Diary of a U-boat Commander by Sir Stephen King-Hall


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The infamous U boats deployed by Germany in the two World Wars have spawned several works of fiction and non-fiction. These deadly vessels were not just efficient and lethal killing machines, but they were also used very effectively in economic blockades. They were positioned primarily to obstruct the conveyance of fuel, food and other essential supplies which the enemy needed to sustain the war effort. In the Diary of a U Boat Commander, the author, Stephen King-Hall draws upon his vast personal experiences as a naval officer in World War I. Writing under the name of the fictitious narrator, Etienne, King-Hall presents the events in the story in the form of a diary that has been discovered aboard a captured German U boat. The diarist is a German nobleman of the rank of Captain in the German Navy. He is drawn in the almost clichéd pattern of German aristocrats of the time—young, handsome, wealthy and immensely arrogant. He is also cultured and skilled in several of the arts like music and literature. His career has been an illustrious one and on several occasions he has outwitted the English navy. On furlough in Bruges, he falls irrevocably in love with Zoe, the Polish mistress of one of his superior officers, and she reciprocates his feelings. However, extraordinary events interrupt their love story and Zoe's terrible past comes back to haunt them both. William Stephen Richard King-Hall or Baron King-Hall of Headley to give him his full title, came from an illustrious family of artists and writers. At the end of World War I, he resigned from the Royal Navy and went on to become a full time writer. As the author of several successful plays, political and historical works and some children's books, he gained popularity. He also wrote a scholarly thesis on submarine warfare. He was also a well-known advocate of parliamentary democracy, unilateral nuclear disarmament and non-violent defense against war. He wrote more than fifteen fiction and non-fiction books and was well regarded in his time for being an authority on naval subjects. Diary of a U Boat Commander portrays the excitement, challenges and heartbreak of the situation in a very authentic way. In fact, initially, the reader is almost beguiled into believing that this is indeed a real diary written by a real person—such is the author's skill. For those who are passionate about sea-faring stories or war sagas, this is indeed a great addition to your bookshelf!

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