Reading Book Guide
Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505, by Hans Goebeler with John Vanzo
Steel Boat, Iron Hearts is a memoir of a sailor who made every patrol aboard one of the most famous U-boats of World War II, U-505. Goebeler provides a no-holds-barred account of his life aboard this frontline combat U-boat. We hope these thought-provoking questions lead to some lively book discussions.
- Hans Goebeler and his family supported Hitler as Fuhrer. Was this reasonable, or should they have know about the evil and danger Hitler represented?
- Why was Hans so eager to join the German military? Would an American be as eager in similar situations?
- How did Hans' experiences under his first skipper, Capt. Loewe, change his ideas about what constitutes effective leadership?
- Did the actions of the U-505 under the leadership of Axel Loewe change your opinion regarding the conduct of German U-boats during WWII?
- Was Capt. Peter Zschech an effective skipper of the U-505? Why or why not?
- Why did Peter Zschech commit suicide?
- Did Hans Goebeler exhibit heartlessness in his reaction to Zschech's suicide?
- Did Hans' conduct ashore diminish your opinion of him?
- Was the treatment of the U-505 crewmen as prisoners in any way illegal or immoral?
- Does the book's examination of young men fighting in a losing war give you any insight into America's current war in Iraq?