent Running

by Calvert, James F.
My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine
1995, John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 0471127787
Hardcover, 304 pages

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Submarine Commander

by Schratz, Paul R.
A Story of World War II and Korea
1988, University Press of Kentucky, Lexington
ISBN 0813116619
Hardcover, 322 pages
"Here is an authentic, blow-by-blow account of battles in mine-seeded waters against enemy destroyers, submarines, and planes--and sometimes a cumbersome Navy bureaucracy. Schratz takes readers through the danger, bravery, and life-and-death decisions of World War II's submarine war and his secret mission in the Korean War."

Submarine Diary

by Mendenhall, Corwin
The Silent Stalking of Japan
1995, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557505829
First published 1991.

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Survival Against the Odds

by MacLeod, Donald J.
The Story of Petty Officer Donald MacKinnon, Russian Convoy Survivor
2000, Loch Roag Books
ISBN 0953808009
99 pages, photos, maps
Story of what life was like on the lower decks of a merchant vessel during Russian convoys in World War II.

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Tin Can Sailor

by Calhoun, C. Raymond
Life aboard the USS Sterett, 1939-1945
1993, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557501084
Hardcover, 198 pages, 10 b&w photos
The author was a junior officer on the destroyer USS Sterett from 1939 to 1943. The Sterett participated in operations all over the world, including the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the Coral Sea. For a year she was assigned to escort the aircraft carrier Wasp; shortly after Sterett was transferred to other duty, Wasp was sunk by a Japanese submarine. The Sterett received a Presidential Unit Citation for her actions in the Guadalcanal campaign, in particular at the Third Battle of Savo Island. The author uses personal documents and recollections of former crewmates to describe the destroyer's career after he was detached from her in 1943 due to injuries. Includes a complete roster of personnel attached to the vessel throughout her wartime career.

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by Smith, Ron
1999, Ron Smith
ISBN 0964339005
Paperback, 195 pages, 3 illustrations
From the publisher: A story about life in the U.S. Submarine Service during World War ll. TORPEDOMAN differs from most submarine war stories because it is told from the perspective of an enlisted man. Realistic action, language, behavior, fear, elation and love, as only a great conflict could produce. First published 1997.

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U-Boat Ace: The Story of Wolfgang Lüth

by Vause, Jordan
2001, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557508631
Paperback, 264 pages
A study of the highly-decorated and controversial U-boat commander. First published 1992.
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U-Boat Adventures

by Wiggins, Melanie
Firsthand Accounts from World War II
1999, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557509506
Hardcover, 288 pages, 41 photos
Focuses on the lives of 21 U-boat men who served in World War II. Twenty of them tell their stories in their own words; the last (Oskar Kusch, commander of U-154, who was executed in 1944 for the crime of "defeatism" after being denounced by his first officer) is remembered by several of his comrades. Besides reminiscences of a few of the more famous figures in the U-boat war (Kretschmer, Wattenberg, Koitschka, Hans Georg Hess), the stories of many junior officers and crewmen are included here. Consistent with its title, this book collects what each veteran considered to be the highlights of his wartime experiences, many dramatic and all interesting. Of special note is Georg Högel's account of the sinking of the Fanad Head by U-30. Foreword by Jürgen Rohwer. Boats covered include U-67, U-162, U-30, U-110, U-35, U-23, U-99, U-128, U-26, U-845, U-180, U-505, U-222, U-536, U-682, U-735, U-154, U-616, U-995, U-597, U-718, U-997, U-963, U-903, U-1205, U-518, U-999, U-103, U-196, U-195.
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U-Boat Commander

by Cremer, Peter
A Periscope View of the Battle of the Atlantic
1987, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 0870219693
244 pages, 34 photos
This well-written first-person narrative is about the career of Kptlt. Cremer of U-333. Also published as "U333: Story of a U-boat Ace."
- This book has been translated from another language


U-Boat Commander

by Prien, Günther
2000, Tempus Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 0752420259
Paperback, 128 pages, 11 b&w photographs
Wartime autobiography of the most famous U-boat commander, probably ghost-written by Wolfgang Frank.
- This book has been translated from another language

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by O'Kane, Richard H.
The Patrols of America's Most Famous World War II Submarine
1996, Presidio Press
ISBN 0891415726
Paperback, 376 pages, 31 photos, 12 maps, 21 diagrams
Dick O’Kane’s classic memoir of his early war days on board USS Wahoo in five patrols under Pinky Kennedy and Mush Morton. First published 1987.
- This book has been translated into other languages

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The War at Sea 1939-45

by Smithies, Edward and Bruce, Colin J.
An Oral History
1995, Constable, London
ISBN 0094750904
Paperback, 206 pages, 12 pages of photos
First published 1992.

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War in the Boats

by Ruhe, William J.
My World War II Submarine Battles
1996, Brasseys Inc
ISBN 1574880284
Paperback, 302 pages
Memoir of US submarine service in World War II. First published 1994. Foreword by Tom Clancy.
- This book has been translated into other languages

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by Vause, Jordan
1997, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557508747
"A balanced examination of the image of a U-Boat skipper. Whilst it may be criticised by some, this book is a valuable contribution to the published works of the U-Bootwaffe. Its value lies in the fact that the differing views of several living U-Boat officers, are discussed, not merely comments from those no longer able to respond."

Includes larger sections on Jürgen Oesten, Wolfgang Lüth, Victor Oehrn, Erich Topp, Karl-Friedrich Merten, Herbert Werner, and Karl Dönitz. Günther Prien, Joachim Schepke, and Otto Kretschmer are mentioned briefly, as are Oskar Kusch and Horst Bredow of the U-boot-Archiv.
- This book has been translated into other languages

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