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The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (edició 2014)
de Michael Tougias (Autor)
Informació de l'obra
The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue de Michael J. Tougias
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This book tells the true story of a 1952 Coast Guard rescue mission off the coast of Cape Cod, where two oil tankers, the Fort Mercer and the Pendleton, each broke into two sections, thirty miles apart, in the same storm. Fighting towering waves, the Coast Guard crews try various methods to get the stranded men off the ships. The story shifts between the two rescue efforts, telling the tale through eye-witness reports and interviews with survivors. The scenes of the rescues are riveting. Toward the end, the narrative shifts to the aftermath, which is not quite as captivating but needed to be told to give a complete account. Unfortunately, they could not save everyone, and the book is dedicated to both the heroic rescuers and those who lost their lives. I read this book in honor of Veteran’s Day. It was turned into a film in 2016. ( )
The Finest Hours, by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman is a true story. It is a book about exceptional human bravery and true heroism. It is based on an event, or rather, a series of events, that happened off the eastern seaboard of the United States in 1952.
Picture yourself in a boat. A wooden boat. A wooden boat only thirty-six feet long. A boat designed to hold just twelve people. Then ask yourself: would you venture out in a boat just a little longer than two cars parked end-to-end, into the teeth of a fierce Atlantic nor’easter blowing sixty knots, in a February snowstorm, at night, into waves seven stories high?
Hold that thought. Then picture this. Would you go out into the Atlantic Ocean in a storm with gale-force winds that had churned up the sea to a point where it had already torn not one, but two, five-hundred-foot-long, ocean-going steel ships into two pieces, just forty miles from each other? A storm that left the drifting bow and stern sections of the huge broken ships tossing about like corks in the sixty and seventy foot waves? A storm that left dozens of survivors stranded on the drifting hulks, praying desperately against hope, for a miraculous rescue before those ripped-apart sections sank? If you said yes, I’d say: read this book. Then think again.
That scenario really happened in 1952. And there were four people who did go out into the Atlantic, in a small craft, in such a storm. They were a U.S. Coast Guard crew. One man was ordered to go. Three of them volunteered. They went on a search and rescue mission. Before they even got out into the open ocean, the boat’s windshield was smashed as they plunged through a sixty-foot wave, and the compass was torn from its mount and rendered useless. That was just the beginning of what they went through. Incredibly, they all survived. And they carried out one of the most daring sea rescues of the twentieth century.
That story is the essence of the The Finest Hours. The bare facts about the events on their own are astonishing enough—two 10,000-ton ships, the SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton, were snapped in two like matchsticks. The sea-battered hulks of one of them went undiscovered for eight hours because the crew was unable to get off a distress signal before the catastrophe—but the authors have put human faces on the story. That is this book’s most compelling feature. Sadly, not everyone on those two wrecks made it back to shore alive. But the reader is pulled inexorably through this well-written book page after page, by a sense of hope for both the shipwrecked sailors, and the rescue crews.
I say crews, because The Finest Hours focuses essentially on telling the story of the one small Coast Guard motor lifeboat, CG36500. But it also covers the greater scope of the overall rescue operation. Four other larger Coast Guard ships, cutters Achushnet, Eastwind, McCulloch, Unimak and Yakutat also raced to the search and rescue effort, as did other vessels and several aircraft. The accounts of rescues by the other ships, some almost as harrowing as that of CG36500 are also woven into the story. But the four-man crew of the small motor lifeboat; Bernard C. Webber and the three volunteers, Andrew J. Fitzgerald, Richard P. Livesey and Ervin E. Maske are the book’s focal point. Their accomplishment was, quite simply, extraordinary.
Seventy of the eighty-four crew from the two huge ships that were torn apart that night were rescued. But there were men on board who were never found. One of the surviving seamen off the Pendleton, Oliver Gendron, believed that some of the crew, including the ship’s captain, would have perished instantly in the midship house on the Pendleton’s bow, when it broke up.
The book is drawn from a deep well of research as the 1952 rescue operation was front-page news worldwide the next day. The authors were able to glean from more than fifty newspaper, wire service and magazine articles, fifteen government agency reports and a number of earlier books. They also interviewed more than two dozen rescue-crew members and shipwreck survivors still living. Their memories, still stark and vivid many years, later go to the very heart of the story.
The Finest Hours is a book with a story that speaks to a reader at the elemental level. Heroism; raw courage in the face of overwhelming odds; the possibility of a miracle in the face of a maelstrom. It was made into a movie in 2016.
Having a weakness for nautical stories, I found "The Finest Hours" thoroughly engaging. It reminded me of the year 2000 George Clooney movie "The Perfect Storm". Both involved harrowing New England maritime rescues and the heroism demonstrated by the Coast Guard rescuers. You certainly get a feel for the bravery displayed by those faced with attempting rescues at sea. In 1952, these men took their 36 foot wooden lifeboat out into a storm with icy 60-foot waves and 75 mph winds to rescue men stranded on a tanker split in half during the storm. Each man knew, as he left the safety of the harbor, that he HAD to go out to attempt the rescue, but he didn't necessarily have to come back. True heroism. If I get back to Cape Cod, I'll be interested in seeing the resuce life boat in Orleans, or making a visit to the Nantucket Life Saving Museum to better appreciate what these men did and do for stranded sailors.
Reading this book in a snow storm gave it a heightened drama and made me more appreciative of what the men in this real-life situation went through. On Feb. 18, 1952, not one but two tanker ships broke in half in the stormy seas off Cape Cod. These enormous vessels (500 feet in length, weighing thousands of tons) became the victims of 50 ft. swells and 70 mph winds, as well as blinding snow and freezing temperatures. When the tankers split, the crew was also divided on each half and the parts began to both drift and sink. Only the front part of each ship had the ship-to-shore radio and resources for survival were also divided. To make the whole event even more remarkable was the Coast Guard rescue of each ship, using only 38-foot lifeboats that had to travel from shore out to the sinking ships in the formidable seas. The story focused more on the Pendleton and its 42 man crew. most of whom were rescued by the CG35600 captained by Bernie Webber and four other "coasties" who were all in their early 20s. The extreme wet and cold of the event was the least of their worries but the thing that seemed most relate-able to me. Imagining how literally almost frozen not only the shipwrecked but also the rescuers must have been showed their daring, toughness and determination to see through the mission and bring men back alive. The Fort Mercer, the other tanker was rescued by a different crew, but they were equally brave and undaunted by the elements. Once the rescue boats reached the wrecks, the challenges of getting close enough to actually save the men became evident. Many drowned in their attempt to jump from the ship to the smaller boats below and all were scarred by that process. Then returning to shore with double the intended capacity on board also put lives at risk. Though the rescue rate was not 100%, it was enough to deem it a huge success. I think these men fall into the Greatest Generation category -- an impressive tale of heroics that were downplayed and denied by those involved who insisted they were "just doing their job."
What an amazing story. Two tankers break in half off the coast of Cape Cod during a horrible storm in 1952, and a bunch of Coast Guard lifeboats and cutters make daring rescue attempts to save as many people as possible. Soon to be a movie, but I decided to read the book instead. Usually, this type of subject is not my cup of tea, but I liked the way the story was filled in with nautical and regional history. I'm not sure I had a clear picture of some of the events (I cannot tell aft from port from whatever), but the intensity and enormity of the situation came through in the writing. These are brave men whose valiant actions should not be forgotten.
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Wikipedia en anglès (5)
"On the night of February 18, 1952, during one of the worst winter storms that New England has ever seen, two oil tankers just off the shore of Cape Cod were torn in half by the force of the storm. This middle-grade adaptation of an adult nonfiction book tells the story of a harrowing Coast Guard rescue when four men in a tiny lifeboat overcame insurmountable odds and saved more than 30 stranded sailors. This is a fast-paced, uplifting story that puts young readers in the middle of the action. It's a gripping story of heroism and survival with the same intensity as the bestselling book and movie The Perfect Storm. A Christy Ottaviano Book"--
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)910.9163History and Geography Geography and Travel Geography and Travel History, geographic treatment, biography - Discovery. exploration Geography of and travel in areas, regions, places in general Air And Water Atlantic Ocean
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)