What history calls the "Battle of the Atlantic" was really a full-scale war-within-a-war, fought from the beginning of hostilities in 1939 to the moment of cease-fire in 1945. Andrew Williams focuses on the first four years of this bitter conflict, during which time German submarines sank an astounding twelve million tons of Allied shipping. The story reaches its climax in May 1943, when the introduction of new weapons and tactics turned the tide of the battle and enabled the Allies to contain and finally defeat the dreaded German "wolf packs." Interweaving scores of first-person accounts from survivors of both sides, The Battle of the Atlantic follows the exploits of the charismatic U-boat commanders who led their crews to the hunt-and often to their deaths. It goes aboard the merchantmen and escort ships that were both victim and nemesis to the "gray wolves" of the sea. And it enters the war rooms of the German, British, and American navies, where code-breakers and strategists angled for any advantage in a race that spelled doom to its loser. This dramatic chronicle sheds new light on one of the most dangerous conflicts of the Second World War.