Kirkus Star


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The obvious comparison will be with There Go the Ships (see page 544), for this, too, is the biography of a merchant ship, in convoy to Russia. There are many similarities, but the Carse book has no single incident that reaches the pitch of the fourday attack in this book. One follows the routine procedure, --loading up, a mishap at the start, safe arrival in England, the making up of the largest convoy in British history -- then off for the White Sea and Archangel. The first taste of battle, following training in the use of the ship's armament; great losses by U boats, torpedo, dive and high bombers, and ship after ship lost, survivors rescued, and the convoy going on. Then a torpedo gets the Jason's engine room; orders issued to abandon ship, and the author and his complement of men are left aboard when their lifeboat capsizes, making them target for a returning Heinkel, which is disposed of by a minesweeper. The shift to minesweeper -- to cruiser, with both boats moving rapidly, is a unique picture. Follow days of bombardment, experienced belowdecks, with details relayed from the bridge. Finally, the delivery of the convoy -- and the trip back. A grand yarn, of action and people, the lure of high pay, the human cussedness that redeems itself under stress, the balance of results against costs, the growing respect for the British and hatred of the enemy, and the knowledge of a job to be done. Adds to -- rather than supplants -- the Carse book. Swell job.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1943
Publisher: Vanguard