Wallsmacker Art

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 I can heartily recommend Iain Ballantyne's book "Killing the Bismarck".  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as part of my research for the paintings, and include a review below.

 The story, of course, is the stuff of legends, and this book does justice to this fascinating account of naval warfare.  In terms of the battleships’ hitherto primary role as a weapon of national pride and power, the book bears witness to their demise - dinosaurs destroyed by gnats.  Iain Ballantyne focuses on eyewitness accounts of British sailors, marines and pilots; the weather conditions at the time would test all of them.  There is no substitute for first hand evidence (which includes those of Churchill).  It is a compelling read, and although the final outcomes for both the Hood and Bismarck are well known, the reader turns the pages with the heartfelt wish that both vessels and their brave crews will survive.  One would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved as the author relates how the Germans marvelled that the Mighty Hood’s guns were still firing as she slipped below the waves.  Ballantyne well demonstrates the desire for revenge in view of the totally unforeseen and surprising loss of the Hood.  He succeeds in placing the reader at the heart of the action, wherever that may be – the crew on the ship, the Swordfish leaving the deck of the aircraft carrier – whatever is happening, you are part of this mighty chess game.  The author explains how, by a strange combination of circumstances, in the course of its pursuit the Bismarck was lost and then found again.  Its ultimate destruction makes the reader realise that the Hood’s crew had a far swifter end that those on the Bismarck.  The postscript is, in its own way, equally harrowing, as the fate of British vessels that had participated in the pursuit of the Bismarck is related.

This book gives an important new slant on this pivotal historic event- the destruction of the Bismarck was absolutely essential for the preservation of the British nation, as it stood alone in those dangerous times.  Iain Ballantyne has produced a truly outstanding work.




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