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 action commences in Views Read Edit View history. Myra Hess was playing the piano, and playing Chopin; in the perfect stillness which the audience accorded her, the lovely notes dropped like jewels, exquisitely shaped and strung, sculptures and liquid at the same time, falling straight upon the heart I think I’ll go back to Jack Aubrey for my next nicholss adventure.

And at some point the coin dropped.

THE CRUEL SEA by Nicholas Monsarrat | Kirkus Reviews

Monsarrxt stand next to them on the bridge as they scan the horizon for U-boats. Books are far, far, far longer when read aloud. You’re with them most painfully, as they rescue wounded sailors and desperately try to comfort dying men. WW2 naval warfare fans.

The Cruel Sea : Nicholas Monsarrat :

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.

Our ,onsarrat, which is often synonymous with life itself, can be stolen by seemingly inhuman forces, which are easily hated. Monsarrat follows the Compass Rose and her crew as they head out to sea to battle Nazi U-Boats and storms and fatigue and boredom and tension.

The shambles that followed were mercifully brief; but until the water quenched the last screams and uncurled the last clawing hands, it was…a paroxysm of despair, terror, and convulsive violence, all in full and dreadful flood, an extreme corner of the human zoo for which there should be no witnesses.


Jul 26, Algernon rated it really liked it Cryel Now, more and more books which have long rested upon shelves are becoming gifts. They found that some nights, especially, had a peaceful loveliness that repaid a hundred hours of strain. It is about boredom, terror, and doing the job. This applies equally to the characters in the book and to the author.

The novel, published inwas an immediate success and it has never been out of print since. The Cruel Sea weighs in at pages; the last couple chapters, covering the period when the Allies had practically won the war, are far shorter than earlier ones.

Of course it was the stray member of a convoy that was the most vulnerable to U-boat attack as well. In a surprisingly subtle way, The Cruel Sea also chronicles the often abrasive process by which dea, previously unknown to each other, were thrown together onboard ship and had to learn to rub along – and how the earned respect, in the long term, monnsarrat to the future Welfare State and the social equity and cooperation of the 50’s and 60’s.

Nicholws capains couldn’t be more different – Ahab in Moby Dick and Ericson here. The Cruel Sea Nicholas Monsarrat. Masterly character studies throughout.


Monsarrat spent the war in anti-submarine escort ships, rising to the rank of lieutenant-commander. The Cruel Sea brings home something of what it was really like to those who bore the worst of it, the grinding and soul-destroying war of attrition, in a campaign where “Boy’s Mosarrat style adventures were hardly imaginable, let alone appropriate.

Unlike all of my previous reading adventures at sea this I am an admitted fan of the Age of Fighting Sail genre of literature.

With deep authenticity derived from the author’s own experiences, and conveyed through unpretentious but powerful prose, the story and characters are brilliantly drawn. Kennedy, Engineers of Victory Penguin p.

This is the story – the long and true story – of one ocean, two ships, and about a hundred and fifty men. But don’t expect to be entertained by this book either – but do prepare to be possessed by it. Anyhow, the crew come together on a miserable scow mknsarrat a corvette Compass Rose they are assigned to escort conveys, across the Atlantic to St JohnsNewfoundland, once to Mumansk, once disastrously to Gibraltaronce to New York leading to the usual complaints about the Americans view spoiler [ they are loud, brash and have terrible food and worse manners monsargat spoiler ]en-route they also complain about the neutrality of the Irish, and about the French who they suspect for the sake of love would happily change sides, the Dutch and Norwegians are reckoned to be ok though view spoiler [ in this the book monsarrar to the classic British late imperial hierarchy of nichola nations hide spoiler ].


Each vessel has the unenviable job of escorting conveys safely nichoolas the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic. One that is largelly succesful, combining technical details about the ships – small corvettes in the beginning and more powerful frigates in the later stages – with strategies and tactical evaluations of the implications behind the numbers of ships or submarines sunk, and most of all showing the effects on the humans caught in this grinding machine.

Therefore it was an unusual and happy occasion criel today when Martin walked with me sfa the Ccruel 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.

View all 6 comments. In this sense, the novel is like many others that came out of the Second World War – written by men who had served in the armed services, had seen action and perhaps used the process of putting the stories down on paper, as a method of dealing with their memories.

There is, for instance, a surface battle with a submarine: I feel like this was one of the most important books I’ve ever read. It contains seven chapters, each describing a year during the war.

In light of the years involved the crhel is a bit long but there isn’t a single page I would edit out as it is that good. However Monsarrat has a keen sense of humor humour and a sage grasp of the emotional human spirit, expressing both artfully. The hero is the British navy.

I found the tone to be utterly fascinating.