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The Burning Shore: How Hitler's U-Boats Brought World War II to America [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Ed Offley

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25. März 2014
On June 15, 1942, as thousands of vacationers lounged in the sun at Virginia Beach, two massive fireballs erupted just offshore from a convoy of oil tankers steaming into Chesapeake Bay. While men, women, and children gaped from the shore, two damaged oil tankers fell out of line and began to sink. Then a small escort warship blew apart in a violent explosion. Navy warships and aircraft peppered the water with depth charges, but to no avail. Within the next twenty-four hours, a fourth ship lay at the bottom of the channel-- all victims of twenty-nine-year-old Kapitanleutnant Horst Degen and his crew aboard the German U-boat U-701. In The Burning Shore, acclaimed military reporter Ed Offley presents a thrilling account of the bloody U-boat offensive along America's east coast during the first half of 1942, using the story of Degen's three war patrols as a lens through which to view this forgotten chapter of World War II. For six months, German U-boats prowled the waters off the eastern seaboard, sinking merchant ships with impunity, and threatening to sever the lifeline of supplies flowing from America to Great Britain. Degen's successful infiltration of the Chesapeake Bay in mid-June drove home the U-boats' success, and his spectacular attack terrified the American public as never before. But Degen's cruise was interrupted less than a month later, when U.S. Army Air Forces Lieutenant Harry J. Kane and his aircrew spotted the silhouette of U-701 offshore. The ensuing clash signaled a critical turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic--and set the stage for an unlikely friendship between two of the episode's survivors. A gripping tale of heroism and sacrifice, The Burning Shore leads readers into a little-known theater of World War II, where Hitler's U-boats came close to winning the Battle of the Atlantic before American sailors and airmen could finally drive them away.

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Washington Post "[The Burning Shore] will be, I think, a real eye-opener for readers who assume that the war was fought in Europe, Asia and Africa, but not here... It would be foolish to wax sentimental about [Kane and Degen's] story, and Offley wisely refrains from doing so, but it does bring the history of the U-boats to an unexpected and quite gratifying conclusion." San Antonio Express-News "Offley expertly accomplishes a spellbinding reconstruction of the first successful sinking of a U-boat in American waters by a U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft... The Burning Shore is an insightful reminder that World War II was not only fought on far-off foreign lands and seas, but close to home as well." Post and Courier (Charleston) "Offley's story is admittedly a small one, covering just the opening few months of the war, but he does a good job of capturing those frightful earlier days of the conflict. The author of several previous books, including Turning the Tide and Scorpion Down, Offley is a good writer, no where is that more evident than in his dramatic chronicling of Kane's attack on U-701 and Degen's struggle to survive." Naval History "Offley's book is a well-researched expose on the early battles of World War II in the Atlantic and highlights tensions on the West Coast...following the attack on Pearl Harbor." Providence Journal "[Offley] reminds us in The Burning Shore that although all the troops who fought in World War II had to cross an ocean first, the war actually did come a lot closer to America. German submariners lurked offshore so close they could see the Coney Island Ferris wheel at night." American Spectator "Offley is a clear and organized writer. His portrayal of events is free of the theorizing that mars the historical works of so many academics. There is no political agenda at work in this clear unfolding of momentous events, made the more immediate by the engaging personal narratives. I like my history straight. With both attention to detail and to story. This is how Ed Offley delivers it." Military History "The Burning Shore is a history of those dreadful early months of the war, a history largely suppressed at the time and rarely alluded to since." Kirkus "An authoritative work on the awful, early effectiveness of German U-boats in disrupting shipping traffic off the east coast of the United States... A knowledgeable overview and exciting re-creation of the final U-701 attack and defeat." Publishers Weekly "Offley, a specialist in underwater operations, evokes the environment of U-boats that were themselves obsolescent -- small, cramped, and operating at the limits of their effective range." Virginian Pilot "[Offley's] been pursuing such Atlantic coast U-boat stories for decades, digging into myriad archives of journals, logbooks, oral histories and more. If Pilot reporter Diane Tennant's series in 2009 piqued your interest, grab this." Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, authors of The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend "We have a special appreciation for dramatic stories of untold wartime heroism, and Ed Offley's gripping tale does not disappoint. Veering from the well-worn paths of World War II's European and Pacific Theaters, Offley's The Burning Shore breaks new ground in its description of the German U-boat invasion of America's Eastern Seaboard in 1942, and the courageous efforts by an undermanned United States military to prevent the Nazis from crippling our war efforts in the Atlantic. Bravo." Robert Gandt, award-winning author of The Twilight Warriors "In this deeply human tale from WWII we meet two warriors--a German U-boat commander and an American bomber pilot--whose lives intersected in the dangerous summer of 1942. Ed Offley's The Burning Shore brings to life the deadly Battle of the Atlantic as Hitler's U-Boats wreaked destruction along America's East Coast. Woven into the story are portraits of courage, sacrifice, and, ultimately, friendship between the former adversaries. A welcome addition to the trove of WWII naval history." David Poyer, author of The Witness of the Whale and The Cruiser "An oft-told tale, but Offley, who has spent decades researching it, makes the U-boat war new again by focusing on two central characters -- a USAAF bomber pilot and the captain of the German submarine he sank. A terrifying evocation of what can happen when America lets its guard down."

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Ed Offley has been a military reporting specialist since 1981 for newspapers and online publications. Author of Scorpion Down and Turning the Tide and a graduate of the University of Virginia, Offley served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. He lives in Panama City Beach, Florida with his wife, Karen Conrad.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  32 Rezensionen
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Slaughter Off the American Seacoast! 7. April 2014
Von Michael OConnor - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In the first half of 1942, Admiral Karl Doenitz sent his U-boats to American waters, rightly believing his grey wolves would find easy pickings. Unfortunately, for many American sailors, Doenitz's assessment was spot on and, in the following months, over 200 unprotected merchantmen and tankers were sunk. Hundreds of sailors lost their lives. Ed Offley chronicles those terrible months in THE BURNING SHORE, a 2014 Basic Books release.

After describing the opening stages of the Battle of the Atlantic, Offley recounts Doenitz's decision to move the scene of attack westward and the initial American efforts to create an effective defense. Tragically, America had too few ships, too few planes and too few plans to deal with a submarine offensive against its shores. Sadly, the performance of the top U.S. naval commanders - specifically Adm. King and Vice Admiral Ingersoll - was abysmal. Even though British intelligence had given specific warnings of the oncoming offensive, King failed to act decisively, dooming hundreds of seamen to watery graves. Once the U-boats arrived, they soon began savaging the lone ships plying the coastal waterways. Offley relates the steady toll taken by the U-boats until America belatedly began establishing an effective defense.

Offley bookends his accounting of the so-called 'Happy Times' enjoyed by Doenitz's U-boats with the story of two warriors, one American and one German, who were fated to fight a desperate battle during the German incursion to American waters. In early 1942, Horst Degen was commander of U-701 operating off the east coast. Harry Kane, a patrol bomber pilot with the 396th Bombardment Squadron, was patrolling over those same waters. Their paths crossed on 7 July 1942. Offley describes their pre-war upbringing and subsequent military careers that led them to their Atlantic encounter.

The 1942 U-boat 'Paukenschlag' offensive has been the subject of many books, Offley's being the latest. THE BURNING SHORE is an exciting if ultimately sad tale of Germany's triumph off American shores. Offley's Degen/Kane framing device puts a fresh face on an oft-told tale. Recommended.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Better than expected. 1. Mai 2014
Von Dave S - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I had to read this book, being my dad was a merchant mariner in WWII. Most people to this day don't realize that these events happened. Staggering numbers of ships and people lost. Very good details and for me previously unknown battles and events. Enjoyed very much.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen And the result now in front of us "The Burning Shore" is a brilliant report of one of the important developments of WWII 4. August 2014
Von MRS CAROLINE O DEGEN - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The former US Navy Officer and since 1981 journalist Ed Offley has been concentrating his books on the history of submarines and their role in the strategic developments during WWII.
With his book " Turning the Tide" (published in April 2011) he focused on the historic changes of the U-Boat-War in the Atlnatik during 1943 and thereby laid the foundations for his present book.
"The Burning Shore" is a tremendouly well researched story about one of Germany's submarines, U 701, and is following its fate until it was sunk by an American bomber plane in July 1942.
Offleys skilfully written book concentrates on both the key figures in this war battle:
On the one hand this is the German U-Boat Commander KapitaenLeutnant Horst Degen, and on the other hand the author follows the American Bomber Pilot Harry Cane and gives a fascinating account of the events of his war-time carreer leading up to the final encounter between the Bomber Plane and the German U-Boat just off the East coast of the United States.

MY role reviewing Offley's book is a special one:
I am the son of the German U-Boat Commander Horst Degen and was born in Germany in 1948
and have been learning first hand from my father the gripping stories about his career as a submarine commander during the war, his time as a POW in America until 1946 and followed his activities dealing with a lot of historians, journalists and other people who were trying to find out his personal wartime history in the German navy.

And that involved the author of this book, Ed Offley, who as a young polical journalist of a small regional newspaper in Virginia, approached my father in the 1980ties and developed a very extensive correspondence with my father regarding his specific experiences with his U-Boat U 701 along the Eastern shorelines in 1942.
The publication of a three-part series article by Offley some thirty years ago impressed my father, who had been very cautious and restrictive with his personal wartime history in the immediate post war decades.
However, the professional and serious research and its well presented journalistic result made my father trusting Offley as a genuine journalist who and writer.

And that is why - another almost thirty years later - Offley got our full support when he started the big project of writing this book more than two years ago.
My father, who had died in 1996 at the age of 83, had left me his comprehensive material of all his documents, correspondence and obviously a substantive personal knowledge of all the details he had been telling me over the years.
All in all, being aware of my father's trusting relatioship with Offley, I decided to fully engage and support the project to put this book about my father and the American bomber pilot together!

And the result now in front of us "The Burning Shore" is a brilliant report of one of the important developments of WWII, when the United States were seriously threatened in their own back yard by a few courageous German submariners in their small "metal tins" crossing the Atlantic and threatening the American East Coast.

Offley not only extended his research deep into the US national Archives in Washington DC, but furthermore travelled extensively with me through Germany, England and France to talk to a great variety of people who had been involved or worked on the multiple strands of the German U-Boat war.
He was very lucky and it gave him an unbelievable first hand experience, when he two years ago met the last living member of the U701 crew, who had survived together with my father and five other sailors the ordeal of being sunk, send to the bottom of the Atlantic, getting out of the U-Boat to the surface and miracuously getting rescued only after swimming for days and nights!

The author's journalistic skills and his concept of this story combined makes this book not only a gripping read, but furthermore reaches a level of quality that puts it in a different league of traditional history books. Facts are immaculately researched, feelings and the emotional levels of the people involved are reflecting what I can assure my father would have seen himself properly presented by Offley's work.
The highlight of this is most probably the description of the two wartime officers, Horst Degen and Harry Cane eventually meeting eachother in Germany in 1982 .

Well done, Ed Offley !!

My father, Horst Degen, the Commander of the German Submarine U 701,
would approve of this account of his own wartime history, I am SURE !
Our family does owe YOU a big THANK YOU, recommends your book and hopes that the post-war generations will learn their lessons and draw their own conclusions.

Guenther Degen
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Gripping Read 17. April 2014
Von Brian Patrick Miles - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Exceptionally well documented story of the battle of the Atlantic coast but told through personal stories instead of just war plans. The stories of one US pilot and the German sub commander he sunk serve as gripping bookends to a well told tale.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Unique Way to Document History 16. Juni 2014
Von Thomas J. Jurkowsky - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Mr. Offley does an incredible job with The Burning Shore, clearly adding to the documentation of World War II. Unfortunately, the U-boat part of the war is frequently lost but Offley creatively tells its story in a very unique way. He does this through two characters--a young German U-boat commander and a young U.S. aviator who becomes a U-boat hunter. Offley's work reflects an unbelievable amount of research and detail. Historians should express their appreciation and gratitude to Offley for his extraordinary efforts. This very accurate, credible and fascinating work can--and should--be justifiably added to the best documentations of the war.

Tom Jurkowsky
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
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