Start reading The Finest Hours on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

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 (145 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $3.01 (20%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
This price was set by the publisher

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $4.99 when you buy the Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Kindle Edition, May 19, 2009 $11.99  
Hardcover $13.53  
Paperback $11.38  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $17.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
MP3 CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $22.23  
Featured Wartime Books
Browse books on the leaders, battles, and key moments of World War II. Learn more

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 School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up—This "young readers" adaptation of The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue (Scribner, 2009) tells the story of the 1952 rescue of 70 men (and the deaths of 14 more) aboard two oil tankers that were heavily damaged 20 miles apart during a fierce winter storm off Cape Cod. At times it reads as a character-driven narrative, with short, biographical sketches of many of the men; at other times, it speeds up with the pulse-pounding pace of a thriller. The authors ably capture the drama of the situation: seas at times reaching well over 50 feet, the "shudder and earsplitting crash" of a ship tossed on the waves, the pain screaming through the body of a man waiting to scramble out of the frigid water. On occasion, readers may get lost in some of the geographical details or names of crewmen that do not have a starring role. There are several pages of resources in the back matter, and a handful of them are available online. An inset containing 20 photographs is included. This poignant history should be an easy sell to readers of adventure, seafaring, or rescue stories. A Disney film is in development.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA

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

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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,013 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 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 .
Was this review helpful to you?
23 of 23 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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
32 of 34 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.
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 11 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!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 14 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!!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Hours July 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Indeed, Michael Tougas and Casey Sherman have captured the finest hours of the US Coast Guard in this famous multi ship and life boat rescue during a winter nor'easter off Cape Cod. Two huge tankers, the Pendleton and Fort Mercer, both hastilly made during WWII, broke in half in huge 70 ft waves off Chatham sparking one of the most dramatic sea rescues ever recorded. I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. I have personal knowledge of that terrible night. My late father covered the story for the Boston Globe. He had been in the US Coast Guard in WWII was given good access at the Chatham USCG station that night in 1952. His pictures of the Pendleton fromth next day are in my possesion. For my own part, I enlisted in the US Coast Guard reserve in 1956 and received training on that 36 footer at the USCG Training Center, Cape May NJ, along with detailed instruction on the events of that night and the heroism of BM1 Bernie Webber and his crew. You gotta read it to believe the heroism.
John Landers, Jr
Milton, MA
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the movie
Great book, highly recommended. If your from MA and have been to Cape Cod, it makes it even more interesting
Published 40 minutes ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the book so much that I gave one to ...
I liked the book so much that I gave one to my brother and one each to two of my grandsons.
An awesome story and a well written book!
Published 3 days ago by James Q Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone should read.
Well written book about an incident that happened off my home town. The Coastguards men who went out that night are true heroes. Tougias wrote it like it was.
Published 7 days ago by Bookworm Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved reading this story and being aware of the area ...
I'm originally from Cape Cod and my Dad had been chosen as an extra for the movie that is coming out in 2016. I had to know what this story was all about. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Deanne Spuhl
5.0 out of 5 stars "An Awesome Historic Rescue At Sea"
On February 18, 1952 at the Chatham Lifeboat Station on Massachusetts' Cape Cod, Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernie Webber is watching a growing storm intensify as a midwinter... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Nancy of Utah
4.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Hours - an interesting account of an act of courage and...
The description of both action and emotion is both captivating and informative. Those interested in history - especially of seacoast New England - will be more than satisfied with... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Bob and Judy Dobson
5.0 out of 5 stars He loved it and could not put it down
Gift for my father (ex-CG, Newburyport, MA station). He loved it and could not put it down. Mom says it is the quickest he's ever read a book!
Published 18 days ago by Kenneth Crooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cape Cod read!
OUTSTANDING read! Like you are there with them. This book is especially good if you've ever spent any time on Cape Cod...or if you're lucky enough to live there!
Published 23 days ago by Rory Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
👍
Published 25 days ago by Melissa Norwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good account of this true story. I plan on visiting the boat in Cape Cod next summer.
Published 1 month ago by 7373momma
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

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
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category