Including original, unpublished material from Commander Wu¨rdemann’s war diary, the story provides balance and perspective by chronicling the daring mission of the U-boat—and its commander’s decision-making—in the Gulf of Mexico.
An inspiring historical narrative, So Close to Home tells the story of the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of this deadly attack off the American coast.
Michael Tougias is the author and co-author of twenty-three non-fiction books, including several true survival-at-sea adventures, such as Rescue of the Bounty, Fatal Forecast, Overboard!, A Storm Too Soon, and The Finest Hours (soon to be a major motion picture by Disney). His book Ten Hours Until Dawn was selected as one of the American Library Association's "Best Books of the Year."
Alison O’Leary is a former reporter for the The Boston Globe, a magazine editor, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
November 9th, 1942. Amid the cloaking gloom of the Liverpool docks lay the Dunedin Star. A ship of the Blue Star Line, she was bound for the Middle East, her consignment of munitions for the 8th Army supplemented by twenty-one fare-paying civilians escaping the Blitz for the colonies, all forced to take the long haul round the Cape.
As an unescorted merchantman sailing U-boat infested waters, Dunedin Star's passage was, at best, a risky undertaking. But her eventual fate was to defy all expectation. Three weeks into her voyage, her hull mysteriously holed, Dunedin Star ran aground off Namibia's infamous Skeleton Coast - five hundred miles of raging surf and burning desert, the most violent and desolate shore on earth. Sixty-three men, women and children were to defy mountainous waves and unfathomable odds to reach land . . . but their struggle for survival had only just begun.
From interviews with survivors, eyewitness testimony, historical resources and personal journals, Dawson skilfully reconstructs the Dunedin Star's doomed voyage, the terror of the wilderness and the painstaking rescue missions. From the grim waters of the North Atlantic to the blistering African wastes, he narrates a classic tale of pluck, set against the backdrop of World War II.
In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, during a chaotic nighttime skirmish amid the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri barreled through thick fog and struck the U.S. Navy's motor torpedo boat PT 109, splitting the craft nearly in half and killing two American sailors instantly. The sea erupted in flames as the 109's skipper, John F. Kennedy, and the ten surviving crewmen under his command desperately clung to the sinking wreckage; 1,200 feet of ink-black, shark-infested water loomed beneath. "All hands lost," came the reports back to the Americans' base: no rescue was coming for the men of PT 109. Their desperate ordeal was just beginning—so too was one of the most remarkable tales of World War II, one whose astonishing afterlife would culminate two decades later in the White House.
Drawing on original interviews with the last living links to the events, previously untapped Japanese wartime archives, and a wealth of archival documents from the Kennedy Library, including a lost first-hand account by JFK himself, bestselling author William Doyle has crafted a thrilling and definitive account of the sinking of PT 109 and its shipwrecked crew's heroics. Equally fascinating is the story's second act, in which Doyle explores in new detail how this extraordinary episode shaped Kennedy's character and fate, proving instrumental to achieving his presidential ambitions: "Without PT 109, there never would have been a President John F. Kennedy," declared JFK aide David Powers.
Featuring castaways on a deserted island, a spy network of Solomon Island natives, an Australian coast watcher hidden on the side of a volcano, an S.O.S. note carved into a coconut, and a daring rescue attempt led by Kennedy's fellow American PT boats, PT 109 is an unforgettable American epic of war and destiny.
Using dozens of interview and audiotapes that recorded every word exchanged between Quirk and the Coast Guard, Tougias has written a devastating, true account of bravery and death at sea, in Ten Hours Until Dawn.