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Until the Sea Shall Free Them: Life, Death, and Survival in the Merchant Marine (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – March 16, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Beneath the surface of Frump's overblown, melodramatic writing style lies the intriguing story of Robert Cusick, one of only three crew members to survive the sinking of the Marine Electric, a coal ship that ran aground in the waters off Norfolk, Va., in 1983. Cusick knew that the vessel, a converted WWII rust bucket, was riddled with problems that had not been addressed by its owner. The book chronicles not only its foundering, but also Cusick's fight to expose the system that fostered such an avoidable tragedy, as Frump revisits the story for which he won two national reporting awards when he broke it for the Philadelphia Inquirer. While the account does boast a wealth of facts and details, it is undone by Frump's purple prose. In a typical passage, he writes, "And then, when Kelly could go no higher, as he tried to climb another rail that wasn't there, climb toward the sky away from it all, the sea was upon him. He bellowed into the storm with all his might.... A plaintive, savage, primordial cry, a desperate hollering for help, the sort of sound a zebra might make as the lions bring it down." Frump also employs a staccato, ersatz Hemingway tempo that quickly grows old: "The flames did not care. The steel did not care. Most particularly, the ocean did not care." While Cusick's struggle is noble, it is overshadowed and rendered ineffective by such histrionics.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"This book belongs on the same shelf that is the home to "All the President's Men."
Steve Weinberg is senior contributing editor to The IRE Journal and former executive director of IRE.
US Coast Guard 2011 Commandant's Reading List. Until the Sea
Shall Free Them recounts in compelling detail the wreck of the Marine Electric
and the legal drama that unfolded in its wake--a lawsuit that led to vital reforms
in the laws regarding the safety of ships. (VADM Brice-O'Hara's choice).
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The main rescue part of the story was small, there were a lot of rabbit trails so to speak and sometimes it was difficult to follow the timeline as the author expounded on a different point. It was interesting and worthwhile.
However, it had FAR TOO MANY CURSE WORDS. I wish there was a way to block those out.
This was a most enlightening book about a subject of which I knew almost nothing. So glad I read it!