Synopses & Reviews
Packed with rich detail and analysis of what often transpired when merchant ships were sunk by U-boats, this dramatic book highlights the hazards of World War II at sea. At its center, James P. Duffy relates the story of the sinking of the British liner Laconia
by the German U-boat U-156
On September 12, 1942, as Laconia sailed crowded with 1,800 Italian prisoners of war, 103 Polish soldiers, 286 mostly severely wounded British military personnel, 80 civilians, and 463 officers and crew, she was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-156. Laconiaand#8217;s captain ordered the vessel abandoned, and within an hour, she sank. Perhaps surprisingly, the German U-boat then surfaced and sent a signal that brought two other U-boats, an Italian submarine, and three Vichy French warships to assist with rescue operations.
The rescue operation by German ships and the subsequent bombing raid by Allied aircraft are both compelling stories and events that had major repercussions for the conduct of the war.and#160;In the wake of the incident, German admiral Karl Dand#246;nitz issued instructions known as the Laconia Order demanding that all attempts to rescue survivors from Allied merchant ships be ended. The order provoked an international outcry against inhumane treatment of survivors stranded at sea. After the war, Dand#246;nitz was charged with and acquitted of war crimes in connection with this order.
"A Dawn Like Thunder melds a good story with solid and skeptical research....Fast-paced and yet personal, Mrazek's narrative carries the reader to Midway quickly. But it does not stop there, as so many other accounts have....With A Dawn Like Thunder Mrazek earns the title of historian, one that this reviewer does not apply lightly."--Robert Bateman, Washington Post
andquot;An excellent look at the history of the U-boat war, this will prove reward reading for anyone interested in the Second World War or submarine operations.andquot;andmdash;NYMAS Review
One of the great untold stories of World War II finally comes to light in this thrilling account of Torpedo Squadron Eight and their heroic efforts in helping an outmatched U.S. fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal. These 35 American men--many flying outmoded aircraft--changed the course of history, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history.
Mrazek paints moving portraits of the men in the squadron, and exposes a shocking cover-up that cost many lives. Filled with thrilling scenes of battle, betrayal, and sacrifice, A DAWN LIKE THUNDER is destined to become a classic in the literature of World War II.
About the Author
Robert J. Mrazek is the author of Stonewall's Gold
, winner of the Michael Shaara Prize for Best Civil War Novel of 1999. A five-term Congressman, he co-authored the law that saved the Manassas
battlefield from being bulldozed. He lives in upstate New York