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Reading Guide


Hans Goebeler

John Vanzo

Author Interview

Goebeler Photo

Vanzo Photo


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Steel Boat, Iron Hearts (Paperback) - Reading Guide

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A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505

Hans Goebeler
with John P. Vanzo

Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Price: $18.95
ISBN: 1-932714-31-9
On Sale: October 2008

Photos, maps, index

Revised and expanded 1st U.S. edition

The extraordinary memoirs of a sailor who made every patrol aboard one of the most famous U-boats of World War II. Includes detailed information the boat's capture by Captain Gallery. Includes letter from Captain Alex-Olaf Loewe; intro by Keith Gill, Curator, U-505 (Museum of Science and Industry).

Also in Hardcover, Click Here.

Of related U-505 interest: Hunt and Kill.

Hans Goebeler’s experience detailed in U-505 article.

All orders include a signed author bookplate!

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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.

  1. Hans Goebeler and his family supported Hitler as Fuhrer. Was this reasonable, or should they have know about the evil and danger Hitler represented?
  2. Why was Hans so eager to join the German military? Would an American be as eager in similar situations?
  3. How did Hans' experiences under his first skipper, Capt. Loewe, change his ideas about what constitutes effective leadership?
  4. 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?
  5. Was Capt. Peter Zschech an effective skipper of the U-505? Why or why not?
  6. Why did Peter Zschech commit suicide?
  7. Did Hans Goebeler exhibit heartlessness in his reaction to Zschech's suicide?
  8. Did Hans' conduct ashore diminish your opinion of him?
  9. Was the treatment of the U-505 crewmen as prisoners in any way illegal or immoral?
  10. Does the book's examination of young men fighting in a losing war give you any insight into America's current war in Iraq?

Hans Goebeler

Hans Jacob Goebeler was born in Bottendorf, Germany, on November 9, 1923. At the age of 17, he joined the Navy and served as control room mate aboard U-505. Years later, Goebeler moved his family to the United States to be close to his beloved boat and began penning his wartime memoir. Hans passed away in 1999. Read More...

John P. Vanzo

John P. Vanzo is a former defense program analyst from Bradenton, Florida. He has a Ph.D. in International Relations and currently teaches political science and geography courses at Bainbridge College in Bainbridge, Georgia. Read More...

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