Read Sink the Bismarck by C.S. Forester Online


n 1941, Hitler's deadly Bismarck, the fastest battleship afloat, broke out into the Atlantic. Its mission: to cut the lifeline of British shipping and win the war with one mighty blow. How the Royal Navy tried to meet this threat and its desperate attempt to bring the giant Bismarck to bay is the story C. S. Forester tells with mounting excitement and suspense....

Title : Sink the Bismarck
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553133516
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 118 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sink the Bismarck Reviews

  • Algernon
    2019-03-19 02:34

    I've "blown" through this in a couple of hours. Nothing wrong with it, except it was over too soon.The opening paragraph is a bit over the top in its patriotic fervor, but I have to admit the subject renders itself to such a treatment. When thousands of lives are lost at sea in a matter of minutes, and when 26 ships are sunk out of a convoy of 31, it makes the reader wonder what kind of courage and dedication it takes to set sail in the face of such odds. This is a story of the most desperate chances, of the loftiest patriotism and of the highest professional skills, of a gamble for the dominion of the world in which human lives were the stakes on the green gaming table of the ocean. It would sound cheesy if it were not for the fact that the events described here are real. The book is 90 % documentary and 10 % fiction. Forester has a minimalist approach, doing away with most of the technical details about the battleships involved and renouncing any attempts at characterization or human interest stories. Most of the British admirals are only mentioned by title , not by name. Nothing is said about the ship commanders background or personality traits. Everything is reduced to the minimum necessary to follow the action, and this makes for a very gripping, high octane ride. Because this is one of the last battles between the giants of the sea, the Gotterdammerung of capital ships with foot thick armor that could pound each other to bits from beyond the horizon, mastodonts that would be soon made obsolete by aircraft carriers. For all its short number of pages and underdeveloped actors, the author managed one thing very well, and that is the majesty and the perils of the Atlantic ocean: Wind force 8, westerly. High sea running, low cloud, visibility poor.reads one despatch from the ships chasing the Bismarck. Behind these simple words Forester evokes the biting cold,the sleepless nights, the mountainous waves and the ever present danger.Only three stars for Sink the Bismarck, and Douglas Reeman is still my favorite author for sea battle novels from WWII, but I hope I will manage to read more from Forester, probably the Hornblower books or the African Queen.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-20 03:00

    I've been familiar with the movie for years & I expected the book to be similar. However the book sticks more to the facts of the actual search and battle and read more like a documentary than like the movie. Still, no one tells a sea story like C.S.Forester and one does get a feel for what a number of the participants must have felt. This is a very quick read at 118 pages and is well worth the time. However, one really should watch the movie as well. There are whole characters and incidents and story-lines that are not included in the book. Something that is usually stated the other way around.

  • Travis Ristau
    2019-03-11 20:32

    Before I read this book I had already seen a movie on the sinking of the Bismarck. I think the book is great as a means to describe what happened between Germany and the British and what happened on board each ship. On the other hand the movie did a much greater job of mapping everything out and showing the great size difference that the measurements in the book couldn't describe. I would recomand this book to anyone interested in war stories as it deals a lot with strategy but includes a miracle as well.

  • Laura
    2019-03-12 02:40

    From IMDb:The World War II story of the British Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship.A fabulous movie based on this book: Sink the Bismarck! (1960)[image error]

  • Lance
    2019-02-27 23:48

    Great historical book. The hunt for the Bismarck is the topic of many books, movies and song. One knows how it ends, but the speeches, political stances of the military, the interest in the hunt at that time and other occurances that are not discribed in most history books make it a very interesting read. It is an easy read and worth the time.

  • Nathan Albright
    2019-03-16 04:41

    In dealing with this short and immensely popular WWII book [1], one is forced to confront the question of genre.  Is this book a history or is it a historical novella?  This is not as straightforward a question as one might imagine.  For one, the author purports to be writing a history of the sinking of the Bismarck, placing it in the context of a desperate hunt and the destruction of the Hood, but at the same time, the author notes that he creates speeches and assumes that his created speeches are close to life.   One would normally assume that the creation of speeches would put a book in the genre of historical fiction, but the author appears to be copying the example of Thucydides and Tacitus, and it is hard to consider this book as unhistorical because of its adoption of ancient genre conventions.  At any rate, this should be left to the reader to determine for themselves whether they associate this book with ancient historians dealing with the way that people bravely face the likelihood of death or with the beloved historical fiction stories of Horatio Hornblower.The book is a taut 120 pages or so, and manages to describe the last nine days of the Bismark, as it escaped from the Baltic Sea and made for the Atlantic Ocean.  Feeling as if the battleship was a mortal threat to British logistics routes to North America, the British pulled every possible resource to sink the ship, even if they had no single ship that offered enough capabilities to match the Bismarck in the open seas.  The result was a series of attempts at coordinated attacks.  The maps are useful and although much of the dialogue seems a little bit contrived, the book as a whole has a picture of a book that seems to have been custom-made for encouraging a film adaptation that gave a surprisingly high degree of respect to the German mariners of the doomed battleship.  Only a few hours before it is to reach the safety of the German fighter shield, the ship is disabled and then sunk by a large assault.  One wonders whether the ship sank in large part due to hubris, as the ship was fast and powerful but by no means invulnerable and was lacking a destroyer escort, which ultimately proved to be the ship's undoing.Looking back on World War II history many decades later, the Bismarck does not strike many readers as being a particularly noteworthy ship.  Battleships are not viewed with the same degree of favor today as they were in the early days of World War II before it became readily apparent that carrier-based aircraft were the wave of the future.  And this book gives some indication of the transition between a focus on big battleships and one on the planes that aircraft carriers were able to put into action whose military power could be exercised at far longer ranges than the largest and most powerful guns on battleships.  The Bismarck's size and speed gave it vulnerability because a slower and less powerful ship would not have seemed enough of a threat to be worth destroying at all costs.  Ultimately, this book is a tale of the desperate straits to which Great Britain was driven in order to defend its all-important trade routes, and the way that German abilities to make the rare powerful battleship forced Britain to react with a high degree of panic in order to defend its own survival.  Yet at the end the Bismarck seems like a cornered and heavily outnumbered ship fighting a doomed battle for survival itself, giving both sides the appearance of desperate and ferocious underdogs, a rare and significant achievement for a work that shows a remarkable degree of balance.[1] See, for example:

  • Jeff
    2019-03-05 23:41

    It's surprisingly short and bland story from Forrester, who is usually fantastic (The Good Shepherd is one of my favourite books). Understandably a bit jingoistic, but also a bit silly in its interpretation of some of the real historic characters, along with some generic fictional characters, in order to try to humanise the story. It would've been much better with the fictionalised characters if they were fleshed out much more than they ended up being. Reads as part historical fiction/part documentary, but doesn't excel at either. Many non-fiction accounts of this battle are much better than what Forrester provided here.Almost comes across as if he was writing with the intention of being made into a movie from the start.

  • Michael Brown
    2019-03-05 22:34

    Not sure if the movie was based on this book or not but was a fun read as a youngster.

  • GrabAsia
    2019-03-02 02:52

    The story of the Bismarck is epic in so many ways – the might & beautiful lines of the ship, the expectations of Admiral Lutjens and his crew, the precarious position Britain was in at that time as she still stood alone with the airborne invasion of Crete adding to the long list of woes, the chance siting of it off Malmo, the valiant shadowing by the Suffolk, the blowing up of the lovely Hood, the brand new Prince of Wales being mauled, the crippling of the most modern warship afloat by the “Stringbag” Swordfish from the Ark Royal, and the indomitable spirit of the sailors on both sides. I remember 2 other notable books on the Bismarck that I read some time ago, Baron Mullenheim-Rechberg’s Battleship Bismarck that tells the German side and Ludovic Kennedy’s Pursuit telling the story from an Allied war correspondents view. I just finished CS Forresters short book (that can be read in 1 sitting), and it has a distinctly “living through it as if we were there” feeling. He was writing the script for the movie and his book is almost like living the script. It feels as if one is there, looking at & listening to everyone as it happens.Listening to the unnamed dock worker who reported the Bismarck and its accompanying Prinz Eugen had left Kiel heading for the Atlantic, and the agent fishing off the coast of Malmo who sighted & reported them.To the British admirals in the War Room plotting the Bismarcks location & possible routes to catch it, while Lutjens and Captain Lindemann spoke on the bridge of the Bismarck about escaping these attempts, To the sightings by the shadowing Sheffield & shipyard workers like Henry J. Jones who were still on the newly finished Prince of Wales.To Nobby one of the crew in the Hood’s turret as they fired, while at the same time with the German petty officer on the Bismarck explaining to his men how important their job of sending shells up was. And how possibly one of these shells blew up the Hood & Nobby with it, To disbelief in the war room when they heard Hood had gone, the race by German & British radio to announce their versions of the story, and the grief when Nobby’s mother heard of the Hood’s death and with it of her son. In the immediate aftermath, aboard the Bismarck listening to the exultation of having sunk the Hood & damaging the Prince of Wales, assessing the damage from the shell that hit it, to the tussle between Lutjens & Lindemann on what to do next, that the more aggressive Lutjens won.While this tussle was on, I could almost hear Churchill’s bulldog voice calling the war room to tell them they must sink the Bismarck and try impossible methods to do so if possible ones didn’t work. Being with the sailors of Force H as they left Gibralter in an emergency not knowing where they were headed.Listening to Lutjens announcing to the Bismarck crew the awarding of Knights Crosses, during which began the sudden attack by the Swordfish from the carrier Victorious.Somehow, she disappeared again and newspapers all over the world asked “Where is the Bismarck?”. Being aboard the Catalina flying boat that found her while she raced to Brest.To the despair in the war room when it became known that fuel was low in the pursuing battleships King George V & Ramillies, leaving the only realistic chance being the Swordfish from Ark Royal.Listening to Lutjens last address to the crew before the impending attack, and the confusion aboard the Ark Royal as she desperately signaled to the Swordfish on their way “look out for the Sheffield". Being with the Swordfish crew who aborting it just in time.As the Swordfish returned to rearm, in the bowels of the Ark Royal, like the German petty officer responsible for the shells, listening to Ginger gave a pep talk to his team arming the torpedoes on how critical their role was. Back with the Swordfish again who took off again with almost no daylight left, with the Ginger armed torpedoes, while the Germans counted the minutes to sundown. They reached just in time and one torpedo hit the Bismarck’s rudder and crippled it. Being with Lutjens as he heard the reports of battleships closing in on him, including the Rodney on which he had lunched in 1924 in Malta as a young lieutenant. Destroyers from the Dover patrol, the battleships Rodney & King George V, and a final Swordfish attack in the dark finished the Bismarck off.It was almost sad reading this as I remembered the 1st time I saw an image of the Bismarck, in this superb book called Sea Warfare that I got in the 80’s. It was an aerial drawing in her initial colours before being repainted grey for its maiden & only voyage. She looked magnificient.The copy of CS Foresters book I read is a wonderful 1st edition in its dustjacket that I got from Lok Man Rare Books in Hong Kong, an amazing place just uphill from Hollywood Road. One of the things I cherish most is the carefully researched & very well worded write-up on each book, author & provenance, printed on very nice stiff cream coloured paper. I envy Lorence, the owner, who spends his time surrounded by such wonderful, rare books.

  • Heather Morrison
    2019-03-13 01:46

    It is a well told story, but I struggled with jumping from one to another every couple of pages. Just as I was getting into one units version of the story, I was tossed into a different one.

  • Cate
    2019-03-18 02:46

    An interesting book, helps to put some of the events into perspective.

  • Prajwal Madhushankar
    2019-03-08 00:01

    learnt a bit of history

  • Darren Goossens
    2019-02-19 04:40

    This review appeared at and to the point: A review of Hunting the Bismarck by C.S.Forester.Mayflower, 1974 (118 pages)The Bismarck was one of a pair of battleships completed for the German navy, the Kriegsmarine, early in World War II, the other being the Tirpitz. Often lauded as a fearsome ship, the Bismarck in fact showed signs of being derived from a World War I design; in particular its disposition of armour was more suited to dealing with shells than ordnance delivered by aircraft, and its anti-aircraft armament, while substantial, was not as comprehensive as later experience in the war would suggest was necessary. It was one of a relative handful of capital ships operated by the Kriegsmarine, which served to focus attention on it all the more. Hence it gained almost mythological significance, which Forester buys into almost completely. In this book the ship is the largest, the most modern, the most dangerous and so on. The outcome of the war hinges on her fate. I'm not sure that's true, but I am sure that in the grim days of 1941, when the Third Reich had been stopped at the English Channel but remained everywhere else victorious, a victory of this magnitude was no doubt a fillip for the Brits. Even after the loss of the Hood in an early engagement with the Bismarck, in the end the RN could absorb the loss of a capital ship far more easily than the Kriegsmarine. One need only look at how the Tirpitz was used to see the effect; it spent most of the war hiding in various Norwegian fjords, too psychologically valuable and too practically vulnerable to risk. It played a strategic role in tying up enemy resources, but it never fought a real battle. Cover of Hunting the Bismarck by C.S.Forester.The plan was for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic -- the very phrase indicates one of the problems faced by German sea power, getting past the British Isles -- and operate beyond land-based air power, running amok amongst allied convoys. In the end, she copped one shell in the engagement with Hood and Prince of Wales, decided to head for France for repairs to a damaged oil bunker, was crippled by Swordfish torpedo planes which enabled British battleships to catch up with her, and sunk by sheer volume of fire.Forester brings this to life by getting close to the men involved. He presumably invents much of the dialogue -- this is not solely a history but a careful re-enactment, so we get conversations between Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann on the bridge of Bismarck, we get tense words in the British HQ. Presumably when he quotes a signal or similar it is correct, but it is not clear what is exactly as happened and what has been imagined for dramatic effect; which is not the say the imaginings lack authenticity or overstate things. They are there to bring us closer to the real lives. When we read that two thousand men went down with the Hood or the Bismarck, we must recall that those are lives, not numbers. Indeed, the book ends with a reference to wives and children and mothers of those who died -- and on both sides.It is a very 'easy' read. The prose is workmanlike, the terminology sound, the events very easy to follow. Maps illustrate every step of the action. The handling of the chase and the deductions made by the pursuing British is well drawn -- we can see how they eliminate possibilities, make reasonable guesses, cover every option when resources allow, and in the end succeed, with the aid of a little luck and much determination and organisation.The events here are seventy-five years old. They are, I am sure, receding into the past and few younger people know them in any detail. This book, brief, to the point, riveting, does a great job of illustrating an important event.The book is as good as a similar one by another author; its view is different, less taken with the hardware of war, perhaps, and a little less purple in its prose.

  • Matthew Horrocks
    2019-03-10 05:00

    i decided to read this book because i am interested in events relating to WWII and Nazi Germany.this fits into the bingo board category of 'a book with themes related to those we've studied in class in term three'. this is because it is about other famous ships sinking ie the Bismarck and HMS Hood. this is interesting because it is also very similar to the titanic in the way that this book concentrates on events leading up to as well as the sinking of the ship, just like in the titanic.this book is basically a factual documentation of the historical events leading up to and the sinking of the Bismarck during it's quest to control the Atlantic with the Prince of Wales (the other ship that was with the Bismarck for the successful part of it's run).i didn't really have a favourite quote from the book as all of the book is essentially a factual documentation of the event, so there is nothing really to quote.something new i learnt from this book is that just because you have the fastest and (one of the) biggest ships afloat (the Bismarck) and just because you have an 'unsinkable ship (HMS Hood), you still can be beaten with a good plan/strategy. this can be related back to every day situations too.a setting that i found interesting was off the coast of the bay of Biscay. i found this interesting because it was at this point where the Bismarck was headed in the wrong direction (towards Britain) due to a shell hitting it's rudder during an attack by the Royal Navy's Air force, making it uncontrollable. it was because of this the Royal Navy could finally 'sink the Bismarck' after just 9 days afloat.

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-02 22:56

    This is an approximation of what happened with the Bismarck. The conversations and speeches are what the author imagines they would have been. And the little disclaimer in the front says some of the characters never actually existed even if people very much like them did. It’s only a short story but Forester manages to pack it full of suspense and tension. Even though the outcome is already known. There is a lot of people looking at maps and pointing while saying ‘THERE’. It is probably more dramatic in the movie when you can see them slam their finger down on the map but the effect isn’t that great in the book. It is just a little piece of history but full of heroism and action and strategy. It won’t take you long to read and you will not want to put it down until you finish. Forester knows how to tell a good story and how to write compelling characters and it will keep you riveted until the very end.

  • Dave
    2019-02-24 22:00

    "Sink the Bismarck" is a historical "narrative-fiction" book, much like "Killer Angels" by Jeff Shaara -- the storyline is based on historical fact, but uses fictional dialogue among the principal characters. For the most part, Forester has done a good job presenting the heated chase of Germany's super-battleship and the Royal Navy. There is drama aplenty, and the action sequences are very well done. The narration is, for the most part, lively and believable, although the Bismarck's commander sounds a bit too stereotypically Nazi-ish. On the other hand, the British dialogue works well (I liked Forester's use of the word "HERE"). While this book is very dated now in terms of historical info (for example, no mention is made of the Bismarck's crew's decision to scuttle the ship), it does offer a fast-moving and very enjoyable account of the famous chase.

  • Jason Kratz
    2019-03-04 01:44

    Not what I remembered I was obsessed with this book when I was in grade school in the early 80s. I couldn't get enough of it, and the movie version back then. Reading it now as a man in his mid-40s I was disappointed. The writing is pretty terrible. I realize that the author probably had very little real information to work with for the Bismarck-side of the story but the dialog he created was a bit melodramatic. I'm still giving it three stars for the effort and ten fact that it was an important story to tell.

  • Stuart Dean
    2019-03-10 22:54

    A short book, read it all in one sitting. An exciting tale of the search for the Bismarck, with some attempt to humanize the story by adding in fictional personal experiences from the people involved, including Admiral Lutjens and Captain Lindemann who obviously could not be interviewed. Includes several maps which are extremely helpful in picturing the area the search covered. Fast paced and wholly satisfactory.

  • Reet Champion
    2019-03-20 04:48

    A fascinating read. From what I understand this is a somewhat fictionalized retelling of the event, but it includes a good many facts, as well. Forester didn't bog down readers with details, that's for certain! If you are looking for a book regarding Bismarck and want but a "light" read this one is recommended.

  • David
    2019-03-15 00:34

    This is listed a non-fiction by the publisher but I consider it historical fiction since the author admits that even though the events are real, many of the characters and dialog are all made up. An okay telling of the battle to sink the Bismarck. Used for the movie, Sink the Bismarck which seems to stick closely to the book. Made up characters and all.

  • Becky
    2019-03-18 04:56

    AwesomeIt is very good and historically accurate. Possibly the best book I have ever read. I do think that lots of people should read this. They think it might be cool and it teaches the reader something.

  • Brendan
    2019-03-12 20:35

    reads like a movie. At first I thought it was a novelization of the film, but no, the book came first. In fact it turns out that it was originally titled: The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck. It was only reprinted as "Sink the Bismarck" after the film was made.

  • Chris Gager
    2019-02-22 01:33

    Obviously not first published in 1920! A war! A ship! A movie! a song! Johnny Horton I think. Good book and stiff upper lip movie. The song's kind of wacky though. Two other books by different authors with the same title - weird! Date read is a guess.

  • Jonathan
    2019-02-25 00:41

    This is a story of the most desperate chances, of the loftiest patriotism and of the highest professional skills, of a gamble for the domination of the world in which human lives were the stakes on the green gaming table of the oceans.

  • Kellie
    2019-03-01 00:43

    A good story about the events known at that time and a good jumping off point for more research. My only problem with this copy of the book was the multiple typos. Sometimes there were several on one (small) page.

  • Hom Sack
    2019-02-24 21:00

    A short delight read. The author brings to life what those days were like on both sides. The 1960 movie based on the book is nice as well.

  • Brynna
    2019-03-19 02:34

    Tends to stiffness in tone, but an excellent narrative.

  • Brian
    2019-02-17 21:55

    One of the great WWII stories - Forester wanted to add some drama to it bring it to life. I think he added too much. Nonetheless, it's a quick, fun read.

  • Keith
    2019-02-25 23:59

    "Sink the Bismarck" is an interesting narrative of how the great German ship Bismarck was damaged and then sunk.

  • Stefan Vucak
    2019-03-19 22:50

    Forester brings this story alive!