Grey Wolves

  • by Philip Kaplan
  • Narrated by A. T. Chandler
  • 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the early years of the Second World War, the elite force of German submariners known as the Ubootwaffe came perilously close to perfecting underwater battle tactics and successfully cutting Britain's transatlantic lifeline. To the Allies, these enemy sailors were embarking on a mission of unequivocal evil.
Each member of the Ubootwaffe understood that he must take pride in being part of a unique brotherhood. He had to do so because he was setting out - in claustrophobic, unsanitary, stench-filled, and ultimately hellish conditions - on a journey that would test his mental and physical endurance to the very limits, and which he had little chance of surviving. Those that did return soon ceased to take comfort in friends or family, dwelling only on the knowledge that another patrol awaited them. By the end of the war, of the 39,000 men who went to sea in the U-boats, 27,491 died in action and a further 5,000 were made prisoners of war. Of the 863 U-boats that sailed on operational patrols, 754 were lost.
Grey Wolves captures life on board a U-boat, in text, letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, prose, and poetry, relaying tales of the mundane and the routine, dramatic and heroic; the fear and resilience of every crew member, from Kapitainleutnant to Mechaniker. It is a vivid, brutally realistic portrait of the men who fought and died beneath the surface of the Atlantic in what was, perhaps, the most critical battle of the war.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Like a Jr High Book Report, Performance Bad Too

Would you try another book from Philip Kaplan and/or A. T. Chandler?

No. This is barely a book as much as it is a bunch of content from other people appended together with little editing. It repeats the same information in many places. Skips over some events with very little information (the U-110 enigma capture, one of the most important U-Boat events ever due to the importance of the code, and the daring method of capture), but in other places (the Lusitania section, which reads like 80% Wikipedia content) is quite lengthy. Some very long direct quotes are used. There's really nothing original here.

The performance is among the worst I've ever listened to. The voice and style of the narrator is like he's doing voiceover for an action move trailer or a cell phone data plan. Totally lacking inflection or any demonstrated sensitivity for what he's talking about. He reads one passage about men being crushed to death with the same buzzy monotone that he does talking about pretty nurses awaiting the return of the boats. Just terrible.

Would you ever listen to anything by Philip Kaplan again?


Would you be willing to try another one of A. T. Chandler’s performances?


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment that I wasted a credit on this. Should have gone with something more original with better performance. Other reviews mentioned that this has tactics in it, the only tactic it has is repeatedly mentioning the Wolfpack idea itself and the German word for it.

Any additional comments?

This book deserves to be scuttled, or depth charged into the briny deep.

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- Bill Sayer

You Have to Admire These Men

When I was born WWII was still fresh in the memories of many Americans and to be honest I think there was still many bad feelings towards Germany who was seen as an aggressor nation. When nations go to war young people are drafted or volunteered to fight the 'evil enemy'. Grey Wolves tells the stories of the men who fought for their fatherland in the Ubootwaffe. What this book made me appreciate is that these men were given a very dangerous, difficult job to perform in defense of their country.

Early in the war the U-boats experienced the 'happy times' when they experienced great success in stopping Allied supply shipments. Later on in the war Allied technology improved to the point where Germany's submarines were at an extreme disadvantage. The result is that nearly 3 out of 4 submariners would die. Yet these brave men fought on despite the dangers from the Allies and to a lesser degree the dangers of operating a ocean going vessel that was extremely difficult to operate in despite the impressions one would get from watching movies about submarines in WWII. This book along with others I have read on the subject have caused me to have great respect for these men doing a very dangerous and difficult job. Most of them were not hard core Nazis but sailors in general and submariners in specific fighting for the country they loved and their families.

One of my favorite submarine aces was Otto Kretchmer who when conditions allowed would surface his submarine after sinking a ship to offer food, beverages including alcohol and directions to land to the surviving sailors and he was not alone in this practice. If one wants to understand another people they have to listen to those 'other' people. I have frequently found that my ideas about others motives were not correct after learning what their real motives were.

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- Bruce Lynn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios