Spartacus Review

Volume 19: 21st May, 2008

Second World War

Title: Escape from the Deep

Author: Alex Kershaw


Publisher: Da Capo Press

Price: £15.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: U. S. Navy


This is the adrenaline-soaked story of nine men who fought the Japanese from America's deadliest submarine, survived its sinking and endured months of brutal torture in captivity.By October 1944, the US Navy submarine Tang was legendary - she had sunk more enemy ships, rescued more downed airmen and pulled off more daring surface attacks than any other Allied submarine in the Pacific. And then, on her fifth patrol, tragedy struck - the Tang was hit by one of her own faulty torpedoes. The survivors of the explosion struggled to stay alive in their submerged "iron coffin" one hundred and eighty feet beneath the surface. While the Japanese dropped deadly depth charges, just nine of the original eighty-man crew survived a harrowing ascent through the escape hatch.But a far greater ordeal was coming. After being picked up by a Japanese patrol vessel, they were sent to a secret Japanese interrogation camp known as the "Torture Farm". They were close to death when finally liberated in August 1945, but they had revealed nothing to the Japanese - not even the greatest secret of World War II.

Title: Gazala 1942: Rommel's Greatest Victory

Author: Ken Ford


Publisher: Osprey

Price: £14.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Erwin Rommel


Following a lull in the desert war which saw the Germans and British reinforce their armies, Rommel suddenly attacked British fortifications with an assault on the northern sector of the British line near Gazala. Pinning down the British in the north and outflanking the 1st Free French Brigade, Rommel succeeded in encircling the main British positions, trapping them in what became known as 'The Cauldron'. With thousands of British soldiers killed or taken prisoner, this was a devastating defeat for the Allies. Accompanied by contemporary photographs and maps depicting the movement of both armies, Ken Ford provides a masterful study of Rommel, the "Desert Fox", at the height of his powers as he swept the British army back to the site of their final stand at El Alamein.