• The Iron Sea

  • How the Allies Hunted and Destroyed Hitler's Warships
  • By: Simon Read
  • Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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The Iron Sea  By  cover art

The Iron Sea

By: Simon Read
Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed military history author, this action-packed World War II history describes the Allies' brutal naval engagements and daring harbor raids to destroy the backbone of Hitler's surface fleet.

The sea had become a mass grave by 1941 as Hitler's four capital warships - Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Tirpitz, and Bismarck, the largest warship on the ocean - roamed the wind-swept waves, threatening the Allied war effort and sending thousands of men to the icy depths of the North Atlantic. Bristling with guns and steeled in heavy armor, these reapers of the sea could outrun and outgun any battleship in the Allied arsenal. The deadly menace kept Winston Churchill awake at night; he deemed them "targets of supreme consequence".

The campaign against Hitler's surface fleet would continue into the dying days of World War II and involve everything from massive warships engaged in bloody, fire-drenched battle to daring commando raids in German-occupied harbors. This is the fast-paced story of the Allied bomber crews, brave sailors, and bold commandoes who "sunk the Bismarck" and won a hard-fought victory over Hitler's iron sea.

Using official war diaries, combat reports, eyewitness accounts, and personal letters, Simon Read brings the action and adventure to vivid life. The result is an enthralling and gripping story of the Allied heroes who fought on a watery battlefield.

©2020 Simon Read (P)2020 Hachette Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Winston Churchill's greatest fear in World War II was of losing the battle of the Atlantic and Britain being starved into surrender. I felt tingles down my spine when I read of the feats of so very many ordinary men and women from so many walks of life who sank Hitler's battle fleet, and stopped that from happening.... Read's Iron Sea, with its scholarly research and scintillating prose style, will leave you full of pride for that extraordinary generation and their staggering achievement." (Andrew Roberts, award-winning and best-selling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny)

"Prepare to journey back in time to the perilous early years of the Second World War, where Britain's lifelines depended on the destruction of four mighty German surface ships. Simon Read brilliantly retells the stories of the hunt for Hitler's warships in a single volume, which is crisply researched and brimming with vivid prose." (Patrick K. O'Donnell, best-selling author of Washington's Immortals and The Unknowns)

"Simon Read's The Iron Sea is a riveting fast-paced drama about the havoc Hitler's surface fleet caused the Allies in World War II. Expertly researched and finely written this is a major new contribution to WW2 military history. Highly recommended!" (Douglas Brinkley, New York Times best-selling author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race)

What listeners say about The Iron Sea

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Good book if you not really familiar with WW2 at Sea.

There are two other books on Audible that cover the Naval warfare in WW2. Almost everything in this book are covered in them. However, some of it not in as much detail. If you’re familiar with “The Channel Dash”, Bismarck, Battle of North Cape and Tirpitz there isn’t much in here you’re not aware of. The Tirpitz story is very well told however. I did really enjoy it. Other than getting the book “Tirpitz” alone this is the best coverage on Audible. The best new thing that I enjoyed most about this book, it tells the story of Operation Chariot very very well. I wasn’t to familiar with this operation other than just the name of it and what they achieved. This book really hashes our each objective of the mission and weaves it into an action packed narrative. The only other thing on Audible I know of that covers Chariot is the “War of Words” radio drama where one episode is the story of Chariot. If you are interest in this thrilling Commando raid get this book. Even the other subjects covered are done well. If it was me, the other two are better.

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Action packed history.

The author and narrator did an amazing job keeping me engaged. Great depth in historical naval engagements.

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  • JoRo
  • 11-27-21

Disappointing

I gave up listening to this book at the end of chapter 2. I fully accept that to write a review based on such a short acquaintance may well be considered a little unfair.

I think the book itself is quite good. I found the author's style a little flowery for my taste and occasionally some terms confused me and I still don't know what a semaphore light is. Apparently Bismarck used it to signal to Print Eugen. I searched Wikipedia to no avail.

My problem was with the narrator. In the first place I found his reading style overly dramatic but what stole my enjoyment completely was his insistence when reading quotations of various participants (of which there are many) to adopt the "appropriate" accent. So all German comments are read using a sort of pantomime German, substituting v's for w's, English naval officers have upper class accents, ratings are given comfortable regional accents. There are also a variety of American accents. At first I found this mildly amusing, but eventually it became totally irritating. It seemed like a radio drama with one person playing all the characters.

No doubt there will be some who will find the narrator's rendition most enjoyable but I fear I am not among them as the above, very subjective, review bears witness. I probably would be better off buying the book and reading it myself.