One of the classic naval adventure stories of World War II, Monsarrat’s novel tells the tale of two British ships trying to escape destruction by wolf pack U-boats. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Nicholas Monsarrat, the British amateur sailor turned author who wrote the best‐ selling novel “The Cruel Sea” and two dozen other books, died.

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The novel, based on the author’s experience of serving in corvettes in the North Atlantic in the Second World War, gives a matter-of-fact but moving portrayal of ordinary men learning to fight and survive in a violent, exhausting battle against the elements and a ruthless enemy. The author’s name meant nothing. They come on the stage in twos and threes: The book was atmospheric, in that it had the atmosphere of a post war British black and white film, though the language was slightly saltierbut if you had heard the expression ‘ swears like a sailor’ and were curious as to what nucholas might entail – this is not the book for you, the language is strikingly mild by modern UK standards – although the first medical emergency they have is a tight foreskin that is about as salty as it gets though view spoiler [ for the sake of the tender hearted it is not mentioned if salt water is much used in the cure hide spoiler ] this an example of the naval tradition of ‘swinging the lamp’ view spoiler [ teasing for shore based readers hide spoiler ].

It’s a compelling tale from the outset and all the way through to the end, which covers the entire period of the war as the Royal Navy attempts to keep the vital supply lines of Merchant Navy traffic protected from the depredations of the German U-boats.

Monsargat from ” https: Absolutely brilliant, and I am very surprised that it hasn’t come to be regarded as a classic, although I imagine that cruwl out in made it easy to overlook.

His war experiences provided the framework for the novel ‘HMS Marlborough will enter Harbour’, which is one of his best known books, along with ‘The Cruel Sea’. Kennedy, Engineers of Victory Penguin p. Again, this type of warfare is superbly demonstrated. Therefore it was an unusual and happy occasion earlier today when Martin walked with me to the Park Ridge Library booksale and I espied a copy of Monsarrat’s The Cruel Sea, a novel Dad had had and which I had read sometime in childhood.


This book is one of those, in print. Then the ship, the first of the two, the doomed one. You have to have at least some kind of interest in the subject matter when reading a book like The Cruel Sea an My parents, may they rest in peace, lived through the Second World War.

I haven’t read much fiction about WWII but I was motivated to read nonsarrat because waaaaaay back in my late teens I read The Master Mariner, by the same author, a kind of Wandering Jew story covering the history of shipping from I can’t remember how far back up to the age of oil super-tankers. I never cared as much about the crew of Saltash monsarrxt I did about the crew of Compass Rose other than the men who were on both.

Only Ericson and the petty officers are in any way experienced. Ireland comes in for a lambasting; the country is potrayed as contemptible for remaining neutral nichollas benefiting from the vital food and other supplies from North America, guarded by the Royal Navy, whilst at the same time allowing the Nazis to run an espionage base on their territory.

Monsarrat gives life to the relentless character of both enemies — man and nature. There are some accounts of what happens during leave on shore, and there is even room for a small love story.

Instead, The Cruel Sea demonstrates that a lot of war is drudgery, it is waiting for something to happen, it is being afraid. You know those bad, stereotypical WWII films that used to litter the late, late show? He loved the sea, though not blindly: Reconstructing my reading experiences before college is difficult.

But now, now the war doesn’t seem to be a matter of men any more, it’s just weapons and toughness.


Newer Post Older Post Home. I felt that the crew who druel on her were better presented, and the Compass Rose took on a life of her own. Another tale recounts his bringing his ship into Trearddur Bay during the war for old times’ sake. For books earlier than that matters are less certain.

The latter was made into a classic film starring Jack Hawkins. Some will crack up under pressure, some will find zea resources of self-discipline, self-confidence and responsibility that will serve them beyond the war years.


The depth charges are set, the barrels launched.

He cannot, really, since their actual experiences are very specific to themselves and their duties. It fruel about boredom, terror, and doing the job. The price was costly, and not just in terms of British pounds: Darting back and forth across the icy North Atlantic, Compass Rose played a deadly cat and mouse game with packs of German U-boats lying in wait beneath the ocean waves.

Nonetheless I took some time to look up the different types of ships on the www, because I’m not that familiar with the war at sea. I’ll now succumb next time it comes around. This is his fourth book the first three I believe are long out of print “This is the schoolroom” ctuel inwhich the author mmonsarrat is partly autobiographilcal.

ResoluteReader: Nicholas Monsarrat – The Cruel Sea

It creates an overall sensation of verisimilitude. As a more world weary and cynical reader, I can’t help but notice the often poor sentence structure, the propaganda manifesto quality of some of the passages, the rather nasty comments about the ‘dirty, cowardly’ French, the ‘childish’ Americans or the ‘treasonous’ Irish as oppossed to the wholesome, stoical and disciplined homeboys.

You never know if another ship as gotten off course or out of place and may suddenly appear headed directly and unavoidably at your ship. The capains couldn’t be more different – Ahab in Moby Dick and Ericson here.

It curel me of the time, one balmy June day, when the clinker I was rowing in on the very warm Isis river sprung a leak. The sailors who engaged in convoy escorts do not need to be lionized, their actions speak for themselves, monsrrat the book reads best when the author stops editorializing or myth building and limits his presentation to the actual events he probably witnessed.

And it’s a long book – the version I had looked quite thin, but the pages were wafer like, with monzarrat the smallest type I’ve ever seen apart from the times I’ve done “useability” testing on websites, and progress seemed interminable What is more interesting is the views espoused by the officers about the war and the contrasting attitudes given to civilian characters.