Naval Warfare Books

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Count Not the Dead

The Popular Image of the German Submarine

Hadley, Michael

1995, United States Naval Inst.
ISBN 1557501343
253 pages, 21 photos, 1 painting, 13 facsimiles

Type. Scholarly Analysis
Pros. Well-researched, objective
Cons. None to speak of

This book explores the image of the U-boat and its men as they have been portrayed in German books, film, paintings, post cards, songs and propaganda throughout the 20th century. As the weapon of war most closely associated with the German nation and culture, the U-boat has been an object of fascination, of reverence and revilement, has been surrounded by myths and examined through the lens of revisionism.

Hadley chronicles the continuum of changing perceptions, covering the early years of the century, World War I, World War II, the immediate postwar reaction, and the Buchheim-inspired quarrels of the 1970s and 19 80s. He finishes with a look at the fascination with the U-boat in literature and memorabilia which continues undiminished as the century closes.

This well-researched, analytical book provides insight (especially for non-Germans) into the significance and frequent controversy attached to each new book and film. All the major classics are examined at least briefly. Covered in most detail are the first major criticisms of the World War II campaign, Ott's Haie und Kleine Fische (book and film) and the revisionist film U-47: Kapitänleutnant Prien; and the controversy surrounding Buchheim's Das Boot and subsequent works of photo, print and film.

An excellent source for those who wish to understand the historical context and political purpose behind the portrayal of U-boats and their officers and crews in the German popular media.

Review written by Tonya Allen.

Published on 24 Nov 1999.

This title is highly recommended.

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