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Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do Paperback – May 30, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Before The Perfect Storm, there was the 1978 blizzard that lashed the Massachusetts coast with blinding snow, 90-mile-per-hour winds and 40-foot waves. Into the juggernaut sailed the small boat Can Do and its crew of five civilians on a doomed mission to assist two other vessels imperiled by the storm. As in The Perfect Storm, all hands were lost; but since the Can Do sank only a few agonizing miles from shore, there are records of terse radio transmissions to help the author recreate their last desperate hours. Journalist Tougias (The Blizzard of '78) fills out his absorbing account with lots of search-and-rescue procedural details, recollections from others who endured the monstrous seas of that hellish night and 300 years' worth of maritime disaster sagas. At times, the book feels padded with lengthy, adulatory back stories about the Can Do crew and needless speculations (i.e., "Kenny Fuller likely thought of his wife, knowing that if he died it would be especially hard on her"). And the story's outcome-the Can Do never got anywhere near the boats it went to help, both of which survived the storm-raises questions about the wisdom of the heroic ethos it celebrates. Still, Tougias delivers a well-researched, vividly written tale of brave men overwhelmed by the awesome forces of nature. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Arguably the best story of peril at sea since Sebastian Junger's Perfect Storm (1997), this superb narrative deals with the blizzard of 1978, which hammered New England with hurricane-force winds and torrents of snow. When the tanker Global Hope ran aground off Salem, Massachusetts, and Coast Guard rescuers quickly got in trouble, pilot-boat skipper and ex-Seabee Frank Quirk took his converted yacht Can Do into the teeth of the gale to rescue even the rescuers. Then the weather took down Can Do's radio and power, and she eventually went on the rocks and was lost with all hands. Tougias has researched exhaustively and written what amounts to a collective biography of Quirk and his right good crew, including their families and the suffering they endured after husbands and fathers died. His balancing of human and technical detail is nearly perfect, and he has made the book accessible even to relative newcomers to maritime literature. Serious maritime buffs may well feel like firing 21-gun salutes, and all readers may sincerely hope that Tougias will produce further such superb chronicles of those "who go down to the sea in ships and have their business in great waters." Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Can Do was a steel-hulled Pilot boat out of Gloucester, that home-port of so many brave and lost seamen, and was named as an expression of attitude of the owner, Frank Quirk who with four mates, volunteers to "take a look" to see if he could help men stranded on a tanker in Salem bay.
Conditions were so bad that Coast Guard boats and even cutters were soon in great peril themselves. The tanker was aground, hard set on a ledge and going nowhere - the captain had cried "wolf" in his incompetence and five families lost their men while many of them actually listened to the gradually dying radio transmission from the battered boat.
Well written, interspersed with snippets from Gloucester history, a worthy read.
If you like to get to know the men who qualify as true heroes, read this book. If you would like to get to know their loved ones who understood the passion these men had for the sea and those who sail its waters, read this book. Ten Hours Until Dawn is a tribute to the men who found themselves in the grip of a lethal storm at sea and displayed the extraordinary courage, faith and trust in each other to stay the course as a team to save others.
Thank you, Michale J. Tougias for pursuing and writing the story of the men of the "Can Do"