By Robert K. Massie
In a piece of striking narrative strength, full of significant personalities and bright scenes of dramatic motion, Robert okay. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of Peter the good, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its right historic significance the position of sea strength within the successful of the nice War.
The foremost picture of this primary international struggle is of dust and ditchs, barbed twine, computer weapons, poison fuel, and slaughter. A new release of ecu manhood was once massacred, and a wound used to be inflicted on ecu civilization that required the rest of the 20 th century to heal.
But with all its sacrifice, trench war didn't win the conflict for one facet or lose it for the opposite. Over the process 4 years, the traces at the Western entrance moved scarcely in any respect; makes an attempt to wreck via led purely to the lengthening of the already unbearably lengthy casualty lists.
For the genuine tale of army upheaval, we needs to glance to the ocean. at the eve of the conflict in August 1914, nice Britain and Germany possessed the 2 maximum navies the area had ever noticeable. whilst battle got here, those fleets of dreadnoughts—gigantic floating castles of metal in a position to hurl significant shells at an enemy miles away—were able to try out their negative strength opposed to each one other.
Their struggles happened within the North Sea and the Pacific, on the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax while Germany, suffocated through an implacable naval blockade, made up our minds to strike opposed to the British ring of metal. the end result was once Jutland, a sizeable conflict of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each one the house of 1000 men.
When the German excessive Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat battle, which, in its indiscriminate violence, introduced a reluctant the US into the warfare. during this approach, the German attempt to “seize the trident” via defeating the British army resulted in the autumn of the German empire.
Ultimately, the distinguishing function of Castles of metal is the writer himself. the data, realizing, and literary energy Massie brings to this tale are extraordinary. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are gorgeous of their veracity and artistry.
Castles of Steel is set warfare at sea, management and command, braveness, genius, and folly. a lot of these components are given outstanding scope by way of Robert okay. Massie’s certain and commonly hailed literary mastery.
From the Hardcover edition.