Escape from Archangel: An American Merchant Seaman at War

Univ. Press of Mississippi
Free sample

During World War II, merchant marine tankers in convoys plied the frozen North Atlantic through the flaming wreckage of torpedoed ships. Working to keep sea lanes open, valiant merchant seamen supplied food, fuel, and goods to the Allies in the last pockets of European resistance to the Nazis.

This exciting book acknowledges that the merchant marines, all volunteers, are among the unsung heroes of the war. One of these was Jac Smith, an ordinary seamen on the Cedar Creek, a new civilian tanker lend-leased to the U.S.S.R. and in the merchantman convoy running from Scotland to Murmansk. Smith's riveting adventures at sea and in the frozen taigas and tundra are a story of valor that underlines the essential role of merchant marines in the war against the Axis powers.

This gripping narrative tells of a cruel blow that fate dealt Smith when, after volunteering to serve on the tanker headed for Murmansk, he was arrested and interned in a Soviet work camp near Arkhangelsk.

Escape from Archangel recounts how this American happened to be imprisoned in an Allied country and how he planned and managed his escape. In his arduous 900-mile trek to freedom, he encountered the remarkable Laplanders of the far north and brave Norwegian resistance fighters. While telling this astonishing story of Jac Smith and of the awesome dangers merchant seamen endured while keeping commerce alive on the seascape of war, Escape from Archangel brings long-deserved attention to the role of the merchant marine and their sacrifices during wartime.

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About the author

Thomas E. Simmons is a businessman and writer who lives in Gulfport, Mississippi. He is the author of The Brown Condor: The True Adventures of John C. Robinson.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ. Press of Mississippi
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Published on
Aug 16, 2011
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Pages
168
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ISBN
9781617033803
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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“Riveting, with a style and pace that take the reader on the journey with John Robinson—the African American man called the brown condor” (New York Journal of Books).
 
In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thomas E. Simmons brings to life the true story of John C. Robinson, who rose from fraught and humble beginnings as a black child in segregated Mississippi to outstanding success. He became a pilot and an expert in building and assembling his own working aircraft; he also helped to establish a school of aviation at the Tuskegee Institute (there would have been no Tuskegee Airmen without him); and his courageous wartime service in Ethiopia during the Italian invasion in 1935 won him international fame.
 
Featuring thirty-five black-and-white photographs and based on twenty-three years’ worth of original research, when very little information on this remarkable American hero was available, The Man Called Brown Condor is more than just a biography of an unfairly forgotten African American pilot; this book provides insight on racial conditions in the first half of the twentieth century and on the rise of fascism in the years preceding World War II.
 
“[Robinson’s] lifelong triumph over adversity belongs to the greatest of American success stories.” —The Washington Times
 
“Simmons brings to life Robinson’s inspiring struggle against racism through the story of how he rose to become the commander of Haile Selassie’s air force in Ethiopia’s attempt to defend itself against Mussolini’s brutal invasion . . . An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there’s a will, there’s a way, even against seemingly impossible odds.” —Kirkus Reviews
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