You may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together – what do you get? The sum of their fears… Winston Churchill


A measureless peril : America in the fight for the Atlantic, the longest battle of World War II  Richard Snow  New York, NY : Scribner, 2010  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. x, 353 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [331]-338) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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In that global conflagration, only one battle — the struggle for the Atlantic — lasted from the very first hours of the conflict to its final day. Hitler knew that victory depended on controlling the sea-lanes where American food and fuel and weapons flowed to the Allies. At the start, U-boats patrolled a few miles off the eastern seaboard attacking merchant vessels while hastily converted American cabin cruisers and fishing boats vainly tried to stop them. Before long, though, the United States was ramping up what would be the greatest production of naval vessels the world had ever known.

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Then the battle became a cat-and-mouse game between the quickly built U.S. warships and the ever-more cunning and lethal U-boats. Snow captures the drama of the merciless contest at every level, from the doomed sailors on an American freighter defying a German cruiser, to the amazing Allied attempts to break the German naval codes, to Winston Churchill pressing Franklin Roosevelt to join the war months before Pearl Harbor and FDR’s deceptions that forced us to fight the battle alongside Britain while still appearing to keep out of it – and deceived no one except the American public.

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