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Portugal's Santa Maria graced the Atlantic for 7 years, the undoubted queen of the line; on her 71st voyage 5 men in khaki burst onto the bridge, all hell broke loose and a new kind of tourism was born. Now Warren Rogers commemorates the event and does it cracklingly well; his book is a cross between an Ernest Gann adventure story and one of those crisp and candid you-are-there entertainments, or in other words, reliable reportage with the popular touch and punch. The tale's divided along three flanks: the problems Galvao and his band meet trying to impress the world that they are not pirates but political insurgents denouncing the Salazar dictatorship; the growing tensions amongst the passengers as disembarkation at a neutral port seems to fade further the longer they are at sea; and the work of the US Navy in tracking the ship down, shepherding her into Brazilian waters and stalling off any last-ditch stand by the rebels. Author Rogers' portraits of all concerned are sharp and suggestive, most especially the American passengers; the events well-paced and the scenes vivid: the disaffected crew threatening mutiny, a Neptune plane circling overhead to cheers and tears from the ship's decks, heroic dandy Galvao finally led away under guard. A lot of readers should enjoy it, as livelier reporting than either of its predecessors.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1962
Publisher: McGraw-Hill