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Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 12, 2009

48 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 0312363729 Edition: First Edition

Price: $1.65
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–An informative history starting with the Coast Guard's beginnings in the 18th century, written in straightforward prose. The emphasis is on the fifth armed service's record during the 20th and 21st centuries, especially its unparalleled effectiveness and heroism during Hurricane Katrina. Readers will discover the avenues into its officer corps through its academy in Connecticut (a no-cost education). Helvarg notes particularly how the Coast Guard stresses command opportunities for its junior officers earlier than the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines for their second lieutenants and ensigns. He provides insights into enlisted careers open to young people. The marked differences in primary missions among the five services are accented–the other services underscore combat and the Coast Guard highlights mainly rescue and law enforcement. The author writes: In addition to saving lives, the Coast Guard conducts port and waterfront security patrols, directs port traffic, responds to water pollution and oil spills, seizes illegal drugs and migrants at sea…licenses mariners, maintains and repairs…aids to navigation…, and so on. This is an excellent title for students interested in the Coast Guard, especially as a possible career choice.–Alan Gropman, National Defense University, Washington, DC END


Advance Praise for Rescue Warriors:

“David Helvarg’s terrific new book takes you to the cutting edge of adventure as he rides along with the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard.  This in-depth and lively look at the history and changing missions of America’s ‘Rescue Warriors,’ should be considered a must-read for anyone who loves the water or cares about the safety, security and stewardship of our nation from sea to shining sea.”

--Robert Kennedy Jr.

“They say that ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ is the ultimate oxymoron. But as this vivid book makes powerfully clear, in the case of the Coast Guard it’s the simple truth. Stow this volume next to the chart case.”

--Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

Praise for David Helvarg’s Blue Frontier

“A vivid tapestry of an America interwoven with the sea." --San Jose Mercury News
“[Helvarg] takes us on the ultimate wave, cresting and carrying us at breakneck speed. It’s a fast, watery ride, and you’re going to get wet before it’s over.” --Los Angeles Times, Best Books of 2001
“Helvarg writes with humor, compassion, concern, and a keen eye for fascinating detail. Pick up Blue Frontier and you won’t be able to put it down.”


--Paul R. Ehrlich, author of Science of Ecology and The End of Affluence


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363729
  • ASIN: B003H4RE1E
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,052,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Helvarg is President of the Blue Frontier Campaign ( and the author of six books, Blue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors, Saved by the Sea and The Golden Shore. He's editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide, organizer of 'Blue Vision' Summits for ocean activists and the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, the world's top marine conservation prize. He's winner of Coastal Living Magazine's 2005 Leadership Award and the 2007 Herman Melville literary Award. Helvarg worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covered a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Sierra and Parade. He's done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He's led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. He is a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By DC Book Angel on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After you read this book you know that the Coast Guard mission is incredibly complex, that the Coasties lives are on the line on a daily basis, that their organizational structure means on-the-fly good decisions and leadership on the ground, and that Helvarg has done his best to capture the great adventures, the deep training, and the long history in an entertaining and captivating way.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're into reality shows but would rather read - check out this page turner! It's full of real life drama on the sea. You'll gain respect for the heroes of the Coast Guard and how they get the job done with limited resources. It will make you call your Congressman to boost their budget. David Helvard is an awesome investigative journalist and he's a quick study when he gets a brief inside look at an organization. I love how David weaves the story from the eyes of the Coast Guardsmen on the front lines. Order it today!! And I'm a Navy man! CAPT Phil Renaud, USN (ret)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Passacantando on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rescue Warriors is David Helvarg's greatest work to date. His training as private eye, war correspondent and environmental activist comes through in his works along with his always superb conversational voice. I've followed his work since first reading his investigative breakthrough, "The War Against the Greens," 1994, an expose of the corporate-funded anti-public lands advocates who wanted free access to mine and graze public lands.

Helvarg then wrote the single best read on the threats to our oceans, Blue Frontier: Dispatches from America's Ocean Wilderness." From that he launched his own environmental organization, the Blue Frontier Campaign, a large coalition of ocean protection groups, [...].

With Rescue Warriors Helvarg leans on his war reporting skills (having documented some of the Reagan era atrocities in Central America) and his proclivity for people who have the chutzpah to live on the edge, but who are saving people, not killing them. Like so many of my favorite books that tell a broader history through one window: shad; salt; tea; slavery; commerce; Helvarg tells the story of America through the Coast Guard.

From its founding in the 1700s to warn mariners about dangers and to collect taxes from ships importing goods, the Coast Guard moves through key moments in American history like Forrest Gump, the fight against the importation of slaves, fights against pirates, the Civil War and every other major war up and through the War on Terror. Rescue Warriors is a story I didn't know. The Coast Guard claims to have saved more than a million people, even Jerry Falwell didn't claim that many. It was the only government agency that functioned during Hurricane Katrina.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Todd Wilkinson on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I express a bias up front. I have a brother who was a Coast Guard careerist. And, as a journalist, I've known David Helvarg for many years and much admire him, not only for his fearless reporting but his love of water and willingness to defend the great oceans--the inspiring, moody, and dangerous terrain where the United States Coast Guard does its job. It's one of our most underalded branches of the military and yet one of the most consistently heroic. Helvarg captures the drama of the men and women who work by ship, helo and speed boat to rescue people and to keep the country safe. This is a book that will hold up well over time and, as always, is wonderfully written with Helvarg's classic mix of telling a great story and doing it with style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Will on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is praise-worthy, and not just because it contained the least errors of any article, book, or media report I have ever seen or read about the Coast Guard. Sure, there are a few little misnomers here and there, but I have never seen a civilian author get so many details right. Cleary, the author did his homework and went the extra mile in terms of accuracy and research.

Explaining any branch of the military, especially the Coast Guard, to someone who is unfamiliar with it in an interesting, comprehensive, and accurate way is a challenge. While not all-encompassing, this book provides is an informative all-around look at the USCG's past and present. It also contains several chapters detailing units and events story's which I have never seen published anywhere before but deserve to be told. One example is detailed accounts of various Coastguardsmens' responses to Hurricane Katrina. Another is the story of the Coast Guard's only combat death in the Iraq War.

This comprehensive and interesting book shines deserved light on America's least-known and appreciated branch of the military.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dakota Jones on March 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For more reader reviews check out the folks here [....]

I personally love all things Coast Guard. I am a future Coastie and this book gave me an honest full picture of what it is exactly that Coasties do.

As I read, I learned more and more about operations and the different ratings. There is a good mix of primary sources and secondary sources. I love the history that was included and have since memorized it with the help of this book.

The interviews with both enlisted and officers are very revealing and honest. I especially enjoyed the interviews given by the former Commandant, Thad Allen.

One of my favorite chapters was on the various paths of entry into the service. The author talks about The Academy in Connecticut, Officer Candidate school, and enlistment. As I am hoping to go the Academy path, I found it very informative and even funny at some points.

If you have ever wondered what the Coast Guard does or are thinking about serving, this book paints a very real and honest picture of the life you can expect and the legacy of the Coast Guard. I recommend it to everyone enthusiastically. I believe that if you choose not to server your country through the military you should at leaser understand what they do for you.

As the smallest of the 5 services (40,000 service men and women) it is amazing what they do for the country.

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -George Orwell

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