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The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized the Allies in the Most Epic Voyage of WWI
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The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized the Allies in the Most Epic Voyage of WWI

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
On November 30, 1916, an apparently ordinary freighter left harbor in Kiel, Germany, and would not touch land again for another fifteen months. It was the beginning of an astounding 64,000-mile voyage that was to take the ship around the world, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation in her wake. For this was no ordinary freighter—this was the Wolf, a disguised Germ ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jun 02, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost 100 years from the start of WWI and thousands of books written. The Wolf: The German Raider That Terrorized the Southern Seas During World War I in an Epic Voyage of Destruction and Gallantry demonstrates there are still stories of bravery and survival against the odds to be told. The Wolf chronicles the amazing voyage of a German commerce raider, a warship disguised as a commercial cargo vessel. The Wolf slips out of a northern German port and raids Allied shipping for the next fifteen m ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Jul 06, 2009 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1, naval
This book is an interesting and easy to read account of a German commercial raider of WW1, SMS Wolf. The story is told from the point of view of the German crew and its victims and the story just races along. It’s a very interesting tale of a brave German crew but also highlights the tenacity and bravery of the victims captured by this raider and their year long confinement on board the SMS Wolf. Overall it’s an enjoyable book to read and offers the reader an insight into a different and mainly ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, maritime
In 1916, at the height of World War I, a seemingly mundane freighter left port in Germany. It was no ordinary ship, however, and the voyage on which it was embarking would become one of the most audacious and successful of its kind, for the Wolf was, in fact, a German commerce raider, and one that would not only sink 37 trading vessels and enemy warships, but stay at sea continuously for more than 450 days while serving as home to more than 400 prisoners - including women and children - from 25 ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Philippe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-i
Story of a lesser known German raider during WWI. This extraordinary voyage from Kiel to New Zealand and back to Kiel took well over a full year. The ship never went into a harbor during this time, coaled at sea from captured ships.
The story of other raiders are better known and celebrated but this one is the real deal. (Emden, Seeadler)

Horrible living conditions on board, because of the influx of captured crews and passengers made it a challenge to keep discipline. Diseases amongst captured an
Jul 25, 2013 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book was a little dull. It tries to compete in the genre of Unbroken or Flyboys, story driven books about a specific part of war, but it comes up short. The story itself doesn't seem interesting enough for an entire book. There are more interesting books about WWI and more interesting books about long sea voyages.
Gary Wallis
Aug 13, 2012 Gary Wallis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. gives you the feel of what it`s like to be on a German Auxilliary Raider in World War 1. A good example of one of the most successful of ww1 raiders that have been completely forgotten by history. ...more
Head Mmoid
This Wolf is a decent book, interesting in its way; but probably not among the best of the books on the subject. It is not a typical naval commerce raider book. Unlike most books about commerce raiders, The Wolf looks not only at the activities of the ship and crew, but also at its effects on the enemy, and most importantly, the reactions of the Royal Navy, the British Government, and the government of Australia. Covering the ways in which the enemies of the SMS Wolf addressed her activities is ...more
Jul 13, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most enjoyable book I have read this summer; I swallowed all ~400 pages in a single sitting. An incredible story of how one modernday German pirate ship managed to slip in and out of the Allied blockade and survive a 64,000 mile raiding voyage without stopping at a single established port. Because of the captain's restraint and chivalry you find yourself rooting for the Germans throughout. Perhaps this story of the likely last hurrah for chivalry in warfare entices us on account of the contr ...more
Eric Marcy
The historical events are fascinating, and individual moments are filled with drama and interesting psychological studies of the crew and prisoners of "The Wolf". This book is particularly interesting as a study of the bizarre sense of honor and respect had by sailors and soldiers during the First World War. Also, some analysis of the roles of government and popular media in misleading the populations of both Australia and England is quite valuable, exploring how they whipped up fear and paranoi ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An almost unbelievable story of the 15 month non stop voyage of the SMS Wolf a German surface raider during WWI. This book is very well written and fairly even handed with its narrative. And if it wasnt fact it would be hard to believe.

It is however very hard on the british and especially Australian governments in there handling of and censorship of the news as well the internment and harassment of German citizens due to rumors formulated by the government.

Well worth the read and at only 300 p
tells the remarkable tale of how a state-of-the-art German warship was disguised as a merchant freighter and then taken around the world in a multi-year campaign of piracy and destruction that was nevertheless marked by the absolute chivalrous gallantry of its captain and crew. The Wolf was forced to survive only on what it could capture from other ships, and by the time it returned to Kiel it carried over 400 passengers from 25 different countries, the bulk of whom had become great friends with ...more
May 05, 2012 Ray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Wolf" isn't exactly a heart-stopping thriller, filled with descriptions of close escapes, vicious battles, or epic heroism, but nonetheless is a very interesting World War I story of a lone German raider and its remarkable sea journey. The WOLF was able to capture and sink many ships basically because its targets were unarmed merchant vessels, and rarely had to use its guns other than to sink a trophy already stripped of its cargo. However, the fact that the ship was able to stay at sea as ...more
Tom Schulte
I really enjoyed this detailed tale of over a year of cautious German raiding. Crew and prisoners in loath and like in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans in a little-known chapter of WWI. Some that was most interesting to me is the many layers to the disinformation onion here: government refusal to acknowledge raider over the prejudice-inciting phantasm of saboteurs and lack of transparency on naval capabilities. Also, rumours becoming facts in the retelling and crew/survivor falsehoods ou ...more
Thomas Burchfield
Aug 21, 2014 Thomas Burchfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This told a terrific story, about The Wolf, a German merchant raider on the high seas during World War I. It captured and sunk over a dozen allied and non-combatant ships in over a year, while killing none of its 200 captives. And while the captives survived they had to live in squalor below decks most of the way. Captivating, thrilling, suspenseful, and harrowing. Highly recommended for the light it shines on another corner of forgotten history.
Michael Flanagan
Jul 13, 2010 Michael Flanagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-1
A great read from woe to go, following the exploits of a German raider during World War I. The author mixes together the stories of the Germans and their captives to bring to life the extraordinary voyage of the Wolf. I recommend this book for anyone in the mood for a ripping yarn of adventure on the high sea. From the Alantic to the Pacific, beyond and back.
No doubt this story is historically very accurate, but it really needed more emotion and focus on the ordeal of the voyage. Example would be how solzinitsyn generated _One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denesvitch_ while writing _The Gulag Archapeligo_. The voyage is quite incredible, but the description is too clinical.
Shane Moore
Dec 03, 2012 Shane Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
By turns this book is charming, educational, cute, horrifying, riveting, and funny. Though it is a historical account, it has a more coherent story and cast of characters than many novels I've read.

Strangely, I spent much of this book about a warship hoping that nobody would be shot (and in most cases my hopes were justified). Most of the times, my hopes were fulfilled.
Robert B.  B.
Jul 13, 2013 Robert B. B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary yarn. A German commerce raider left Kiel in 1916 for the South Seas, and over the course of its marathon voyage mined harbors from Cape Town to Wellington, sank numerous ships and took hundreds of sailors and civilians prisoner. How the ship, its crew and prisoners, survived -- indeed, the fact that they survived at all -- is a testament to human courage and resilience.
Apr 04, 2013 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The SMS Wolf was a German commerce raider/minelayer during WW1. The book chronicles Wolf's extensive minelaying and raiding mission along with he subsequent role as a floating prison. It's an interesting subject that is presented in a dreadfully boring manner. As an avid student of the Great War I found it a real chore to slog through this book. It was very disappointing.
Shiana Tyler
Jun 18, 2016 Shiana Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only a good-read, but very educational. It gave a different aspect on World War I than you typically hear. The part I found most interesting was the way governments in the first world war twisted propaganda and kept people in the dark and made the public believe something that wasn't true and turned good people against their neighbors, against innocents.
May 06, 2016 Glenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liked it very much. Compelling story well told. AND I liked it because this ship laid one of the mines that struck a ship my grandma was on--sunk the ship and forced our family to land on the coast of Africa with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.
Feb 18, 2011 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Interesting story of a neglected aspect of WW I. This is about a German commerce raider, "Wolf", and it's around the world voyage with a load of prisoners from the ships it sunk. The captain and crew behaved as honorably as possible toward their captives, in the middle of a war. Good story.
Garry Geer
Jul 11, 2014 Garry Geer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible little story coming out of WWI about a German freighter/raider that didn't make port for 14 months, taking a bite out of Australian/British shipping. It was well documented with a a nice comprehensive narrative.
Highly recommended.

Joel Toppen
Jul 06, 2014 Joel Toppen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Outstanding narrative! The Wolf will keep you on the edge of your seat as you read the epic voyage of the German commerce raider. The authors do a great job of telling the story from the perspective of the officers and crew as well as the prisoners held on board.
John Gordon
Jul 24, 2011 John Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Fascinating account of the surface raider "Wolf" in the Indian and Pacific oceans in 1917. Thoroughly researched and a pleasure to read, the story moves along at a good pace and holds the interest for this little known account from the Great War. Recommended.
I listened to this as a carpool book and it was a amazing journey. Of course, we felt bad for everyone who got captured but it painted a very true to life picture of how WWI was really going. Both for Germany and the allied nations against her.
Kenneth Nordqvist
Jul 07, 2013 Kenneth Nordqvist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good history of people who was forced to adept to a situation on a ship that didn't go to a harbor in a year.The lies that people told in government to hide the real reason.Something doesent change,we also have the liar among us today.
The Wolf is a well researched and well written book it is easily read and very interesting. The book brought to light an interesting and not well know chapter in WWI naval history.
Aug 05, 2013 Katherin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing true story set in WW1about a German raider that terrorised oceans over a 15 month period. Highly recommended.
Oct 18, 2012 Jerome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of WW1 history I knew nothing about. Interesting read.
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