ISBN: 978 1 84908 718 6
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 2 Oct 2012
Full Title: Forgotten Sacrifice: The Arctic Convoys of World War II
While many understood that the once mighty German Army was stopped in the east by the Soviets, not all would stop and think about the many merchant ships that sailed in dangerous Arctic waters to deliver the weapons used by some of the Soviet troops. While the navy sailors operated the sleek and mighty warships, merchant mariners held jobs of equal importance, but over time the less-exciting nature of their work led their achievements out of the front pages. With Forgotten Sacrifice, author Michael Walling revisits the Allied Arctic convoys' journeys.
The author made heavy use of firsthand accounts to tell the stories of the convoys that trekked from Iceland (later Scotland, United Kingdom). While numbers easily reflected the dangers of sailing through the freezing waters patrolled by German submarines, surface warships, and aircraft, it was Walling's careful selection of primary source material that really provided a personal nature to the otherwise anonymous statistics, telling stories of suffering, survival, and heroism. On the history side, the book was extremely detailed, noting minute details such as departure dates of specific convoys, names of civilian commodores and military commanders, times of German attacks, numbers of casualties, weather conditions, etc., things that I specifically enjoy very much. I was lucky enough to have received an uncorrected proof of this book prior to its release, thus found a small handful of errors; I imagine they would be corrected for the first edition.
I had enjoyed Forgotten Sacrifice, and through this book I definitely had gained a renewed sense of appreciation for the thousands upon thousands of civilian seamen who had contributed to the war effort, many of whom passed into history without ever receiving their due recognition.
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939