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The Forgotten Heroes: The Heroic Story of the United States Merchant Marine Hardcover – May 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0765307064 ISBN-10: 0765307065 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765307065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765307064
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This somewhat jumbled but eloquent plea for recognition of the U.S. Merchant Marine veterans of World War II is by the son of the creator of the science fiction classic Dune, who was one of those veterans. The core of the book narrates the merchant sailor's perils and achievements during the war, as derived partly from anecdotes, many of which will be familiar to seasoned maritime readers, and partly from the wartime experiences of one Dean Beaumont and his liberty ship. Herbert then proceeds to state the case of his heroes by recording the neglect and discrimination merchant mariners suffered and offering suggestions for just restitution even at this late date. He skips from incident to incident and from theme to theme and doesn't always portray the larger strategic picture within which the merchant marine operated as assuredly as he does the merchant mariner in peril at sea and destitute on land. Still, he convincingly renders the merchant marine's wartime service as a triumph of production, persistence, and heroism. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A tightly written chronicle of courage and terror. . . . There is no way you can read this book without becoming involved in it. It demands respect. And it isn't every day you can read a book that makes you simultaneoulsy proud and angry."--Oregon Statesman Journal

"It isn't every day you can read a book that makes you simultaneoulsy proud and angry." (Oregon Statesman Journal) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

He read the entire book on Christmas day, couldn't put it down.
mollie larson
Unfortunately it is obvious that that "connection," as far stretched as it is, is not enough.
Amazon Customer
I would "highly" recommend this book to anyone interested in our Nation's History.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on April 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How did all of those troops get to Normandy on D-Day? Who brought all of their supplies over for that momentous day? Some of the soldiers and their supplies were brought over by military transports, but much, much more made its way across the Atlantic in Liberty Ships: merchant vessels that navigated the treacherous wartime waters in ships that would later be called "Kaiser Coffins" (because of how often they were sunk by enemy attacks...and how easy they WERE to sink.)

And who were the men that grabbed the helms of these tin-cans, risking life and limb time and again? They were (are) known as The Merchant Marines. Never officially inducted into the military, many men in The Merchant Marine failed the basic physical exams given by the Armed Services. Their only hope to help fight and win the war was The Merchant Marines. And they streamed in by the thousands, volunteering to help bring needed supplies over to Europe, Australia, the Pacific Theater, and places beyond.

It wasn't just WW II in which we find the heroic deeds of The Merchant Mariner either. Oh no. When George Washington and his army were fighting the Brits, who helped transport his legions of men? Yep. The Merchant Marine. From the U.S.'s founding fathers, to the Persian Gulf War, The Merchant Marine has been there, hauling our sons, daughters, and their needed supplies across deadly seas. And they've died in numbers larger than any of those in the Armed Services.

So one would think that The Merchant Marine deserved a little recognition, maybe a GI Bill style package to help out those returning from wartime service, right? Especially if they were wounded during the course of the war, right? Wrong. Since The Merchant Mariner is not an "official" member of the Armed Forces, they get none of that.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ROBERT E. TASSINARI on June 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As I read the book I am disappointed with the minimal mention of the men of the USN who, after a delay in the early months of 1942,sailed on the merchant ships as Navy gunners and communications personnel as members of the USN Armed Guard. On most Liberty ships there were about 28 members of the USN. I served on four Liberty ships and had a very high admiration for the MM as shipmates in periods of tedium as well as in enemy action. The inability of the civilian sailors to get the post-war benefits enjoyed by their Navy crew members was unfortunate but they did not sail alone. The book is enjoyable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wilson Stone on August 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brian Herbert's motivation for writing this book is fine. The U S Government treated the merchant marine (which suffered a higher death rate than any military branch) shamefully during and after WW II. Second only to the way it treated the women pilots who were kicked out without even bus fare home. For that reason alone, I hope a lot of people read this book.

But Herbert makes the argument over and over again - seemingly on every second or third page - until you get really sick of reading it. Also the book is an example of awful editing. With typos on nearly every page, the publisher should be ashamed for serving the author so poorly.

And one final complaint: Any author who presumes to write about the sea should know better than to use the phrase "knots per hour." A knot is a measure of nautical miles per hour. To say, "ten knots per hour," is to say, "ten nautical miles per hour per hour." Anyone who uses the term "knots per hour" is immediately and justifiably presumed to know absolutely nothing about the sea.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I admire Brian Herbert's attempt to fill a void in military history. I'm a cadet at one of the Maritime Academies in the U.S. training for my license as a 3rd Assistant Engineer, and no one knows better then I that the history of the U.S. Merchant Marine (USMM) is grossly overlooked. However He could of been well served by having a historian co-write his book. I normally have trouble putting down a history, but this one I struggled through. The chapters and stories are poorly organized. For example, less then half the the chapter on the Russian Gauntlet was actually about the Murmansk Run. He could of used to embellish or give extra detail to the individual narrative he writes, most are only a paragraph long and give the reader nothing more then a taste of what happened. No doubt there were many acts of uncommon bravery on the merchant ships plowing through the North Atlantic and Pacific; however, simply saying does little to validate that. He tells of how a merchant seaman rescued sailors from another ship, sunk by a German U-Boat or Japanese I-Boat, but doesn't tell what the man did to save the desperate sailors or give more information other then the rescue happened. Another time he tells about was a merchant ship ramming a French sub. He mentions essentially no more then that, he doesn't tell how or why the sub was rammed (was there fog, did the sub suddenly surface in front of the ship...), he simply mentions it happened and moves on. Additionally he tells the same story multiple times throughout the book. I constantly found it frustrating that he would begin telling about an incident and then direct the reader to a future or previous chapter where the actual narrative is contained.Read more ›
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More About the Author

Brian Herbert is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers. He has won several literary honors including the New York Times Notable Book Award, and has been nominated for the highest awards in science fiction. In 2003, he published DREAMER OF DUNE, a moving biography of his father Frank Herbert that was a Hugo Award finalist. His acclaimed novels include SIDNEY'S COMET; SUDANNA, SUDANNA; THE RACE FOR GOD; TIMEWEB; THE STOLEN GOSPELS; and MAN OF TWO WORLDS (written with Frank Herbert), in addition to the HELLHOLE Trilogy and DUNE-series novels co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson. Brian published OCEAN, an epic fantasy novel about environmental issues (co-authored with his wife, Jan). Brian's highly original SF novel, THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA released in 2014. See his website: for book touring information.

Ocean (with Jan Herbert)
The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma
Sidney's Comet
The Garbage Chronicles
Sudanna, Sudanna
Man of Two Worlds (with Frank Herbert)
Prisoners of Arionn
The Race For God
Memorymakers (with Marie Landis)
Blood on the Sun (with Marie Landis)
Stormworld (novella, with Bruce Taylor)

The Web and the Stars

The Stolen Gospels
The Lost Apostles

THE DUNE SERIES (with Kevin J. Anderson)
Dune: House Atreides
Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Corrino
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
Dune: The Machine Crusade
Dune: The Battle of Corrin
The Road To Dune
Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune
Paul of Dune
The Winds of Dune
Sisterhood of Dune
Mentats of Dune
Navigators of Dune (forthcoming)

THE HELLHOLE SERIES (with Kevin J. Anderson)
Hellhole Awakening
Hellhole Inferno

Dreamer of Dune (biography of Frank Herbert)
The Forgotten Heroes (story of the U.S. Merchant Marine)

Classic Comebacks
Incredible Insurance Claims