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Book Review, NRJ 60.1

February 15, 2015 12:00 PM | David Eddy (Administrator)

The US Navy and the War in Europe

Robert S. Stern

Robert C. Stern endeavors to bring attention to the efforts of the Atlantic campaigns of the United States Navy during World War Two in the book, The US Navy and the War in Europe. Believed to be overshadowed by the grand naval battles of the Pacific, Stern describes the efforts of thousands of ordinary men working in the Atlantic to ultimately achieve victory over Nazi Germany. Stern details the importance of the United States Navy to overcome vast shortages of resources in the Atlantic, as well as manage an allied partnership that was often strained, to achieve victory in Europe. These accomplishments, although often perceived by many as not being as renowned as those in the Pacific, are examples provided by Stern as he emphasizes the strategic importance of the United States Navy in the Atlantic to bringing about victory and the end of World War Two.

The US Navy and the War in Europe is well developed in both research and structure. Stern manages to incorporate a vast array of resources to develop a chronological history of the ever changing role of the United States Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic and the war in Europe. Those unfamiliar with the history of this period will appreciate detailed events and important individuals involved throughout the course of the war, allowing for a broader understanding of the issues as they unfold. Presented information and references are cited throughout, albeit unconventionally, but are clearly identified within a detailed listing of the numerous sources and appendixes, allowing access for further research. Photographs and maps provide a sense of context, assisting the reader to better understand the involvement of the various individuals and vessels fighting in this theater.

Stern has provided a quality resource for a general understanding of the United States Navy and its involvement in the Atlantic during World War Two. Although the resources are vast, the information presented sometimes leaves the reader wanting more. At times, certain events are detailed much more in depth than others, for example, when detailing the early struggles of the Navy to acquire vessels following the attack on Pearl Harbor. This aspect separates Stern’s work from being a general history of United States Naval involvement in the Atlantic from truly presenting and differentiating this war from that of the war in the Pacific. Stern’s goal was to amplify the discussion of the work of the United States Navy in the European theater, but it ultimately fails to meet this mark. Stern detracts from his intentions by not expanding upon available information and not capitalizing on the opportunity to present the incredible effort expended by so many that was necessary to turn the tide against Germany. Even so, Stern has still put together a very well researched and resourced historical piece that should appeal to general readers interested in the naval war in Europe.

  • Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2012
  • 6-1/4” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xiv + 306 pages
  • Photographs, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $55.95
  • ISBN: 9781591148968

Reviewed by William S. Sassorossi, East Carolina University

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