Readers who appreciate a gripping survival tale will be spellbound by this fast-paced, action-packed account of a real-life disaster involving two tankers wrecked in a ferocious North Atlantic storm and the crews’ hair-raising, valiant rescue by the Coast Guard.
On Feb. 18, 1952, a savage nor’easter slammed 70-foot waves into the oil tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer off the coast of Cape Cod, and both split in half, leaving their crews to the mercy of the raging storm. Only the Fort Mercer was able to send a distress call. The Coast Guard sent ships to aid the men, including three small crews in lifeboats. During the rescue of the Fort Mercer, the wreck of the Pendleton was discovered. The Coast Guardsmen valiantly rushed to save the men on four floating hulks, the stern and bow sections of each of the tankers. Using the tools of the novelist, the authors provide a vivid, moment-by-moment retelling, jumping from the Pendleton to the Fort Mercer to the Coast Guard in quick succession, drawing on the accounts of survivors and witnesses. Unfortunately, this quick pace sometimes makes it difficult to keep track of the characters as the narrative bounces back and forth between the two rescue efforts.
A thrilling, harrowing account of disaster and heroism. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-14)