A Game of Birds and Wolves
‘Compelling’ Sunday Times
‘A triumph’ Daily Mirror
‘Gripping’ Jonathan Dimbleby
1941. The Battle of the Atlantic is a disaster. Thousands of supply ships ferrying vital food and fuel from North America to Britain are being torpedoed by German U-boats. Britain is only weeks away from starvation – and with that, crushing defeat.
In the first week of 1942 a group of unlikely heroes – a retired naval captain and a clutch of brilliant young women – gather to form a secret strategy unit. On the top floor of a bomb-bruised HQ in Liverpool, the Western Approaches Tactical Unit spends days and nights designing and playing wargames in an effort to crack the U-boat tactics. As the U-boat wolfpacks continue to prey upon the supply ships, the Wrens race against time to save Britain.
With novelistic flair, investigative journalist Simon Parkin shines a light on Operation Raspberry and these unsung heroines in this riveting true story of war at sea.
‘History writing at its best’ Booklist
‘Splendid . . . Simon Parkin’s book rips along at full sail and is full of personality and personalities’
‘Vivid, engaging’ New Yorker
A stunning book about an unknown part of the largely forgotten Battle of the Atlantic, which is a must read. — Niall Kilgour, chairman of the Submariners Association This is the riveting true story of war, amazing women, and one of the most important games in history. — Major Tom Mouat MBE, Simulation and Modelling Technology School, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom Simon Parkin describes brilliantly the key role of WATU in the Battle of the Atlantic. I was proud to read of my mother’s role as a Wren with influence far beyond her age and experience, and of my father’s application of WATU-designed tactics in the key anti-U boat battle of the Atlantic. — Vice Admiral Mike Gretton, son of Judy Du Vivier and Sir Peter Gretton A hugely enjoyable and exciting book . . . A compelling and important new story, lucidly and humanely told. — Roland Phillipps, author of A Spy Named Orphan Gripping . . . a great read. * Sorted Magazine * Enthralling . . . a pacey read with some wonderfully vivid set pieces * Literary Review * This is a thrilling story, compellingly told * History Revealed * With novelistic flair, Parkin transforms material gathered from research, interviews, and unpublished accounts into a highly readable book that celebrates the ingenuity of a British naval ‘reject’ and the accomplishments of the formerly faceless women never officially rewarded for their contribution to the Allied defeat of Germany. A lively, sharp WWII history. * Kirkus Reviews * History writing at its best * Booklist (starred review) * A triumph * Daily Mirror * Engaging and skilful . . . [Parkin] writes with real flair and the human side of this story is brought out with fine vignettes and character sketches . . . If the place of women in Britain’s naval war has been played down, Parkin’s vivid story recovers it handsomely . . . Inside his narrative is a desire to show how ordinary people did extraordinary things in wartime . . . this is a good read on a corner of the war and the men and women who peopled it – one very much worthy of our attention. — Richard Overy * Guardian * In a riveting, intricately researched book, Simon Parkin tells the previously unknown story behind the Allied victory in the Atlantic during World War II. It’s an underdog’s tale – not only of British supply fleets trying to outrun German U-boats, but also of the women game designers who made that victory possible. Sheds compelling new light on the ferocious struggle being played out in the mid-Atlantic … [A Game of Birds and Wolves] has all the elements of a film * Sunday Times * [A] splendid new history of the war in the Atlantic . . . Simon Parkin’s book rips along at full sail and is full of personality and personalities. Above all, it brings a barely known aspect of the sea war out into the light. Which is a triumph in itself. — John Lewis Stempel * Sunday Express *
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