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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Battle of the Atlantic, written and read by Jonathan Dimbleby.

The Battle of the Atlantic was - though often overlooked - crucial to victory in the Second World War. If the German U-boats had prevailed, the maritime artery across the Atlantic would have been severed. Mass hunger would have consumed Britain, and the Allied armies would have been prevented from joining in the invasion of Europe. There would have been no D-Day.

Through fascinating contemporary diaries and letters from the leaders and from the sailors on all sides, Jonathan Dimbleby creates a thrilling narrative that uniquely places the campaign in the context of the entire Second World War.

Challenging conventional wisdom on the use of intelligence and on Churchill's bombing campaign, The Battle of the Atlantic tells the epic story of the decisions that led to victory and the horror and humanity of life on those perilous seas.

©2015 Jonathan Dimbleby (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited

What listeners say about The Battle of the Atlantic

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant but faulty editing

Really interesting book and very well read. Especially interesting were the personal stories.

However, the recording has at least 2 sections where sections were left in where Jonathan makes a mistake, apologised then restarts the reading.

9 people found this helpful

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Poor editing

Did no one proof listen to this? Clearly not.
A terrific performance ruined because whoever produced it did not take out where Jonathan had clearly faltered and started a line again.
A real shame as it distracted from a cracking book

4 people found this helpful

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Good but runs out of steam

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book is great although terribly edited with regular mistakes and repeated phrases not removed. There are 18 hours of coverage of 1939-1942 and then two hours for the rest. The period where the allies were losing is brilliantly described in significant detail but it feels that he realised he had to cram the rest of the war into two hours and rushed it. The sinking of 5 submarines in 24 hours is given 60 seconds.

What other book might you compare The Battle of the Atlantic to, and why?

Max Hastings does this better

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

His narration is brilliant as you would expect of one of our best ever broadcasters but some basic editing would have also helped.

Do you think The Battle of the Atlantic needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No

Any additional comments?

Could have been great but seems very unbalanced.

4 people found this helpful

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Lazy editing.

Lazy editing. Some obvious mistakes have been left in. A few mispronounciations also grated on me.

1 person found this helpful

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More Politics than Eye Witness accounts

A mixed review. If like me you are a fan of Antony Beevor who mixes eye wifness accounts with an overvview but with more of tbe former then you may find this disappointing. Poorly edited with several coughs and pauses by the narrator/writer it is very heavy on politics and fairly repetitive repeatedly referring to Churchill and Roosevelts interactions (with Dimblebys poor Churchill impression used constantly). It also pays a great deal of attention to the early stages of the battle then quickly speeds through the crucial 1942-1943 stage and gets largely distracted by other war theatres. One chapter 'the war in the air' pays little attention to the actual battle between aircraft and submarine and is entirely focused on the battle between the various air commands to secure the aircraft needed. So although the book had some positives it was not my best listen and I have read superior books on the Battle of the Atlantic

1 person found this helpful

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Editing!

The book overall was very good and informative with good eye witness accounts. Dimblebys impressions of Roosevelt, Churchill and so on, leave a little to be desired.

The one poor thing was the editing. There are a number of places where Dimbleby repeats himself as he made an error, at one point actually saying sorry. Also coughing a spluttering in places, surely this could have been edited out!

1 person found this helpful

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Good but more politics than 'on the water'

Would you consider the audio edition of The Battle of the Atlantic to be better than the print version?

Yes, for listening in the car. The quality is patchy as there are a number of 're-recordings' left in the audio, and the levels vary between Jonathan's recording sessions. Could do with a final edit and balancing out.

Any additional comments?

The narrative itself is tilted strongly towards the politician's perspective of the battle. I'd say 55% White House/Downing Street/Berlin, 35% on the water and 10% implications of the battle. Rather too much of the political back and forth for me; though it is a vital part of the story, I would rather have had the politics/water proportions reversed.

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Recording errors

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

The book was fine and so was the performance, but there was quite a few repeated bits of takes, which I wouldn't expect in a commercial release.

What aspect of Jonathan Dimbleby’s performance might you have changed?

The over use of Latin, which doesn't add anything in my view, particularly if you have to look up what it meant.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

Fascinating true story written and presented perfectly.

There is little else to say but down load and listen. If you enjoy history this is one for you.

My congratulations to a master of his craft.

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absolutely loved it

loved it, amazing and extremely insightful. this was really moving and a pleasure to read

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  • Nick de Graeve
  • 19-09-21

Informative and engaging with some shortcommings

On a whole I found it good. The first-hand accounts from both sides are especially nice,
But I was rather disappointed that there was no mention of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit and the war games they played.

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  • Stephen
  • 15-09-20

Superb!

For non-fiction subject matter, this is as close to an enthralling page-turner as you can get. For someone who approached the book with what I thought was a fair amount of knowledge about WW2, I was staggered by how little I knew about this dreadful theatre of battle. Dimbleby’s delivery was superb, made all the more convincing by the occasional slips in narration that added an element of humanity to a very tragic human subject.

The way he approaches both sides of the story with respect and compassion is powerful and important. There were no real winners and no real losers - just terrible losses on both sides - the outcome of which teetered on a knife’s edge until technology and common sense came to the rescue of the allies.

A magnificent book dealing with a great but terrible conflict. Thank you Mr Dimbleby.

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  • Nicolai Aasen
  • 09-10-18

Excellent book on the hard fought Battle of the Atlantic.

Very well written, read and detailed book on the Battle of the Atlantic, a story to which I have a very profound and personal connection as my father served as midshipman in HMS Suffolk during the Battle of the Denmark Strait amongst other actions.

I can fully recommend this title to anyone who has even just the slightest curiosity for naval warfare.

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  • Andrew
  • 08-01-18

Strategic Overview

This book provides a very good insight to the grand strategic factors impacting the Battle of the Atlantic. For comparable insight to the operational and tactical factors, Black May by Michael Gammon is hard to beat. This provides the best available overview (in my opinion) of perhaps the single most important allied initiative to winning the Battle of the Atlantic - operational research and its intelligent application. It also illustrates the critical importance of coherent doctrine, training, and tactical level leadership. Mr Dimbleby only touches lightly on these topics. This may be nit picking but I think the Battle of the Barents Sea in which Capt Sherbrooke won the VC deserves a more comprehensive treatment than it receives in this book. This does not detract from an excellent overall study, however.