Kirkus Star


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The months' long cruise of the Erma brought 16 Estonian refugees (four of them children) from Smedslatten, Sweden, to Norfolk, Virginia, dangerously and perilously crossing the Atlantic. How the idea of escaping Russian rule originated, the search for a boat and the buying and refitting and equipping of the 37-footer, how their party grew as more money was needed -- lead up to the day of casual departure. Then the hazards of patrols and customs through the canals, the passage over the North Sea and in their happy reception in Scotland and Ireland. On to Funchal where the tension of waiting to learn if they might clear was enhanced by their desperate need of food, oil -- and time. And in October heading into the Trade Winds, and 5,000 miles of ocean, where the Erma, ever a sturdy old party, played pranks but never let them down and where conflicts flashed as little things loomed big to the cramped passengers. Whales and dolphins, storms and gales, the long beat up the U.S. coast and near-failure as both food and oil give out completely and rescue by the U.S. Navy -- and in a safe port in Norfolk in a kind new world. A courageous chronicle and a sea story with terrific human interest.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1952
Publisher: Crowell