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The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue [Kindle Edition]

Michael J. Tougias , Casey Sherman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.73
You Save: $5.27 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

The true story of an incredible disaster and heroic rescue at sea told by two masterful storytellers

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.

The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.

Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle -- and a testament to their bravery -- that any came home to tell their tales at all.

Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a 1952 nor’easter, the distress of two ships off Cape Cod initiated a dramatic Coast Guard operation recounted here by coauthors Tougias and Sherman. Both vessels were World War II surplus, cheaply built, unwisely kept in service, and broken in two by the storm. All four halves floated, for the moment, and the authors’ narrative accordingly tracks four separate search-and-rescue efforts that form the complete story. The most prominent, in the press at the time and in official honors conferred afterward, concerned one motorized lifeboat, a puny 36 feet long and manned by four men, dispatched to do battle with the maelstrom’s towering waves. This is the seascape of The Perfect Storm, and the authors do justice to the peril in a tight account of the action. Plotting the course of CG36500, the utilitarian name of the lifeboat captained by Bernie Webber (interviewed for this book), Tougias and Sherman reach their peak of tension in the sink-or-swim moments when mariners abandoned ship and chanced their lives on their rescuers’ skill and bravery. An excellent entry in the disaster-at-sea genre. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

"In February of 1952, eighty-four men were in danger of drowning off the coast of Cape Cod when a ferocious Nor'easter split their ships in two. The Finest Hours recounts the incredible heroism of the Coast Guard, who risked their lives to save others. A gripping read." -- James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys

Product Details

  • File Size: 1388 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1455129232
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 Reprint edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028S3WIY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,327 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Hours May 29, 2009
By Shelly
Format:Hardcover
I started reading this book, and a day and half later I finished it. I couldn't put this book down and it's an incredible story. I'm not usually into stories like this, but it was tastefully done, quick, to the point and the story was not exaggerated. It gives us a look into what our Service men and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard (if I forgot anyone I apologize), really go through on a daily basis in protecting everyone in this country and how dangerous it can be at times. I highly recommend reading it. You won't be disappointed.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story May 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover
As the person responsible for the restoration and preservation of the MLB CG36500 , the story told by Mike and Casey is outstanding . Excellent research and interviews have been used to produce the story . Being responsible for this historic vessel that was involved in the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history and having spent time with all four crewmen , I can assure the readers that this is an accurate and well told account of the 32 seamen rescued from the Pendleton .
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Tale of Sacrifice and Heroism June 8, 2009
Format:Hardcover
This book is REMARKABLE! The story - a true story- moves right along and unfolds as it happened and without hyperbole. Off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952 a killer winter storm with hurricane-force winds and massive seas break not one, but two tired World War II vintage tankers in two. The stranded crews on the sinking derelicts desperately hope for rescue in these miserable conditions. Coast Guard men responded without hesitation and put their own lives in extreme peril. The characters do not consider themselves "heroes" - they are simply doing their duty; you get to know them because of what they have done - and what they have done and their courage is incredible. You CANNOT put this book down. Many non-fiction authors just tell the story leaving one to wonder about what happened to the "characters" after the epic has passed. This is not the case here. In the Epilogue and Acknowledgments sections - it's great to find out what happens to these people that you've come to know in the pages of this book. The research was clearly extensive. Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman working together have produced a tour-de-force - a work much greater than the sum of its parts.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ! Difficult to put down! June 9, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Do yourself a favor and BUY THIS BOOK! This is a captivating, quick moving and extremely well written true story that focuses on a horrible storm creating a situation in the Atlantic Ocean requiring the service of the US Coast Guard! I couldn't put this book down, it was simply fantastic. This book flows nicely as the writers capture with amazing description, the horrible circumstances of these men at sea as they waited to be rescued (and sadly, some were not). Once the story is told, you even get a glimpse in to the lives of the men in the years that followed. It is a poignant story of a courageous rescue and a sad disaster and serves as yet another reminder of how fortunate we are to be protected by the likes of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and, in this case, the US Coast Guard. This book will remind you again of those who serve our country and how brave they are. I am not familiar with the writings of Mr. Tougias except for this book, however, I have read Sherman's other books and you should too! Thanks for the great read gentlemen!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...Incredible story! June 7, 2009
By C Quirk
Format:Hardcover
I can not believe the incredible conditions that these brave coastguard men saved lives in! I couldn't put the book down! So interesting to not only read of the brave rescue but the feelings that followed! I highly recommend this book to everyone!!! I am blown away!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read June 7, 2009
Format:Hardcover
This book was one of the greatest well read books that i have read. I am in the Army and we and the the other services get all the credit for protecting this great country. This book proves and proves over and over again that the Coast Guard needs more credit. It shows some of the bravest men, out there so others may live. They get the jobs done and dont get any credit. Casey allows you to see what these great men do. Great Read!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finest hours!! June 1, 2009
Format:Hardcover
What a well written and superb story of heroism at sea. This was a fast paced book that I will recommend to everyone for their summer reading lists a definite winner!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Hours July 28, 2009
By Beth
Format:Hardcover
I just spent the weekend on my boat on Cape Cod and this book happened to be on my husband's book shelf. I picked it up because I had nothing to do and I couldn't put it down. Both author's do a wonderful job of telling an authentic story of brotherhood and heroism. I feel like I know Bernie Webber and some of the other men in the story and I have a much deeper appreciation of the Coast Guard. This is a must read this summer. I can't wait to see the restored boat in Orleans!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tale of the sea.
A great tale of the sea. I had never heard of this incident and thoroughly enjoyed the book. The authors did a superb job of taking the reader right into the action. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Dave H
3.0 out of 5 stars True life but not compelling
This book is not badly written it just failed to pique my interest. Part of the story is tragic and part kind of "meh. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, well-researched work
My dad, Fred Brown, was a survivor of the SS Pendleton. I was anxious to read this book to compare it to the stories my dad repeatedly told over the years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. Tucci
4.0 out of 5 stars A VERY GOOD BOOK, I ENJOYED IT. MANY PARTS ARE VERY GRIPPING!
I liked this book very much. Some parts are sad and touching. It is amazing what some of the men went through, putting their lives in great danger to save others. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe from Jersey
4.0 out of 5 stars Great storytelling...ordinary people, extraordinary courage
this is why I read history. well told, interesting subject, highlights the goodness of ordinary people and the tragedy of greed....
Published 2 months ago by not to be named
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart warming good reading
Great book hope every one gets to read this,True stores and very heart warming,
You get to see what these men have to do to help the people and to stay safe ,
Published 2 months ago by phyllis russelljohn1234
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Author takes one of the most dramatic rescue operations I have ever read about and simply makes it dull. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Samdog
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting!
An exciting story of the heroism of the Coast Guard and a nearly impossible rescue. Makes you feel proud of those who serve! A real edge-of-the-seater.
Published 2 months ago by Aunt Granny
5.0 out of 5 stars After reading this book
you will have a better understand of just how dangerous being involved with the sea is. You will also understand just how the Men (and now Women) of the Coast Guard do their work... Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. McConnell
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
Good real life tale
Interesting history of the lifeboats
True courage and determination
Small boats with a big mission for the coast guard
Published 3 months ago by Sandra K J Dixon
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Topic From this Discussion
If a Coast Guardsman saves a live can they be a hero?
While I understand your point, is it not heroic to accept a job that requires you to put your life on the line each and every day. Those who choose to live by the CG motto of "you have to go out, but you don't have to come back" have made this decision so that others can do their jobs... Read more
Jun 4, 2009 by P. Burns |  See all 4 posts
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