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Seagull One: The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue Hardcover – September 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A modern-day adventure of those who risked their lives to save others
"The true story of Brothers to the Rescue finally told in a compelling, riveting narrative that brings the reader inside the founding, growth, and tragic end of one of Florida's most important Cuban exile organizations."--Victor A. Triay, author of Fleeing Castro
"Finally we have the true story of Brothers to the Rescue, a group of dedicated volunteers who risked their lives in order to save that of others."--Eduardo Zayas-Bazán, author of ¡Arriba!and Bay of Pigs veteran
“Seagull One is the stirring account of an heroic group of pilots who risked their lives on a daily basis on behalf of the endless stream of Cuban rafters seeking freedom in the U.S. By turns heart-breaking, infuriating, and uplifting, Lily Prellezo’s debut is a wonderful testament to courage and compassion.”
--Les Sandiford, author of Last Train to Paradise
There was a time in Miami when it seemed impossible to go through a week without news coverage of the men, women and children escaping Cuba and being pulled off of makeshift rafts in the middle of the Florida Straits. One out of four did not survive the dangerous journey; the others barely hung on with little food and water. Most of the lucky ones were saved by a group of volunteers who called themselves Brothers to the Rescue (BTTR).
Seagull One is the never-before-told story of the men and women representing nineteen nationalities who came together to fly in rickety Cessnas over the Florida Straits to search for rafters fleeing Communist Cuba. It is a fascinating account of how José Basulto, a Cuban exile and Bay of Pigs veteran, founded BTTR with the humanitarian mission of saving the lives of the desperate souls willing to brave the ocean in pursuit of freedom. The group’s tactics were sometimes controversial, including protests against both the Cuban and U.S. governments, yet the organization managed to save over 4,200 people they would seldom, if ever, meet.
Seagull One also records the infiltration of two spies, one who was a double agent working for the FBI. Together these two volunteers collaborated with the Castro government in planning the shoot down over international waters of two unarmed Cessnas flying a humanitarian mission on February 24, 1996. The cold-blooded murder of four innocent men (three American citizens and one legal resident) led to significant changes in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Over one hundred people were interviewed for Seagull One. Their stories come to life in this nonfiction narrative that reads like a novel.
Top Customer Reviews
That being said, I believe that Seagull One has value to any reader at several levels. It is a meticulous historical recounting of yet another acrimonious passage in U.S.-Cuba relations. That makes for, perhaps, a fairly narrow spectrum of appeal. But the story transcends the particulars, for it is a heartwarming tale of selflessness, of individuals with no vested or proprietary interests in the welfare of the rafters trying to leave Cuba in makeshift watercraft, who gave freely their time, their talent, their airplanes, their money, and, three of them, their lives, for people who they did not know, and in most cases did not deem it necessary to know. And it is a work of beautiful writing. At the Writers Institute at Miami-Dade College, where I met Lily several years ago, she read the scene of the seagull circling the dying balsero (rafter). I was struck, we all were struck, by the lyricism of the passage, how she was able to take such a tragic event and turn it into art. She has maintained that lyricism throughout.
I believe the book will appeal, beyond the obvious audience of those that want to learn about the balseros, to those who would like, or need, to see a documented case of unselfish human behavior, and to those who think that history need not be recounted in journalistic or academic cant. Enjoy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Castro got away with killing these men as he continues to give 10 American presidents the fingerPublished 20 months ago by Ruben M. Garcia
Seagull one is a pretty accurate description of an emotional time when a group of good Samaritans put their lives at peril for others. Read morePublished on March 10, 2012 by G-Man
As one of the pilots who was interviewed (twice!) for the book, I am honored to have had this story told. Read morePublished on December 9, 2010 by Thomas
It is amazing that this story unfolded right in our "backyard", under our noses, one might say. It was covered in newspapers and in the nightly news, but reading about it in this... Read morePublished on November 1, 2010 by Marta B.
A must read for all. In a day and age when it seems no one does nothing for free here comes a story of a group of wonderful people who saved many lives and expected nothing in... Read morePublished on October 4, 2010 by Marlene
I am very familiar with the organization and the work they did. I enjoyed reading this book tremendously. Ms. Read morePublished on September 19, 2010 by Maria Gonzalez
Woke up early and started reading my new book, then took the kids to school and read all morning, what a great book. Read morePublished on September 15, 2010 by Ileana M