Hitler’s U-Boat Fortresses – Book Review
Book Review: Hitler’s U-Boat Fortresses
The Lyons Press; 2005, Soft cover.
In war there are battles and campaigns and in some very rare circumstances a war within a war. Such a situation occurred for the French towns of Lorient and St. Nazaire. In Hitler’s U-Boat Fortresses by Randolf Bradham, the war within the war over Lorient and St. Nazaire is traced from the fall of France to the German surrender on May 11th, 1945. Both cities became bases for the Kriegsmarine during the Second World War and because they both housed large U-boat fleets were prime targets not only of the RAF, but Commandoes, Resistance, and after the invasion – the American armies.
Randolf Bradham does a masterful job of retelling the history in Hitler’s U-boat Fortresses, but he only tells one side of the story. The German perspective is completely missing except for one document created for the French after the war. What is tantalizing is the author’s personal involvement in the story which (except for one small snippet) is not mentioned at all. I would have liked the book to have been more autobiographical in nature. It is obvious that Bradham took an interest in an area where he came close to losing his life and decided to share what he learned with the audience of his book. To be fair to the author, it is apparent that he did his research when time and money allowed. As a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, the research would have been done during his free time. Still, the lack of a German perspective is troubling in a non-autobiographical work. Where the research is head and shoulders above the rest is the inclusion of the French Resistance and the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) material.
Technically the book is free of grammatical or typographical errors and the maps and illustrations support rather than distract from the text. The book represents a good telling of one-half the ledger in the fight for Lorient and St. Nazaire during World War II. It is recommended as a good overview of the Allied campaign against these two cities by the Allies. At a list price of $14.95 the book is well within the budget of most readers.
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