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The Cruel Sea (Classics of War) de Nicholas…
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The Cruel Sea (Classics of War) (edició 2000)

de Nicholas Monsarrat

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,0752913,947 (4.21)72
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 which would strike without warning from the deep.… (més)
Membre:dwieringa
Títol:The Cruel Sea (Classics of War)
Autors:Nicholas Monsarrat
Informació:Burford Books (2000), Paperback, 520 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:***
Etiquetes:fiction, naval, World War II

Detalls de l'obra

The Cruel Sea de Nicholas Monsarrat

  1. 10
    H.M.S. Ulysses de Alistair MacLean (Thruston)
    Thruston: Also set on board RN ships fighting the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2
  2. 10
    Requiem for a Wren de Nevil Shute (KayCliff)
  3. 10
    The Boat de Lothar-Günther Buchheim (chrisharpe)
  4. 10
    The Battle of the Atlantic : September 1939-May 1943 de Samuel Eliot Morison (clif_hiker)
  5. 10
    The Good Shepherd de C. S. Forester (usnmm2)
  6. 10
    The Caine Mutiny de Herman Wouk (clif_hiker)
  7. 00
    Pastoral de Nevil Shute (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Set on a WWII bomber base, Pastoral examines similar themes to The Cruel Sea, giving authentic insight into the daily experience of Wellington crews.
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» Mira també 72 mencions

Anglès (23)  Francès (2)  Neerlandès (2)  Castellà (1)  Hebreu (1)  Totes les llengües (29)
Es mostren 1-5 de 29 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Published in 1951 a mere six years after the end of the second world war, this is a novel of historical fiction that tells the story and role of the smaller boats that formed the protective screen around the convoys that made regular crossings of the Atlantic ocean during the second world war. The strength of the novel lays in its depiction of the work and conditions aboard Corvettes and then Frigates who were in almost constant danger from german submarine (U boat) attacks and from the horrendous nautical conditions during the winter months. Monsarrat focuses on his leading character Keith Lockhart who held various posts on both types of boat under the command of a professional navy officer Ericson with whom he forged a good working relationship.

The novel follows Lockhart's journey through the war years from his initial posting as an officer recruited from a career in journalism at the start of the war until his position as first lieutenant in a new frigate at the end of hostilities. Monsarrat own career during the war followed a similar path and while the novel is not an autobiography, Monsarrat uses his experience to paint a picture of life on the high seas during wartime. He tells a story full of danger and adversity spiced with memorable seascapes and impossible working conditions. Lockhart's first boat the Compass Rose was one of the early corvettes which first took to the sea equipped with a small gun and depth charges, but without any radar and proved to be a soft target for the German U Boats. The corvette struggled in rough seas and its crew of ninety endured very cramped conditions, with more injuries caused by weather conditions than from hostile forces, but in danger on every trip of being sunk with perhaps the loss of all on board. Monsarrat's skills as a writer create a realistic picture of the struggle against superior forces and the toughness of the men to survive the attacks and the hard learned skills of officers who have to make life or death decisions. He creates plenty of tension and excitement.

While the novel also attempts to show relationships between the officers and sometimes between them and the ordinary ratings this is not its strongest point. It is good on a fairly superficial level and shows the teamwork needed to survive the awful conditions, but there is little in depth of characterisation and sometimes it feels a little corny. Where women do feature it is as lovers and wives of the men and one particular episode could qualify as a contender for the best "bad sex" episode of the year, remembering that the year is 1951. It could be said that Monsarrat never gets far beneath the oil skins. Where the novel ca appear even more unstuck when read today is when it strays into an insidious patriotism. I fully understand that people signing up for the war effort were brave and patriotic, but one gets the feeling when talking about other nations that Monsarrat is merely mouthing the xenophobia that was in existence at the time.

Reading the novel gives a seemingly authentic account of the struggle to keep the convoy system in operation across the Atlantic during the war and as such provides an historical retelling as seen through the eyes of one of its participants. Conditions on board the small boats were both difficult and horrifying and Monsarrat does not spare his readers some of the more gruesome details. This was a wartime situation and Monsarrat's descriptions would be vivid enough to put the book into the anti-war camp for many readers. A cruel sea, a cruel war and an intolerable strain on the men who had to survive the conditions. Its not great literature: its all a bit too episodic for that, but it places the reader inside those small ships amongst the stink of oil and seawater to create an exciting account and a 4 star read. ( )
1 vota baswood | Dec 18, 2020 |
I haven't read much fiction about WWII but I was motivated to read this because waaaaaay back in my late teens I read The Master Mariner, by the same author, a kind of Wandering Jew story covering the history of shipping from I can't remember how far back up to the age of oil super-tankers. It was good but frustrating in that Monsarrat died before completing it and most of the 20th Century exists only as a brief outline. This book being much more famous, I picked it up when I saw it reprinted and have finally got round to tackling it.

For those who have seen or heard about a particular incident in the film adaptation, I say now that no seagulls fly backwards over the cruel sea in the book...

Monsarrat notes before the action begins that this is a "long" book. Given that it is fewer than 500p it hardly seems so, but it is three times the length of a more typical novel of its day...and there is no bloating or padding here. It's a compelling tale from the outset and all the way through to the end, which covers the entire period of the war as the Royal Navy attempts to keep the vital supply lines of Merchant Navy traffic protected from the depredations of the German U-boats.

Initially we are introduced to a group of characters who will form the senior officers of a newly built corvette; a ship designed for submarine hunting. The captain is portrayed as a competent and experienced career naval officer. It is interesting how similar the notions of what this competence consists of and how it is displayed are to those given by O'Brian describing Jack Aubrey, a naval captain from the Napoleonic era. It would seem that the technology has changed but the fundamentals of the Royal Navy and the demands of running a ship of war haven't changed, if you can rely on O'Brian's historical portrayal.

The history of WWII in general outline drawn here should seem familiar; losing until the U.S.A drop neutrality, then clawing back on to even terms and after D-Day slowly struggling to victory; it's not really interesting in this regard. What is more interesting is the views espoused by the officers about the war and the contrasting attitudes given to civilian characters.

Ireland comes in for a lambasting; the country is potrayed as contemptible for remaining neutral and benefiting from the vital food and other supplies from North America, guarded by the Royal Navy, whilst at the same time allowing the Nazis to run an espionage base on their territory.

Civilians are largely viewed as soft and lacking dedication, unless they are part of the Merchant Navy. The men of the Royal Navy are mostly a stoically heroic bunch, but not in a propagandist, unrealistic way.

Various views, some cynical, about the motives of the war are espoused. One character suggests that the war is simply about who will dominate Europe; this was of course true: would it be the people who, despite such mass-murders as the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, never had genocide in mind, or would it be the perpetrators of the Holocaust? ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
rekommenderat av Barton Biggs ( )
  victor.k.jacobsson | May 23, 2020 |
"El mar no siempre es cruel", Jacinto Antón, El País, 25.07.2017: https://elpais.com/cultura/2017/07/25/actualidad/1501008608_633891.html
  Albertos | Apr 25, 2020 |
one of the most moving books I have read. ( )
  AndyHolland | Apr 12, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 29 (següent | mostra-les totes)
One of the best novels that have yet been written about sailors at war.
afegit per bgibbard | editaSpectator
 
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This is the story - the long and true story - of one ocean, two ships, and about a hundred and fifty men.
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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 which would strike without warning from the deep.

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