The Wilhelm Gustloff Story

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Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2018 March #2

*Starred Review* Though the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff resulted in far more casualties than the Titanic, the wreck is much less well-known. This entry in the Famous Ships series (4 titles) aims to rectify that by explaining the event and its historical context, as well as offering reasons for its lack of attention. Capek opens with a suspenseful, brief account of the sinking of the ship, from perspectives of both passengers and the Soviet sub commander who took it down, before digging into the history of the ship, which began as a pleasure vessel before being commandeered into military service. Filled with quotes from survivors, historical photos, and sidebars offering further background, the chapters present an even-handed, engaging account of the events leading up to and immediately following the devastating wreck. The closing chapters' emphasis on feelings of shame among Germans following WWII, which led to a collective reluctance to discuss the event, is particularly compelling. With ample source notes and further reading, this is a fascinating look at a major catastrophe, which will likely pique the interest of students bored by typical WWII history lessons. Grades 8-11. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall

These books chronicle the histories of three ill-fated modern ships, including the largely forgotten Wilhelm Gustloff, which was transporting German refugees when it was torpedoed by a Russian submarine during WWII. Each readable narrative covers the design, construction, and operation of the ship; its misfortunes are suspensefully described. Excellent archival photographs, diagrams, and "Mini-Bios" enhance the volumes. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind. [Review covers these Famous Ships titles: The Wilhelm Gustoff Story, The USS Arizona Story, and The Titanic Story.] Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.