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The Burning Shore

The Burning Shore

How Hitler’s U-Boats Brought World War II to America

On June 15, 1942, as thousands of vacationers lounged in the sun at Virginia Beach, two massive fireballs erupted just offshore from a convoy of oil tankers steaming into Chesapeake Bay. While men, women, and children gaped from the shore, two damaged oil tankers fell out of line and began to sink. Then a small escort warship blew apart in a violent explosion. Navy warships and aircraft peppered the water with depth charges, but to no avail. Within the next twenty-four hours, a fourth ship lay at the bottom of the channel— all victims of twenty-nine-year-old Kapitänleutnant Horst Degen and his crew aboard the German U-boat U-701.

In The Burning Shore, acclaimed military reporter Ed Offley presents a thrilling account of the bloody U-boat offensive along America's east coast during the first half of 1942, using the story of Degen's three war patrols as a lens through which to view this forgotten chapter of World War II. For six months, German U-boats prowled the waters off the eastern seaboard, sinking merchant ships with impunity, and threatening to sever the lifeline of supplies flowing from America to Great Britain. Degen's successful infiltration of the Chesapeake Bay in mid-June drove home the U-boats' success, and his spectacular attack terrified the American public as never before. But Degen's cruise was interrupted less than a month later, when U.S. Army Air Forces Lieutenant Harry J. Kane and his aircrew spotted the silhouette of U-701 offshore. The ensuing clash signaled a critical turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic—and set the stage for an unlikely friendship between two of the episode's survivors.

A gripping tale of heroism and sacrifice, The Burning Shore leads readers into a little-known theater of World War II, where Hitler's U-boats came close to winning the Battle of the Atlantic before American sailors and airmen could finally drive them away.

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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Military / World War Ii

On Sale: March 25th 2014

Price: $27.99 / $31 (CAD)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9780465029617

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

Kirkus
“An authoritative work on the awful, early effectiveness of German U-boats in disrupting shipping traffic off the east coast of the United States.... A knowledgeable overview and exciting re-creation of the final U-701 attack and defeat.”

Publishers Weekly
“Offley, a specialist in underwater operations, evokes the environment of U-boats that were themselves obsolescent – small, cramped, and operating at the limits of their effective range.”

Virginian Pilot
“[Offley's] been pursuing such Atlantic coast U-boat stories for decades, digging into myriad archives of journals, logbooks, oral histories and more. If Pilot reporter Diane Tennant's series in 2009 piqued your interest, grab this.”

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, authors of The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend
“We have a special appreciation for dramatic stories of untold wartime heroism, and Ed Offley's gripping tale does not disappoint. Veering from the well-worn paths of World War II's European and Pacific Theaters, Offley's The Burning Shore breaks new ground in its description of the German U-boat invasion of America's Eastern Seaboard in 1942, and the courageous efforts by an undermanned United States military to prevent the Nazis from crippling our war efforts in the Atlantic. Bravo.”
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Washington Post
“[The Burning Shore] will be, I think, a real eye-opener for readers who assume that the war was fought in Europe, Asia and Africa, but not here.... It would be foolish to wax sentimental about [Kane and Degen's] story, and Offley wisely refrains from doing so, but it does bring the history of the U-boats to an unexpected and quite gratifying conclusion.”

San Antonio Express-News
“Offley expertly accomplishes a spellbinding reconstruction of the first successful sinking of a U-boat in American waters by a U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft.... The Burning Shore is an insightful reminder that World War II was not only fought on far-off foreign lands and seas, but close to home as well.”

Post and Courier (Charleston)
“Offley's story is admittedly a small one, covering just the opening few months of the war, but he does a good job of capturing those frightful earlier days of the conflict. The author of several previous books, including Turning the Tide and Scorpion Down, Offley is a good writer, no where is that more evident than in his dramatic chronicling of Kane's attack on U-701 and Degen's struggle to survive.”
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Naval History
“Offley's book is a well-researched expose on the early battles of World War II in the Atlantic and highlights tensions on the West Coast...following the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Providence Journal
“[Offley] reminds us in The Burning Shore that although all the troops who fought in World War II had to cross an ocean first, the war actually did come a lot closer to America. German submariners lurked offshore so close they could see the Coney Island Ferris wheel at night.”

American Spectator
“Offley is a clear and organized writer. His portrayal of events is free of the theorizing that mars the historical works of so many academics. There is no political agenda at work in this clear unfolding of momentous events, made the more immediate by the engaging personal narratives. I like my history straight. With both attention to detail and to story. This is how Ed Offley delivers it.”

Military History
The Burning Shore is a history of those dreadful early months of the war, a history largely suppressed at the time and rarely alluded to since.”
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Reader Reviews

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