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Bloodstained Sea Paperback – April 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cutter Publishing (April 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578012901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578012902
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"An exquisitely researched, thoroughly absorbing history of the Coast Guard's role in the greatest sea battle ever fought."—Stephen Coonts, bestselling author of the Jake Grafton series

"Bloodstained Sea is one of the most riveting accounts of naval combat history I've seen, and a valuable reference for any military and naval enthusiast."—Vince Patton, Master Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

In November 1941, America was not yet officially at war. Nevertheless, under orders from President Roosevelt, sailors of the U.S. Coast Guard painted their gleaming white cutters battleship gray and steamed into action against the menacing U-boats of the Third Reich. Bloodstained Sea recounts how, over the next four years, these men—normally dedicated to saving lives and rescuing ships in distress—would be locked in one of the longest and bloodiest running sea battles in history.

Americans called it Torpedo Junction; to the Germans, it was Devil's Gorge. By any name, the North Atlantic of the early 1940s was one of the most dangerous fronts in a catastrophic war. Called upon in desperate times, seven of the Coast Guard's finest ships—the sleek, efficient, tough 327-foot Secretary Class cutters—plied these unforgiving waters to protect convoys of troops and much-needed supplies.

Hunting U-boats, rescuing survivors from frigid waters, they met every challenge and undertook any task necessary to ensure that the Atlantic remained open to Allied shipping. Here, for the first time ever, author and former Coast Guard officer Michael Walling relates the full saga of these vessels and their intrepid crews.

Through eyewitness accounts based on hundreds of interviews with crew members; personal diaries, notes, and letters; and each cutter's logbooks and patrol reports, Walling plunges you into the thick of battle, re-creating some of the most desperate encounters, heroic rescues, and harrowing missions of the Second World War.

Told largely in the voices of the men who lived it, this unforgettable tale is peppered with anecdotes about life aboard ship during wartime. You'll meet the liberty-craving crew members who painted their entire ship in less than an hour; the ship's mascot who became canine-non-grata in Greenland; and the crew whose vessel was mistaken for the German battleship Bismarck and attacked by the Royal Navy.

Complete with dramatic photographs of the Coast Guard in action, Bloodstained Sea brings this epic drama life.

Michael G. Walling served as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years. He has spent more than forty years collecting stories from hundreds of World War II veterans.

The heroes you've never heard of. . . .

They were trained for and dedicated to saving lives and preventing disasters at sea, but they were needed for war. And between 1941 and 1944, the officers and crews of the U.S. Coast Guard undertook one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks any group of sailors has ever had to face—escorting convoys of merchant ships filled with desperately needed supplies from the United States to Europe, across a U-boat-infested Atlantic.

"Michael Walling has done a real service for the forgotten U.S. Coast Guardsmen who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic."—Dr. Dennis L. Noble, author of Lifeboat Sailors: Disasters, Rescues, and the Perilous Future of the Coast Guard's Small Boat Stations and The Rescue of the Gale Runner: Death, Heroism, and the U.S. Coast Guard

"Michael Walling plies new waters in this World War II saga, snatching our venerable Coast Guard's history from the depths of obscurity and preserving the exploits of these brave men for future generations."—David Morris, author of Storm on the Horizon: Khafji—The Battle that Changed the Course of the Gulf War

"Bloodstained Sea is a compelling tale of courage and heroism told with all the fury and terror experienced by those Coast Guard veterans who lived it. Michael Walling's story of valor and sacrifice is one that Americans must never forget."—Robert F. Cross, author of Sailor in the White House: The Seafaring Life of FDR

"Walling brings the bloody Battle of the Atlantic alive in this action-filled vivid portrait of the U.S. Coast Guard's Secretary-class cutters during World War II. A five-star book!"—Dr. Martin Davis, author of Traditions and Tales of the Navy; executive director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"An exquisitely researched, thoroughly absorbing history of the Coast Guard's role in the greatest sea battle ever fought."Stephen Coonts, bestselling author of the Jake Grafton series

"Bloodstained Sea is one of the most riveting accounts of naval combat history I've seen, and a valuable reference for any military and naval enthusiast."Vince Patton, Master Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

In November 1941, America was not yet officially at war. Nevertheless, under orders from President Roosevelt, sailors of the U.S. Coast Guard painted their gleaming white cutters battleship gray and steamed into action against the menacing U-boats of the Third Reich. Bloodstained Sea recounts how, over the next four years, these men—normally dedicated to saving lives and rescuing ships in distress—would be locked in one of the longest and bloodiest running sea battles in history.

Americans called it Torpedo Junction; to the Germans, it was Devil's Gorge. By any name, the North Atlantic of the early 1940s was one of the most dangerous fronts in a catastrophic war. Called upon in desperate times, seven of the Coast Guard's finest ships—the sleek, efficient, tough 327-foot Secretary Class cutters—plied these unforgiving waters to protect convoys of troops and much-needed supplies.

Hunting U-boats, rescuing survivors from frigid waters, they met every challenge and undertook any task necessary to ensure that the Atlantic remained open to Allied shipping. Here, for the first time ever, author and former Coast Guard officer Michael Walling relates the full saga of these vessels and their intrepid crews.

Through eyewitness accounts based on hundreds of interviews with crew members; personal diaries, notes, and letters; and each cutter's logbooks and patrol reports, Walling plunges you into the thick of battle, re-creating some of the most desperate encounters, heroic rescues, and harrowing missions of the Second World War.

Told largely in the voices of the men who lived it, this unforgettable tale is peppered with anecdotes about life aboard ship during wartime. You'll meet the liberty-craving crew members who painted their entire ship in less than an hour; the ship's mascot who became canine-non-grata in Greenland; and the crew whose vessel was mistaken for the German battleship Bismarck and attacked by the Royal Navy.

Complete with dramatic photographs of the Coast Guard in action, Bloodstained Sea brings this epic drama life.

Michael G. Walling served as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years. He has spent more than forty years collecting stories from hundreds of World War II veterans. Recently, the Naval Order of the United States honored him with the 2005 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature for Bloodstained Sea. He can be reached at www.mikewalling.com.

The heroes you've never heard of. . . .

They were trained for and dedicated to saving lives and preventing disasters at sea, but they were needed for war. And between 1941 and 1944, the officers and crews of the U.S. Coast Guard undertook one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks any group of sailors has ever had to face—escorting convoys of merchant ships filled with desperately needed supplies from the United States to Europe, across a U-boat-infested Atlantic.

"Michael Walling has done a real service for the forgotten U.S. Coast Guardsmen who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic."Dr. Dennis L. Noble, author of Lifeboat Sailors: Disasters, Rescues, and the Perilous Future of the Coast Guard's Small Boat Stations and The Rescue of the Gale Runner: Death, Heroism, and the U.S. Coast Guard

"Michael Walling plies new waters in this World War II saga, snatching our venerable Coast Guard's history from the depths of obscurity and preserving the exploits of these brave men for future generations."David Morris, author of Storm on the Horizon: Khafji—The Battle that Changed the Course of the Gulf War

"Bloodstained Sea is a compelling tale of courage and heroism told with all the fury and terror experienced by those Coast Guard veterans who lived it. Michael Walling's story of valor and sacrifice is one that Americans must never forget."Robert F. Cross, author of Sailor in the White House: The Seafaring Life of FDR

"Walling brings the bloody Battle of the Atlantic alive in this action-filled vivid portrait of the U.S. Coast Guard's Secretary-class cutters during World War II. A five-star book!"Dr. Martin Davis, author of Traditions and Tales of the Navy; executive director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

After graduating from Montclair State College with a BA in Biology, Mike served in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer. Most of his sea-going experience was in the North Atlantic and include 2 trips to the Arctic.

His assignments included buoy tending, search and rescue missions, drug and fisheries law enforcement, and oceanographic operations. As part of the Boarding Party and Prize Crew on two cutters he participated in the seizures of a Panamanian drug-runner and a Cuban fishing boat. His decorations include the U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal (Operational) for counter-drug operations, Arctic Service Medal, Sea Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, and USCG Cutterman's Insignia.

His current project is a book for Osprey Publishing: Forgotten Sacrifice, The Arctic Convoys in World War II. Forgotten Sacrifice captures for the first time the true essence of these convoys and serves it to the reader in a book seemingly made from crystalline Arctic Sea ice yet actually composed of Allied and Soviets survivors' memories and, sometimes, memories left behind by those who didn't survive.
It be in book stores on October 20, 2012, but is available now for pre-release purchase through amazon.com, Random House, and other outlets.

Mike's first book, Bloodstained Sea: The U.S. Coast Guard in the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-1944, was published by International Marine, a division of McGraw-Hill, and received critical acclaim by reviewers and veterans. The Naval Order of the United States honored him with its 2005 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. Bloodstained Sea is now available through Cutter Publishing (www.cutterpublishing.com).

Moving from naval to aviation history, In the Event of a Water Landing, tells for the first time the full stories of the Bermuda Sky Queen and Sovereign of the Skies rescues, the only two completely successful open ocean ditchings in Commercial Aviation history. These two stories encompass many facets of ditchings: bad weather, engine failure, horrific sea conditions, and indomitable courage in the face of death. Between these two are tales of other ditchings, as well as the journey we humans have undertaken from the beginning of transoceanic flight to today.

Mike's first novel Choke Points (Cutter Publishing, 2009) addresses the real threats to Maritime and Port Security. It's the first of a ten book Fletcher Saga series spanning 250 years.

On the lighter side, he published, in conjunction with Flat Hammock Press, a new edition of Sinbad of the Coast Guard, the adventurous, true story of the USCGC Campbell's mascot whose exploits during World War II became legend. Appropriately, Sinbad's story was told by a fellow member of the Coast Guard, Chief George F. Foley, Jr., while the fine pictures were drawn by the outstanding Coast Guard Reserve artist, George Gray.

In different venue, Mike has produced a new version of the old song I'd Like to Find the Guy Who Named the Coast Guard originally written and recorded by Paul Yacich and the Coast Guard Band in 1945. The music has been lost, but working with Alison Freemen, this wonderfully humorous tune has been given a new lease on life and updated with three verses reflecting today's Coast Guard global missions.

He is a contributing author to the US Naval Institute's Naval History Magazine as well as regularly posting articles on Authors Den (www.authorsden.com).
In 2005, Mike appeared on the History Channel series Man, Moment, Machine episode about Andrew J. Higgins, the designer and builder of the vital landing craft used in World War II, and, as a script consultant for the episode, reviewed the material for accuracy.

Mike has spent more than 50 years collecting stories from veterans from World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan as well as of civilian personnel with NATO and EUFOR in the Balkans. His research has included visits to London; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Baska Voda, Croatia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John's, Newfoundland; St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk, Russia; and New Orleans.

He may be contacted at michaelgwalling@gmail.com or through his webste www.mikewalling.com

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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As a WWII researcher and filmmaker, I am well familiar with the work required to create an accurate story.
Michael Fraticelli
The book is alive with incredible tales of survival of the brutalities of war and adverse weather as told to Walling by the men who lived to tell the tale.
Jim Gilliam
Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would say that it is an exciting, well researched, engaging tome covering the topic.
Eric Hobart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Merlo on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Bloodstained Sea is a book for three kinds of people: those who know (or think they know) about the Battle of the North Atlantic, those who don't, and those who were there. The readers in the first two categories (I fall into the first) are in for an eye-opening ride on rough seas. I thought I knew. I was mistaken. Those unfamiliar with this part of our history will find a fast-paced story of heroic actions that could be fiction. But it isn't. I do remember tar and oil on the beaches but I never knew how bloody it was. Now I do.

These men battled U-boat wolf packs hunting through the convoys. They also endured bone-chilling cold and mind-numbing fatigue and this went on day after day and week after week with little respite. Only the brave and the selfless can do this.

Mr. Walling has done a superb job of telling their story. Extensive research using original sources such as ships' logs, interviews with veterans of the action, and his Coast Guard experience add to the authenticity of this book.

For the third group, those who were there, Bloodstained Sea is a well-deserved, long-overdue tribute to their gallantry. While we can only marvel at such dedication to duty, they can read it and say, "Yes, that's how it was."

This is a five-star book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an exciting, entertaining and informative book. The story of the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II deserves to be remembered and Mr. Walling tells it in a historically accurate, but vivid and enthralling manner. Thoroughly documented and backed with extensive primary source research and interviews, "Bloodstained Sea" demonstrates that the WW2 veterans of the Coast Guard should be ranked high in America's pantheon of heroes. Everyone interested in military or maritime history should own this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Mayes on October 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When the courageous warriors of WWII are named, those of the Coast Guard who protected the vital life line convoys across the North Atlantic stand among the foremost, and this wonderful book gives them their long overdue tribute. Author Walling spent 17 years of exhaustive and productive research to interview those who fought both the Germans and mother nature in a no-holds-barred struggle of gigantic proportions, a contest in which the losers faced death in a number of horrible ways. The Coast Guard and its seven 327 foot Secretary Class cutters took on the toughest of sea and combat conditions alongside the navies of our allies against the toughest and most determined of Hitler's many weapons, the submarine. The author has given a very human face to the horrors these antagonists faced as oil tankers blew up, vessels broke apart in heavy seas, sometimes without the slightest warning, and brave young men risked their lives to rescue the mariners from flimsy boats and rafts while dodging enemy torpedoes. The grim realities of this kind of warfare, never glamorous, but absolutely essential in the grand scheme of the Allied effort to defeat a determined enemy, come alive though the stories of those who were there and survived. The ships themselves become central figures in this drama and their toughness and efficiency are matched only by that of their valiant crews as they face uncertainty and danger. Six appendixes provide excellent background on Coast Guard vessels and history to help the reader understand the infrastructure prior to and in support of the war effort. This book stands as the definitive work on what the Coast Guard achieved when called to serve and is an absolute "must read" for all those interested in the Battle of the Atlantic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hobart VINE VOICE on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every author that attempts to undertake a project to write a portion of the history of the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II has to pick a specific area to focus on - some focus on the U-Boats, some on the merchant ships, other on the tactics. Michael Walling has chosen to explore a different area than any others I've seen - the US Coast Guard involvement in the battle, with a particular focus on the Secretary Class of the Coast Guard Cutters.

The Secretary class boats were 327 foot long cutters that could run at high speeds and handle the terrible weather prevalent in the North Atlantic, thus making them ideal for escort & sub-hunting duty. Walling focuses on just a handful of ships in his tale, but does so quite nicely.

Naturally, when covering a topic such as an entire theatre of war, many other players partake in the story, and Walling most assuredly has not ignored any of the critical players, including the merchant vessels that the Cutters were escorting, the U-Boats that they were hunting, or (most importantly) the people that they were rescuing.

In my opinion, Walling spends perhaps a little too much time on the weather aspects of the battle, though this certainly made for fascinating reading, since many authors almost completely ignore this facet of this theater of war. Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would say that it is an exciting, well researched, engaging tome covering the topic. I would recommend this book, in conjunction with some others, to any reader looking for a comprehensive story - this is a nice piece, it needed to be told, and is a solid addition to the literature on the topic.
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