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Publisher's Summary

Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina - at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world - and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders - FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history.

©2018 Craig L. Symonds (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about World War II at Sea

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A Must for Military History Geeks

Found this book thanks to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast. He sited it as a source, and I was overjoyed to find it in audio book format. The detail recorded is incredibly interesting, and the flow of events through the book as well as the authors choice of focus on different theaters and diplomatic relations makes for an engaging but logical explanation. The narrator's tone and reading style may seem monotonous to some, but I found them very fitting to a history book and respectful to the events recorded.

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Falls strangely flat

An amazing story and we'll worth knowing but a remarkably dull telling of it. Still good to hear but should be better.

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Amazing detailed account from all sides

This was a great book for anyone that loves WWII navy history. It gives all sides of the story and why each side did what they did. The book wrapped up nicely as well with an account of what happened to some of the main players in the after the war.

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Great balance of story telling and historical fact

An incredibly detailed account of naval warfare during World War II with great narration. I especially enjoyed the coverage of the Italian and German surface navies as that is one area that I have not been exposed to as much compared to say German submarine warfare. The insights into the leading Admirals and captains, expressed via primary sources (where possible) were also very well done. For such an expansive timeline and subject, the author does a good job organizing the chapters so that events across all theatres follow a close chronological order without much jumping around. Would certainly recommend to those interested in learning more about naval warfare, or even those looking to expand their knowledge by looking at a more holistic picture of the war across all combatants.

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  • Patrick
  • 2019-02-14

Outstanding

I have read dozens of books about WW-II, and many, many about the war at sea during that conflict. This was one of the very BEST. I learned several vignettes an other facts that recent schlorship has brought to light. I highly recommend this book.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Chris H
  • 2020-01-29

Bad narration. Poor detail.

First the reason for returning it; the narration is distracting. I spent most of the time second guessing the pronunciation. That cost me more time checking. But then he got Montevideo and instead said Monty-vay-deeoh. At that point I just decided to ignore the errors, but that just made then more distracting. Basically he mispronounces any name that isn't common in America.

Then the detail, or rather the total lack. To get the whole of WWII at sea into one book he can basically just touch on each battle. This book is the same length as Shattered Sword, which only deals with Midway.

Then the accuracy. I just finished a book about the U boat war. Part of that was the attack on Royal Oak in Scapa Flow, which he also can't pronounce correctly. This description did not match what I have read in other detailed accounts.

So I'm returning it. I don't need a shallow, inaccurate, badly pronounced overview of the way at sea.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Nashville Cat
  • 2018-12-31

The Ocean War: 30,000 feet to 600 feet below

My highly decorated father-in-law fought in WWII in France and Germany. He would never have arrived except for other men -such as my father- who helped design the ships in the Brooklyn Navy yard that carried our armed forces to Europe and the Pacific. Men and woman like them saved the world. As Wellington said, : this was"a near run thing" ; victory was not inevitable. This book will convince you victory was hard won at all levels. But you get a better appreciation by examining the war at sea. It really is wonderful given the premise that --like a sausage circus balloon -- you squeeze at one end and it expands at another. Ships needed for the invasion in Europe had to compete with carrier losses in the Pacific. This book examines the global sea war chronologically --hitting the major battles and political infighting but also telling us stories about single ship actions complete with the names of the captains. And it is not just about the war. It is the war against commerce and the war to build more ships faster than the enemy can sink them. Great bravery and damn good luck in some cases saved the day. It is a wonderful, gripping story, well told.and very interesting.The print version has maps and photographs. This audio version is seriously marred by the lack the .pdf s that accompany other military-related audio-books. That said you can find most of the maps on line in Wikipedia. Get the book.-- you will not be disappointed.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Buczinsky
  • 2019-06-16

A Great Bird’s Eye View of WWII

I have read lots of books about particular WWII battles and soldiers; this one gave me my first bird’s eye view of the war as a whole, using the operations at sea as a prism. I appreciated Symonds’ ability to pepper the big narrative with both incisive character sketches of important players and engaging smaller tales of particular battles—all while explaining clearly the technical, strategic, or logistical issues needed to comprehend what was at stake in any given operation. Eric Martin’s narration at first struck me as a bit stilted, but I soon came to appreciate the care and clarity he brought to more difficult passages that require a listener’s complete attention. I liked it so much I’m going to take it from the top and listen to the whole thing again.

7 people found this helpful

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  • J.Brock
  • 2019-04-02

Most Comprehensive history...pay close attention

Craig Symonds is a master of naval history. This is a comprehensive masterpiece of naval warfare during World War II. It’s very thorough so if one isn’t paying attention, much detail will be missed. I had to rewind a lot. But no detail is left uncovered. Eric Martin’s narration strikes the perfect tone. This will most definitely require a second or third listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Neal
  • 2019-03-03

Must-read naval history

Most books that cover the naval history of World War II focus on the war in the Pacific, the Atlantic or the Mediterranean. Mr Symond’s narrative presents the whole arc of naval engagements from the 1930 London Naval Treaty to the 1945 Japanese Instrument of Surrender - from the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Leyte; from the Bering Strait to the Bay of Bengal - a world at war at sea.

It is well researched, written and narrated (if you set the speed to 1.25)

One of the most compelling threads of this saga is the utter collapse, at every turn, of the British Navy and the amazing courage of the British sailors in the face of that onslaught. After 200 years, it is the final chapter of “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!”

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-05-09

Very rewarding coverage of entire war effort.

I haven't experienced as thorough a coverage of this world war in such a compact package. Author Symonds gives an astounding walk of the entire War from the Naval aspect while still furnishing the right amount of detail on the other services contributions. And this with a very good description of nationalistic aspects on all of the nations on both sides of the conflict.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. Bubba
  • 2019-02-14

WIDE Ranging. Paints comprehensive global picture.

Superbly researched and presented. Ties all theaters together to provide a fascinating interlocking view of World War II at sea.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Eric Walden
  • 2019-01-18

Battle Logistics writ large

The scale of the Naval engagements in both theaters and the sacrifices made by all combatants are staggering when absorbed in one session like this.

8 people found this helpful

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  • S. H. Moore
  • 2019-11-22

Best single volume war at see account I’ve read.

What is so excellent about this book is it’s completeness, but perfectly balanced detail without getting heavy and bogged down. It also covers every major theater and includes background on them all. I also really enjoyed how he would use one chapter to set the stage for another. It really made several world wide disconnected theaters mesh together to show how the war at sea influenced other things. Also loved that he included U boats and convoy duty. The Atlantic never had the huge clashes of the Pacific and thus isn’t as often covered in books about WW2 sea warfare. Since this book covers things the sea war influenced it is rightly covered. At some length too. Very very good book. It is not like Castles of Steel that is super in depth and takes quiet a while to get going (but I really enjoy that kind of stuff to). This book gets going pretty quick and carries right through to the end of the war.

Eric Martin is a good narrator I know him from War for the Hell of it and Guts and Gunships. I liked him then and I enjoyed him here too.

3 people found this helpful