Destroyer, UK First Edition, 2003
Subject of the book
The book itself - full title 'Destroyer: An anthology of first-hand accounts of the war at sea 1939-1945' - is a collection of personal tales of the war at sea by sailors of all types, as well as other bits of historical evidence and some interesting B&W photographs. The editor does also reproduce a section from Deighton's Blood, Tears & Folly, in which Deighton writes about North Sea convoys in 1941 making the perilous journey to Iceland.
Deighton’s foreword is short - one page - but he clearly sees a kinship between the author’s research and his own historical writings, because he too focuses on the stories of the man at the front line.
'Surely no one will read this book without being deeply moved and inspired by the ungrudging sacrifice and all-pervading cheerfulness of its protagonists. Some were professional sailors, some were peacetime naval men but most of them were civilians who never truly adapted to a cold, wet, cramped life in a bouncing tin can but did their duty nevertheless. If you want to know what that generation of matchless heroes were like, Ian's book will show you.'