The Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure
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The Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  20 reviews
From the author of We Die Alone.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 17th 2008 by Lyons Press (first published 1951)
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During World War II when Norway was invaded and occupied by the Germans, there was an essential spy ring that operated on the Shetland Islands. Captains and crews of small boats braved the temperatures of the Arctic winters, the unexpected squally weather and the threat of being attacked by German boats and planes all under the cover of darkness. The trips to transport necessary weapons and supplies as well as transporting agents and refugees were long (some were thousands of miles and took up t...more
Saw this on the Kindle deal of the day, missed it that day, and went ahead and paid the full price because it looked so interesting. Glad that I did. It was fascinating. I can't believe that no one has picked it up to write a screenplay and make a movie of it. And as you read it, you know that there are so many many more stories than the author knew or could write about fully. It is put forth in an almost documentary style, but that didn't take anything away from it. There were many who lived an...more
Beautifully written (not as many pages as Goodreads says it is by the way). There's an old copy of this book around somewhere (my grandparents having lived on Shetland for a while) but I was reading this new edition, the first actually published there, and it has some additions although the original text is reproduced as was.
The story of the Shetland Bus, the lines of communication between Shetland and Norway kept open during the second world war, is one of great courage and it is told with com...more
WWII seems to have been so overwhelmingly huge that I don't think I'll ever stop finding books that tell stories that surprise me. This one is the story of an undercover supply line between the Shetland islands and occupied Norway. Participants were Norwegian civilian fishermen and UK soldiers and sailors, including the author who was one of the commanders.

I continually had to remind myself that the Norwegians involved were not only volunteers, but were also civilians. These were patriots who w...more
Cindy Lea
Love the historical detail...

Love the historical detail...

I loved the overall subject and stories contained, though I found it dragged a bit from time to time. It is an amazing story I knew very little of and am glad to have gained the knowledge! I frequently travel to Scotland and plan on making my way to Shetland next time!
Edward H. Skwiot
Fascinating true story

author David Howarth places the reader in the story in a compelling manner, while he remains a modest observer who was in actuality a key leader in the complex operations of the Shetland Bus.
A really good book about a little known and wonderfully rich story of resistance against the Germans in WWII. The stories of the men involved were most compelling and Haworth's modest narrative style completely worked for me.

Copyright © The Literary Estate of David Howarth, 1998

First published in Great Britain by
James Nelson and Sons Ltd 1951

From the Foreword: During the war a group of small Norwegian boats manned by Norwegian refugees, normally with a background as fishermen, maintained a route between The Shetland Islands and occupied Norway.

Opening: SAGA is an old Norse word which meant simply a story. But from its association with the kind of story which ancient Norseman liked to tell, it has come to mean a stor...more
Becky Stewart
Very thrilling to read. So many times while reading it I thought what a great movie that particular chapter would make. Details a unique and fascinating piece of WWII lore that I had no idea about.
This book was good, but Howarth's book about Jan Balsruud's survival after a mission gone wrong (which comprises one chapter of this book) called "We Die Alone" was absolutely riveting, amazing, and fabulous. I would recommend it over this book.
Jan 19, 2012 Alison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, but especially war story enthusiasts
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a must read for anyone who enjoys stories about the war as this is an absolute classic! Set between Shetland and Norway this story tells of some of the bravest people in the second world war who smuggled goods and people between Norway and Shetland and then the final story of Lars who just survives with his life - and I mean just!!!!!
The dates I have entered are the second time I read the book - I actually read it not long after I moved to Shetland, about 1993 or 4, as I was learning abo...more
This chapter of World War II history is little known outside the north of Scotland, although it did have some impact on the war in occupied Norway. The Shetland Bus was the maritime link between Norway and Shetland during WW2, using small boats in an unforgiving environment. It aided the resistance fighters in Norway, at considerable risk to the British seafarers. It was, however, not always the Nazi military that stood in the way of success; the Norwegian Sea was an equally formidable adversary...more
Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers comes to mind while reading The Shetland Bus. For one, they have similar styles; very straight forward, very understandable, easy to read. When comparing these two works, the subjects themselves are not so different: small-time heroes doing their part in the war. An emphasis is made on not focusing on great generals, battles, etc. This book truly was a pleasure to read. I loved learning about great efforts being made during WWII in a forgotten corner of Europe.
A fantastically written account of the brave men and women of an occupied Norway, this author wrote 24 books after this (his first),. It bought it to life so much how ordinary people stood against oppression and enslavement (by the Germans). It moved me to lay a wreath at my local cemetary where a Norwegian who fell in the war is buried ( arnos vale Bristol).
A series of anecdotes, stories told in the second person on an overlooked side theater of WWII. Good but not great.
Susan Johnson
Very different view of WWII, arms and agents being smuggled in to Norway from the Shetland Islands. Totally worth reading even if I found it a little slow at times.
I always like his writing. An unknown (to me) aspect of WW II that was how Howarth was involved in the conflict. He had a very accessible narrative style.
Chris Scott
Superb telling.... have read this book many times over the years.... totally compelling....
I don't normally read WWII history but this was a page turner.
Kris Walseth
Read before going to Norway 2013 - WWII
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David Armine Howarth was a British historian and author. After graduating from Cambridge University, he was a radio war correspondent for BBC at the start of the Second World War. Howarth joined the Navy after the fall of France. He became involved in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and ultimately in the Shetland Bus, an SOE operation manned by Norwegians running a clandestine route between...more
More about David Howarth...
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