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Das Boot

(Das Boot #1)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,387 ratings  ·  152 reviews
It is autumn, 1941, and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic. Their targets now ...more
Paperback, 563 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Cassell (first published 1973)
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Chad Evans I'm sure the language (which is excessive) isn't much of a problem considering what 13 year olds hear these days is fine. If you are alright with it…moreI'm sure the language (which is excessive) isn't much of a problem considering what 13 year olds hear these days is fine. If you are alright with it and the explicit discussions on sex Ii'm sure it's fine.(less)

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``Laurie Henderson
Excellent true account of a young German sailor's time serving on a submarine during WWII.
I can't praise this book enough. This was made into a miniseries which was one of the most hypnotic and thrilling I've ever seen. There was one lighthearted scene where the young sailors lustily sing their favorite song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" that I found hilarious.
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most existential and realistic book of submarine warfare from the point of view of a German crew that I have read. It reveals an experience most would rather not have had to live through.

Submarines need buoyancy to function. Salt water makes that extremely difficult because the specific gravity of salt water varies with depth, temperature, the amount of plankton, salinity, even the time of year. (Apparently fresh water is much easier.) Now let’s assume that the specific gravity chan
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember how old I was when I saw this movie on TV, but I do recall how I felt. It terrified the piss out of me. But I couldn't look away. I'm not even sure if I saw the whole movie from beginning to end or if the bits I watched just made such an impression on me it feels now in retrospect like I watched it for hours, though I know in reality it couldn't possibly have been that way because of the circumstances surrounding how and when I saw it. It doesn't really matter. I don't ever want ...more
John Wagner
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd give this book 5 stars except it was about 200 pages longer than necessary. After awhile I heard enough of all the colors of the sky and sea. However after learning that the author is an accomplished artist, his obsession with color made more sense.

I recommend The Cruel Sea as a companion read to Das Boot. The Cruel Sea shows the war from the other side - the English sailors trying to track down and kill the U-boats. I'd also suggest Shadow Divers about the search for the identity of a myste
Cathal Kenneally
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember seeing the movie years ago. While I didn’t really enjoy it probably because of the subtitles; subtitles are not a good reason for young people to watch a movie. Definitely a case of the book being better than the movie.
I couldn’t imagine living on a submarine during wartime cooped up with the same faces day in day out until the end of the voyage if the boat even survives. What is handy is the cast of characters listed at the beginning. There are a lot of people to remember. Otherwise
Jonathan-David Jackson
This book is about 550 pages long, and for the first 300 pages I was wondering what it was all about and why I was wasting my time. A hundred pages just described the sea. Another hundred pages gave details of the submarine. The third hundred pages described a never-ending storm (spoiler: it does end).

After that, though, the book is great. The tension is incredible. I felt actually sorry for the characters, and glad that I wasn't them. The ending was fittingly unhappy for a war book - I felt no
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-euro, ww2, 1970s
Had a fascination for submarine stories. If starting subject re-read would start here.
At the Portland of my childhood, just after WWII, there was a dockside Navy submarine ... images of being inside, shudder included.
Also think of the Cuban Missile Crisis submarine ending:
Later, Wilson notes: “The decision not to start world war three was not taken in the Kremlin or the White House,” Wilson wrote, “but in the sweltering control room of a submarine.”
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have a hard time reading novels from the German perspective on WWII. They usually all contain the same type of apologist rhetoric ("Nazi's suck! We're just fighting for the Fatherland, We don't really hate the Jews, Why I have a Jewish friend/I slept with a Jewish girl once blah-blah-blah", etc.). It's generally expressed in the first few pages so the reader knows that *these boys* are ok. It's grating every time I read it. Das Boot is no different. Having said that, this was a good, intense a ...more
Paul Ataua
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Submarine war novels are not usually my kind of thing and this one was possibly a couple of hundred pages too long, but ‘Das Boot’ was worth reading. It is always so easy to understand the horror of war on an intellectual level, but ‘Das Boot’ takes you further and engages you in the terror of war. You actually get to feel the claustrophobia, the desperation, and the feeling of helplessness under fire. I never watched the movie, but may do now.
Scott Foshee
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This important book is not about nations or ideologies. It is not about what side was right or wrong in WWII. It is about regular men in the throes of war, fighting for their families, their comrades, and for their very lives. Das Boot does not glorify war. On the contrary, it highlights the fact that we are all human and are all basically the same on the level of the individual. It illustrates that one of the horrors of war rarely mentioned is that the outcome is often decided by brute force, r ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Wolfgang Peterson made two films, Das Boot and Stalingrad; the other stuff is cockle-shit. Stalingrad is one of the most brutal films I’ve ever seen. Das Boot is your best bet at a cinematic experience of claustrophobia. I’ve seen(/own) both versions of Das Boot currently marketed, “The Directors’s Cut” which clocks in at 209 minutes and “The Original Uncut Version” (293 minutes). Im grossen und ganzen, you do want those cuts cut; you’ll at least be spared an unnecessary several extra minutes sp ...more
Nakayoshi Takashima
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
„Jedes Wort dieses Buches ist wahr“.

der Kriegsberichterstatter Lothar-Günther Buchheim erzählt in diesem überaus detailreichen Roman von einem U-Boot, der U96 - seiner Feindfahrt und das Wichtigste eines solchen Gefährtes: seiner Mannschaft. 25 Jahre hat er gebraucht, um all die Einzelheiten aufzuschreiben und sie haargenau wieder zu geben, so, wie er es damals erlebt hat. Ihm geht es um extreme Genauigkeit, damit man verstehen kann, wie es damals in so einem U-Boot zuging.
Buchheim lässt nichts
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wurst
Diky nesnesitelnym vedrum jsem se toto leto docela casto koupal. Jednou takhle po koule ve vode, jsem si posteskl, jaka je to skoda, ze tanky nemuzou jezdit do vody. Hlavou mi takrka v tu rano problesklo, ze prece proto vynalezli Norove ponorky! POdvodni NORske tanKY - get it?!
Protoze mam rad depresivni pribehy z II. svetove valky, byla volba Ponorky, jasna volba. Ponorka je kniha tlusta jak debil a pojednava o posadce jedne nemecke ponorky a jejim dobroduzstvi v roce 1941.  Hlavni hrdina je no
Jesse Kraai
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-best, german
Yes, I saw the movie first, many times. I craved the pinging echoes and the claustrophobia of men living like rats. No triumphant American army come to sweep up the European debris of 1944, flexing muscles that haven’t know suffering.
The film gives a sensual experience of war. The book gives us the rest. We begin with monotonous boredom, captured with endless descriptions of the different shades of gray and wet that the sea gives the few who are allowed onto the small deck. The reader also wants
Ian Kemp
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Buchheim has an illustrative style which in other writers can be very tiresome - but somehow in this book it serves to highlight the extreme psychological stress of life on a WW2 U-boat - the claustrophobia, helplessness under fire, the total reliance on the split-second judgements of one man, the 30 year old commander they call 'The Old Man'. The only recourse for an individual trapped in this hell is to withdraw into an internal reality in which past events, opportunities taken and opportuniti ...more
Charles Lewis
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For some reason I've become fascinated with submarine warfare during WWII. The Smithsonian Chanel has been running a series call Hell Below. I've also recently read a few non-fiction of accounts of submarines in action. Of course, for me and many others the best film about subs is Das Boot. I've seen it several times and think it's one of the greatest war movies ever made. So I was curious to try the book, upon which the movie was made. The plot and characters are very similar and some of the ac ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, history
Sehr starkes und intensives Hörspiel mit Herbert Grönemeyer als Erzähler.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book and very well written and easy to read. The movie version follows the book fairly closely although there is much more detail in the book. The incredible conditions that these German sailors faced is hard to believe. The stark changes from very boring to sailing through a two week storm and then experiencing intense and prolonged depth charge attacks is just incredible. The book also reminds me in some ways of All Quite on the Western Front. Although the nature of the e ...more
Juan Hidalgo
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una historia que hará las delicias de los amantes del género bélico y naval. Entre sus puntos fuertes está el hecho de mostrar la segunda guerra mundial desde el lado germano, lo cual no suele ser lo habitual, aunque los protagonistas están más preocupados por sobrevivir que por ensalzar al nazismo y el tema se toca muy de pasada. El relato describe con gran vividez las emociones de los tripulantes ante los distintos sucesos y peligros por los que atraviesan y, desde mi propia experiencia, refle ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm really torn on how to rate this. I knew it was a classic going in and decided it was about time I got around to it after reading Dead Wake by Erik Larson. I imagine that the purpose of the book was to show how awful the experience was the officers assigned to U-boats. The author did a fantastic job of giving a detailed blow-by-blow of daily life under a variety of circumstances from attack to counterattack, from calm seas to storms, from departure to arrival. Here was my problem: it was so i ...more
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Потрясающая книга, детально описавающая жизнь немецких подвоников во время второй мировой войны. При этом в качестве основных противников гитлеровских войск выступают американцы (Томми), что позволят смотреть на их противостояние с нейтральной стороны.

Книга раскрывает практически все сценарии жизни подводной лодки: проводы с военной базы, путь до места назначения, маневрирование в поисках целей, аттака и т.д. В каждом из них передаются не только технические особенности управления лодкой, но и пс
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I have seen the movie in multiple versions several times. That is why I wanted to read the original book, be it a translation. There was definitely information in the book that was not included in the movie. The author succeeded in depicting the tedium of this submarine life. That is interesting, but difficult to slug through. A hurricane seemed to last three weeks. Depth charge attacks seemingly endless. I was glad I read the book, but contrary to the usual circumstance I felt the movie superio ...more
This book was released forty years ago and remains one of the best World War II novels written from a German perspective. It documents well the horror of war at sea, the loss of life and the cat and mouse game of the hunter and hunted in their struggle for life. It is written sensitively about the many very young men that went to sea and how arbitrary it became as to whether they survived or died. This was a very well regarded and successful movie and a book that I had hoped to read ever since i ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The claustrophobia, the panic, the boredom and ennui—join the Reichsmarine, see the world! It's a gripping read (although the paragraphs are choppy which makes the flow of reading more difficult). The only reason I might advise against someone reading it is the verisimilitude of sailorspeak: there are some pretty salty passages in there, so be thou warned.
Ayushi Nayak
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember watching the movie a couple of years ago and trust me it deserved that Oscar, rather than only being nominated. The book in every page makes you bite your nails & thanks to this book, I won't be using the nail sharpener for weeks to come. This one is a piece of genius, some truly terrific work!
Mike D
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An amazing and at times terrifying story of war at sea. Completely engaging. Should be read alongside the Cruel Sea as they show the two sides to the story of the Battle of the Atlantic. It gives a good understanding that war is just as terrifying for the hunter as it is for the prey.
Michael Wombat
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Despite the fact that pretty much nothing happens for 160 pages, this is a very readable book. The English translation freaks a bit here and there, but by the end you feel as if you've been through it all with these characters you slowly grow to care about.
Toby White
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alan Addison
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beyond compare. One of the few books that I have ever found to be truly unputdownable.
Will Chin
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am having a hard time figuring out if the events in Das Boot actually happened. If it did, then this is one of the most riveting war books that I have ever read. If it didn't, and that Buchheim made it all up "based on his personal experiences in the war", then this book should be critiqued on a different scale altogether -- but more on that later.

The first time I saw a submarine-based warfare on screen, it was 2000's U-571. It had a lot of big-name actors in it, such as Matthew McConaughey,
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Buen libro de guerra 1 2 Jan 22, 2015 02:44PM  
  • Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-boat Battles of World War II
  • Run Silent Run Deep
  • Cross of Iron
  • Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted, 1942-1945 (Modern Library War)
  • The Cruel Sea
  • In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front
  • The Good Shepherd
  • The Sand Pebbles
  • The Captain
  • Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
  • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949
  • The Bridge Over the River Kwai
  • The Forgotten Soldier
  • Operation Drumbeat: Germany's U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II
  • HMS Ulysses
  • Wahoo: The Patrols of America's Most Famous World War II Submarine
  • Shackleton's Boat Journey
  • The Unknown Shore
Lothar-Günther Buchheim (February 6, 1918 – February 22, 2007) was a German author, painter, and art collector. He is best known for his novel Das Boot (1973), which became an international bestseller and was adapted in 1981 as an Oscar-nominated film.

Other books in the series

Das Boot (3 books)
  • Die Festung
  • Der Abschied
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“Take it easy now - I've got first-class references from people who've been punched in the face by me. All of them were completely satisfied.” 1 likes
“But there really ought to be a film of all this: closeups of pure shit. Horizon bald as a baby's bottom, a couple of clouds - and that's it. Then they could film the inside of the boat: moldy bread, filthy necks, rotten lemons, torn shirts, sweaty blankets, and, as a grand finale, all of us looking utterly pissed-off.” 1 likes
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