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Pursuit The Chase and Sinking of the Bismarck

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  24 reviews
With a new introduction by the author. First published in 1974, this work remains in the forefront of the many books, movies, and television programs about the epic World War II drama played out in the stormy Atlantic. It is a thrilling firsthand account of the hunting down and sinking of the battleship 'Bismarck', pride of the German Fleet, told by a member of the Royal ...more
Hardcover, Classics of Naval Literature, 296 pages
Published September 15th 2000 by US Naval Institute Press (first published 1974)
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Timothy Boyd
Nice history book. Sometimes the number of names of all the Captains and Admirals involved can get a bit overwhelming but the writer does a good job of mixing the historical battle with personal memories of the people involved. Nice read. Recommended
Eric_W
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Audiobook: I remember seeing the classic movie Sink the Bismarck when I was a teenager and it was one of those formative things that changed my mind about joining the Navy. It was based on the eponymic book by C.S. Forester written in the fifties (the movie came out in 1960, I believe. Wikipedia reports Forester wrote it as a the screenplay before the book.)

Kennedy’s book, published in 1974, is a clear, page-turning, recounting of the actions of the British and Germans in a rather astonishing
...more
Kuszma
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rétegklasszikus a történelemtudomány és a történelmi regény határvidékéről. Tényekből gazdálkodik ugyan, de lényege mindazonáltal az irodalomból kölcsönzött drámai ív, ami egy végső kataklizmában csúcsosodik ki – ez esetben abban, hogy a kor legnagyobb csatahajója, a Bismarck sok izgalom után végül (bluggy, bluggy) csak elsüllyed. A második világháború pedig amúgy is jó sok lovagi csörtét kínál feldolgozásra – az atlanti csata egyik kulcsmomentuma pedig külön alkalmas az ilyen „lovagias bajvívás ...more
Roger
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
The Bismark was the pride of the Nazi German Navy. At over 800 feet long, she was the largest battleship in the world, and with her sweeping bow and elegant superstructure, she was certainly one of the most beautiful. At the time of her sinking in May 1941, she was also one of the newest big gun ships afloat, and one of the most potent. So when the Royal Navy heard that she had escaped the Baltic sea along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, they were very worried.

Ludovic Kennedy's account of
...more
Gerry Germond
This is a “play-by-play” of the chase and sinking of the battleship Bismarck, as it says in the subtitle. For the most part, it’s well done. The experience of the sailors aboard the Bismarck, as it was being pounded by the British battleships, is narrated here, something usually not to be found in such narratives. There was one time during the chase when the British lost track of Bismarck and it was hard to follow the course of the two navies; the maps didn’t much help. I would also have liked ...more
Paul Brown
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There have been a lot of books written about battleship Bismarck but Kennedy's retelling of the story is widely regarded as a classic and upon finally reading it I would like to meet the reader who begs to differ!
Told from multiple view points Kennedy's book has all the pacing and tension of a bestselling thriller; informed with all the details and technicalities that could have only been penned by a Navy man this is also a poetic hymn to the sea and the forces of nature as well as eerily
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Cary Lackey
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An adventurous, tragic tale about (and, really, the death of) 2 great ships, the British battle cruiser HMS Hood, and Nazi Germany's super battleship, Bismarck, during the early years of WWII. The book, by later-BBC commentator, but then junior officer on a destroyer that gave chase to the Bismarck, Ludovic Kennedy, was very well-written, quick paced, and, pardon the cliche, hard to put down. I'd give the book 4.5 stars if I could. Very highly recommended!
Tony
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I found an old copy in a charity shop and I am glad that I bought and read it. Ludovic Kennedy is an intelligent writer; sticks to the facts and spares us sentimental insights. His first hand knowledge of the subject and personal participation shines through in a way that other writers can not quite capture.
Au Yong
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When word reached the Admiralty that the Bismarck had left her berth initially at Gydnia, then at Bergen, the Home Fleet was brought to short notice for steam.
The details of the pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck have been recounted numerous times. But Ludovic Kennedy revealed to his readers a good deal of "insider information" not generally found in the accounts by other naval historians.
For instance, it is not widely known that Captain Henry Denham was naval attache to the British Embassy in
...more
Alex
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Outdated scholarship, but excellent atmosphere. Kennedy was present on one of the destroyers near the end of Bismarck's last stand.

In particular the depiction of the horror aboard Bismarck as two British battleships slowly pummeled it to death is a far cry from the usual very sanitized depictions of naval warfare in which the ships are destroyed in great detail but the men aboard just disappear. Kennedy talks in disturbing but important detail about the effects of heavy explosive shelling on men
...more
Andrea Maisano
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Un testo classico su una delle più importanti battaglie navali della Seconda guerra mondiale. Un testo preciso e ben scritto che non perde però il lato umano della vicenda diventando così una sorta di requiem sia delle navi che hanno partecipato alla vicenda sia - e soprattutto - degli uomini che all'interno di questi giganti di acciaio e ferro hanno combattuto e sono morti.
Kramer Thompson
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Pretty entertaining story of - as you'd expect - the chase and sinking of the Bismarck. My only complaint really is that it was a bit hard to follow precisely what was happening at times. Who was torpedoing whom? Which navy did this or that ship belong to? Was this officer one of the Brits or the Germans? Other than this confusion, it was a pleasant and fun (and educational!) read.
Erik Empson
A well-researched, balanced account of this famous clash of the titans.
Sergio
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un inseguimento che tiene col fiato sospeso... fino all'inevitabile conclusione! Un saggio storico che ha il passo di un romanzo
Jack Clark
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was originally a BBC television documentary hosted and written by Ludovic Kennedy, himself a junior watchkeeping officer in one of the pursuing Royal Navy ships.
The tale is told with authority and clarity, an epic story of victory and defeat and the slim margins of chance that separate the two.
A great story, well told.
Jim Rossi
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a classic. Read it like 3 times as a kid. Kennedy served on one of the destroyers hunting the Bismarck. He puts you as close as you can get. Right up there with The Perfect Storm and The Hunt for Red October (fiction) IMHO. Taking another look at it as I finish my first book, "The Case of the Cleantech Con Artist: A True Vegas Tale."
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Matt
kennedy's Pursuit was amazing. It gave a history that was both technical and human interest. The book was very hard to put down and gave a great description of what was going on that often it felt that I was at sea with the ships. The book was easy to read but that was based on Kennedy's level and description. I highly reccommend Pursuit.
Andrew
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and very moving account of the chase and destruction of Bismarck.
Kai
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
the best book written about the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck by the RN.
Larry
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Kennedy's book appeared in the 70s, but it still stands up well as the best account of the hunt for the Bismarck.
Nick Boldrini
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
This a cracking account of this engagement, and reads like a thriller.
Duzzlebrarian
May 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook of this, read by the author. Very informative, describes both sides of the story.
Jonathan
Aug 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reciprocating readings caused delay in finding her.
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Ludovic Henry Coverley Kennedy was a British journalist, broadcaster, and author. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in 1985 and also held similar posts at the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling. He was knighted in 1994 for services to journalism.

He was a member of the crew of the British destroyer HMS Tartar that took part in the pursuit and destruction of
...more