Based on the author's own vivid experiences, The Cruel Sea is the nail-biting story of the crew of HMS Compass Rose, a corvette assigned to protect convoys during World War II.
Darting back and forth across the icy North Atlantic, Compass Rose played a deadly cat-and-mouse game with packs of German U-boats lying in wait beneath the ocean waves. Packed with tension and vivid descriptions of agonizing U-boat hunts, this tale of the most bitter and chilling campaign of the war tells of ordinary men who had to master their own fears before they could face a brutal menace - one that would strike without warning from the deep.
©1951 Nicholas Monsarrat (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
If you like me saw the movie before picking up this book, you can't help but see Jack Hawkins as the face of Ericson. The book and the movie are so similar you would think Monsarrat had written a screen play. The characters are many and varied and you will care about them. It's a rare talent that can capture the boredom and tedium (that is ninety-nine percent of war) without being similarly boring and tedious. This was a period in the war when all was in doubt and British sailors had little means to fight a battle of attrition. Monsarrat has a knack for dissecting human character exposing the qualities that make persons weak or strong; a follower or a leader; petty or courageous.
Yes. I was concerned that it would lack suspense fir me because I previously read the book and saw the 1953 movie.
Vance gives a different voice to each character. Its as if you are listening to a play.
A geat story, authentic and one which really stays with you after you put the book down.
The book is a memorial to the seamen of WW2 who died in the Atlantic.
The captain of the Compas Rose, a character both believable and a typical Royal Navy captain.
Vance certainly brings the characters to life. The book was published in 1951 and is still a great read.
WW2 1939 to 1945
The book is factual ( I am 93 and lived through those days so I can vouch for that. It stays with you and you begin comparing the present with those days of the Greatest Generation.
Maybe I am getting too old!!!
It was good to get back to this book which I can remember sitting on my fathers book shelf and having seen the old movie many years ago. What was very clear from the start is the understanding the author has of life at sea and of the characters. I googled Nicholas Monsarrat to find that he actually served on the vessels he writes about. Although he states at the start it is a true story but all characters are fictionalized it is clearly based on his actual experiences. Having been at sea much rings very true.
History nut w/soft heart
Hard to praise this book enough. Great and moving insights not only into the Battle of the Atlantic, but also very adult in its portrayal of the human relationships both on board ship and ashore. Highly recommended.
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