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Extended Audio Sample A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest, by Richard Snow Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (69 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Snow Narrator: John Dossett Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Of all the threats that faced his country in World War II, Winston Churchill said, just one really scared him—what he called the "measureless peril" of the German U-boat campaign.

In that global conflagration, only one battle—the struggle for the Atlantic—lasted from the very first hours of the conflict to its final day. Hitler knew that victory depended on controlling the sea-lanes where American food and fuel and weapons flowed to the Allies. At the start, U-boats patrolled a few miles off the eastern seaboard, savagely attacking scores of defenseless passenger ships and merchant vessels while hastily converted American cabin cruisers and fishing boats vainly tried to stop them. Before long, though, the United States was ramping up what would be the greatest production of naval vessels the world had ever known.

Then the battle became a thrilling cat-and-mouse game between the quickly built U.S. warships and the ever-more cunning and lethal U-boats. The historian Richard Snow captures all the drama of the merciless contest at every level, from the doomed sailors on an American freighter defying a German cruiser, to the amazing Allied attempts to break the German naval codes, to Winston Churchill pressing Franklin Roosevelt to join the war months before Pearl Harbor (and FDR’s shrewd attempts to fight the battle alongside Britain while still appearing to keep out of it).

Inspired by the collection of letters that his father sent his mother from the destroyer escort he served aboard, Snow brings to life the longest continuous battle in modern times.

With its vibrant prose and fast-paced action, A Measureless Peril is an immensely satisfying account that belongs on the small shelf of the finest histories ever written about World War II.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gripping, jaw-dropping, moving, at times surprisingly funny, and always spellbinding.” 

    Laura Hillenbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Snow writes with verve and a keen eye. He is a kind of John McPhee of combat at sea, finding humanity in the small, telling details of duty.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[An] absorbing history of the American role in the Battle of the Atlantic, undoubtedly the longest and most crucial campaign of WWII…The book is historically balanced and eminently readable.” 


  • “Snow looks at several important figures in the campaign, and he writes at length about Karl Doenitz, the commander of the German submarine fleet, whose strategic thinking about the use of submarines—specifically, using U-boats to focus on attacking merchant ships—transformed naval warfare. The author also uses letters and recollections of his father, providing a palpable sense of the daily activity of an enlisted man in the Atlantic war. An accomplished historian with a welcome personal touch.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by David Brown | 11/30/2013

    " I can see why Laura Hillelbrand recommended this. A very personal and fascinating examination of the Battle of the Atlantic and the Destroyer Escort. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Peter Johnson | 10/21/2013

    " I liked the book. It is a very clear and personal account of the Battle of the Atlantic told by the son of a participant. Told as a series of sequential vignettes, it immerses the reader in the agonies of that aspect of the WWII conflict. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lawrence Block | 5/28/2013

    " Vital history brilliantly told. Snow was the longtime editor of American Heritage and brings a novelist's sensitivity to bear on his subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ron | 5/19/2013

    " Great historical stories of the little known war in the Atlantic. "

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