Athenia Torpedoed

The U-Boat Attack that Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic
If you are a member, log in to receive member pricing
Published:October 15, 2012
By Francis M. Carroll (Author)

 Just hours after World War II was declared, Germany struck its first blow, firing without warning on the passenger liner Athenia. Just hours after World War II was declared, Germany struck its first blow, firing without warning on the passenger liner Athenia. The British ship was loaded with Americans, Canadians, and Europeans attempting to cross the Atlantic before the outbreak of war. As the ship sank, 1,306 were rescued but 112 people were lost, including thirty Americans. This account of the disaster, based on new research, tells a dramatic story of tragedy and triumph, as historian Francis Carroll chronicles the survivors’ experiences and explains how the incident shaped policy in the U.S., UK, and Canada. For Britain, it was seen as a violation of international law and convoys were sent to protect shipping. In Canada, Athenia’s sinking rallied support to go to war. In the United States, it exposed Germany as a serious threat and changed public opinion enough to allow the country to sell munitions and supplies to Britain and France.

List Price: $29.95
Clear The Decks Price*:$7.49
Member Price: $7.49
Product Details
  • Subject: World War II
  • Hardback : 256 pages
  • Illustrations: 40 b/w illustrations
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1591141486
  • ISBN-13: 9781591141488
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 17.25 oz
  • "Athenia Torpedoed is a riveting chronicle of this important and tragic event that start the naval hostilities in the most violent conflict of the twentieth century." — The Midwest Book Review
  • "Carroll has contributed a readily accessible volume for anyone desiring to better understand the opening salvoes of World War II.” — Naval Historical Foundation
  • “The Athenia’s story has not been told, in English, since 1959. This book remedies that and does so with a deft interweaving of research and unforgettable storytelling…The Naval Institute Press deserves a salute for its continued commitment to supply readers with the tools and resources for further exploration. The notes and bibliography in this volume are superb. The selection of photographs adds another fine dimension… This book is an obvious choice for those interested in the Second World War. But maritime buffs of any stripe will find treasure among Carroll’s cited sources… A perfect read for long winter nights.” — East County Magazine (San Diego)
  • "Carroll shines a fascinating light on a still mysterious incident in the early hours of the war.” — Winnipeg Free Press
  • “…The book restores the human face to a tragedy that often receives only a brief mention in many books about the Battle of the Atlantic.” — H-War
  • "This is a very detailed but readable account of an important but almost forgotten tragedy at sea…I learned a lot form this book and I highly recommend it.” — Powership
  • “…The first meticulously researched and comprehensive recounting of an early German submarine attack during the Battle of the Atlantic…Carroll expertly assesses the event in the context of the beginning of global war and examines all aspects of the sinking…The most poignant of the many stories Carroll shares are those of the families caught in the tragedy, separated during the rush to the life boats, sometimes never to be reunited.” — Publishers Weekly
  • "Athenia Torpedoed is a well-written, original, carefully documented, and highly readable account of the initial German sinking in the critical Battle of the Atlantic. Highly recommended for readers of naval history or accounts of World War II.” —Robert Love, author of History of the U. S. Navy
  • "Carroll brings to life in vivid detail the terror and pain of passengers and crew on board the torpedoed Athenia. It is a dramatic, tragic, and long-overlooked story, engagingly told by the author. If you have ever wondered what single event rallied the Allies against Adolph Hitler, this is the book for you. Highly recommended!” —Robert F. Cross, author of Shepherds of the Sea: Destroyer Escorts in World War II
  • “Carroll has delivered a detailed and well-crafted account of the opening blow of the war’s longest battle: the Battle of the Atlantic. Athenia Torpedoed is a fast-paced, appealing work that will delight the ardent student of U-boat operations as well as the aficionado of shipwreck and survivor literature. Carroll’s extensive use of personal narratives and period accounts brings this tragic event to life and reminds the reader that the greatest of battles are in fact a collection of personal episodes.” —Vincent P. O’Hara, author of The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945 and Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater

Francis M. Carroll is professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba and the prize-winning author of ten books.

More by this Author

Athenia Torpedoed
 Just hours after World War II was declared, Germany struck its first blow, firing without...Read More

Related Content

None found for this author.

Events and Conferences

17 June - Meet the Author & Book Signing
Alumni Author Event | Carleton College Bookstore | One North College St., Northfield, MN 55057 Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Reviews


Conferences and Events

View All

From the Press

23 February - Seminar

Sat, 2019-02-23

David F. Winkler

3 March - Lecture

Sun, 2019-03-03

Stephen A. Bourque

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 140 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership