The Cruel Sea PDF: A Masterpiece of War Literature by Nicholas Monsarrat
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat: A Classic Novel of World War II
Have you ever wondered what it was like to serve in the Royal Navy during the Second World War? If so, you might want to read The Cruel Sea, a classic novel by Nicholas Monsarrat that depicts the lives and struggles of naval officers and sailors in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theatres. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this masterpiece of war literature, including its plot, reception, legacy, and how to download it as a PDF for free.
the cruel sea nicholas monsarrat pdf download
The author's background and experience as a naval officer
Nicholas Monsarrat was born in Liverpool in 1910. He studied law at Cambridge University and worked as a journalist before joining the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1939. He served as an officer on various ships, including corvettes, frigates, and cruisers. He participated in several naval operations, such as the Battle of the Atlantic, the Arctic convoys, the North Africa campaign, and the Normandy invasion. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery and leadership.
Monsarrat drew on his personal experiences and observations to write The Cruel Sea, which he started in 1944 and finished in 1951. He wanted to portray the reality and horror of war at sea, as well as the courage and camaraderie of his fellow sailors. He also wanted to show the human side of his characters, their hopes, fears, loves, and losses. He wrote in a simple but powerful style, using authentic naval terminology and slang. He dedicated his novel to "the officers and men of H.M. ships Compass Rose and Saltash".
The main characters and themes of the novel
The Cruel Sea follows the careers and fates of several officers who serve on two fictional ships: HMS Compass Rose, a corvette, and HMS Saltash, a frigate. The main protagonist is Lieutenant-Commander George Ericson, a former merchant navy officer who becomes the captain of Compass Rose. He is a calm, compassionate, and competent leader who cares deeply for his crew. His second-in-command is Lieutenant Bennett, a cynical and sarcastic officer who dislikes Ericson at first but gradually comes to respect him. Other important characters include Sub-Lieutenant Lockhart, a young and naive officer who learns from Ericson; Sub-Lieutenant Ferraby, a cheerful and optimistic officer who falls in love with a Wren; Lieutenant Morell, a quiet and reserved officer who suffers from seasickness; Lieutenant-Commander Jameson, an arrogant and ambitious officer who takes over Saltash; Lieutenant Hallam, a kind-hearted and loyal officer who serves under Jameson; and Lieutenant Commander Vallery, a French officer who joins Saltash.
The novel explores several themes, such as the contrast between the beauty and the brutality of the sea, the moral dilemmas and psychological effects of war, the importance of duty and discipline, the value of friendship and loyalty, and the role of women in wartime. The novel also shows the evolution of naval warfare, from the early days of the U-boat menace to the advent of radar, sonar, and air support. The novel does not glorify war, but rather exposes its horrors and tragedies. It also does not demonize the enemy, but rather acknowledges their humanity and courage.
The Plot of The Cruel Sea
The first part: The Compass Rose and the Battle of the Atlantic
The first part of the novel covers the period from 1939 to 1942, when Ericson and his crew join Compass Rose, a newly built corvette assigned to escort convoys across the Atlantic. They face many challenges and dangers, such as bad weather, mechanical problems, boredom, fatigue, and enemy attacks. They also experience moments of joy and humor, such as celebrating Christmas, visiting ports, and meeting women. They form a close bond with each other and with their ship.
However, they also suffer many losses and casualties, as they witness ships being torpedoed by U-boats, rescue survivors from the water, and engage in battles with the enemy. They lose some of their friends and comrades, such as Ferraby, who dies in an explosion; Morell, who is killed by a machine-gun fire; and Bennett, who is wounded and transferred to another ship. They also endure personal tragedies, such as Lockhart's girlfriend being killed in a bombing raid; Ericson's wife leaving him for another man; and Jameson's wife dying in childbirth.
The second part: The Saltash and the Mediterranean campaign
The second part of the novel covers the period from 1943 to 1944, when Ericson and his crew are transferred to Saltash, a frigate that operates in the Mediterranean Sea. They are joined by Jameson, who becomes their new captain; Hallam, who becomes their first lieutenant; and Vallery, who becomes their liaison officer. They take part in various missions, such as escorting convoys to Malta and Sicily, supporting landings in North Africa and Italy, hunting down U-boats in the Aegean Sea, and rescuing prisoners of war from Greece.
They face different challenges and dangers than before, such as minefields, air raids, shore batteries, E-boats, and Italian submarines. They also encounter different cultures and landscapes, such as exotic cities, ancient ruins, friendly locals, and hostile partisans. They enjoy some pleasures and adventures, such as visiting Cairo, gambling in Alexandria, dancing in Naples, and romancing in Algiers. They also make some new friends and allies, such as a Greek fisherman named Nikos; a British spy named Phillips; a French resistance fighter named Marie; and an American admiral named Hewitt.
However, they also face more losses and casualties than before. They lose some of their shipmates, such as Hallam, who is killed by a mine; Vallery, who is shot by a sniper; Jameson's dog Skipper; Ericson's cat Nelson; Lockhart's parrot Polly; Ericson's goldfish Nemo. They also lose their ship twice: once when it is badly damaged by a bomb; and once when it is sunk by a torpedo. They also suffer more personal tragedies: Ericson's son is killed in action; Lockhart's father dies of cancer; Jameson's son is born with Down syndrome.
The third part: The Torrin and the Normandy invasion
The third part of the novel covers the period from June to August 1944 when Ericson and his crew are assigned to Torrin a destroyer that takes part in the D-Day landings in Normandy. They are joined by some old friends such as Bennett who has recovered from his wounds; Ferraby's brother who has joined the navy; Phillips who has escaped from Greece; Marie who has followed Vallery's footsteps. They are also joined by some new faces such as Lieutenant-Commander Richards who becomes their captain; Lieutenant Wainwright who becomes their second-in-command; Sub-Lieutenant Hardy who becomes their gunnery officer.
They perform various tasks such as bombarding enemy positions, clearing minefields, escorting landing craft, rescuing wounded soldiers, engaging enemy ships, and repelling counterattacks. They also witness the horrors and heroism of war, such as burning ships, sinking tanks, drowning men, exploding mines, wounded comrades, brave medics, heroic soldiers, and grateful civilians.
However, they also pay a heavy price for their victory. They lose some of their friends and comrades, such as Richards, who is killed by a shell; Wainwright, who is blown up by a mine; Hardy, who is shot by a sniper; Bennett, who is drowned by a U-boat; Ferraby's brother, who is crushed by a tank; Phillips, who is stabbed by a German soldier; Marie, who is raped and killed by SS troops. They also lose their ship for the third and final time: when it is hit by a glide bomb and sinks.
The fourth part: The Frigate and the end of the war
The fourth and last part of the novel covers the period from September 1944 to May 1945 when Ericson and his crew are assigned to Frigate a new frigate that operates in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. They are joined by some old friends such as Lockhart who has been promoted to lieutenant-commander; Ferraby's cousin who has joined the navy; Nikos who has escaped from Greece; Hewitt who has become their admiral. They are also joined by some new faces such as Lieutenant-Commander Graham who becomes their captain; Lieutenant Sinclair who becomes their first lieutenant; Sub-Lieutenant Brown who becomes their radar officer.
They face the final stages of the war as they escort convoys to Norway and Denmark liberate ports and islands from German occupation support resistance movements and refugees in Scandinavia and Germany hunt down the last U-boats and E-boats in the Baltic Sea and witness the surrender and collapse of Nazi Germany. They also face new challenges and dangers such as bad weather fog icebergs magnetic mines acoustic torpedoes human torpedoes midget submarines suicide boats jet fighters rocket bombs. They also encounter new enemies and allies such as German sailors who fight to the bitter end German civilians who welcome them or resist them Russian soldiers who help them or hinder them Danish resistance fighters who assist them or betray them Swedish neutral observers who monitor them or ignore them.
However they also enjoy some peace and relief as they celebrate Christmas New Year VE Day visit ports and islands that have been liberated or neutralized meet women and children who have been freed or sheltered exchange gifts and greetings with their former foes or friends witness the end of the war and the beginning of a new era.
The Reception and Legacy of The Cruel Sea
The critical acclaim and popularity of the novel
The Cruel Sea was published in 1951 and became an instant bestseller. It received rave reviews from critics and readers alike who praised its realism authenticity emotion and power. It was hailed as one of the finest novels of World War II and one of the greatest works of British literature. It sold over four million copies worldwide and was translated into several languages. It won several awards such as the Atlantic Award for Literature in 1951 and the Prix de la Liberte in 1952. It was also nominated for the Booker Prize in 1969.
The adaptations and influences of the novel
The Cruel Sea was adapted into a film in 1953 directed by Charles Frend and starring Jack Hawkins Donald Sinden Denholm Elliott Stanley Baker Virginia McKenna John Stratton John Warner Liam Redmond Moira Lister Megs Jenkins June Thorburn. The film was a huge success both commercially and critically. It won several awards such as the BAFTA Award for Best British Film in 1954 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film in 1955. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay in 1954.
The Cruel Sea was also adapted into a radio play in 1955 broadcast by BBC Radio 4 and starring Jack Hawkins Donald Sinden Denholm Elliott Stanley Baker Virginia McKenna John Stratton John Warner Liam Redmond Moira Lister Megs Jenkins June Thorburn. The radio play was well received by listeners and critics alike. It was also adapted into a stage play in 2018 performed by The Original Theatre Company at various venues across the UK and starring Philip Franks Nick Moran Paul Thornley James Wilby Ellie Nunn Polly Hughes.
The Cruel Sea has influenced many other works of literature and art such as The Ship by C.S. Forester HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy Das Boot by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian The Boat That Rocked by Richard Curtis.
The relevance and significance of the novel today
The Cruel Sea is still relevant and significant today as it offers a vivid and compelling account of the naval history and heritage of World War II. It also provides a valuable and timeless insight into the human condition and the moral questions of war. It also serves as a tribute and a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought and died at sea for their country and their cause.
How to Download The Cruel Sea PDF for Free
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