Parkin weaves together several stories in this one well-crafted book ...Parkin is a gripping writer, describing the living and fighting conditions aboard the claustrophobic submarines. He presents vivid characters in the commander of the U-boat fleet, Karl Doenitz, and his most effective captains ... Parkin creates clear characters and evokes a world ... Parkin doesa masterful job of evoking the sweep of this vital piece of naval history in both broad strokes and the telling detail. Every war buff will want to read this book. And anyone interested in strategy would be wise to read it as well.
Simon Parkin...has written a thoroughly absorbing book, drawing upon archives and oral histories. It reads like a thriller, with its accounts of nerve-wracking battles, extreme weather, icebergs, and ships sunk in a matter of minutes ... Mr. Parkin brings into focus the heroic lives of Wrens whose arduous work was not only overlooked but also kept an 'official secret' for 50 years. The women who played the game might never have boarded a ship, but their work saved the lives of countless who did.
These war-gaming Wrens clearly played an important role in Watu’s work, but they remain frustratingly opaque in Parkin’s narrative, presumably because there is little about them in the archives ... But did Roberts’s war-gaming really win the war, as the book’s bold subtitle would have us believe? The breaking of the German Enigma ciphers by Bletchley Park’s cryptographers surely did more to contribute to allied victory than Watu’s simulated battles, while new technologies played an increasingly pivotal role in the battle against the U-boats...Roberts was but one of many creative individuals whose work helped defeat Nazi Germany ... The story of the game of birds and wolves has all the elements of a film by Powell and Pressburger:...It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that the book has recently been optioned by DreamWorks, the same Steven Spielberg company that made Saving Private Ryan. For the film to be a success, though, they will need to enhance the female characters with a large splash of artistic licence.