Synopses & Reviews
This is the sordid chronicle of the U-boat war against merchant shipping along the American eastern seaboard in World War Two. Between January 14, 1942 and May 5, 1945, the Nazi war machine sank 120 vessels and caused the deaths of more than 2,400 men, women, and children, in an area from Maine to Florida that was designated as the Eastern Sea Frontier. For more than three years, German U-boats torpedoed ships, shelled survivors, and laid mines in harbor approaches. Today, the valiant tribulations of the men of the merchant marine are largely forgotten. Yet these unsung heroes suffered a greater percentage of fatalities than any of the armed services except for the Marine corps. The present volume vividly captures the dramatic saga of a time when passengers and crew were cast adrift at sea: some to suffer the privations of cold or heat, thirst and hunger; others to die from exposure or dehydration; and some whose fates were never ascertained. These trenchant stories of survival are ripe with endurance, heroism, and uncommon valor. Tales of bitter agony are told through the actual testimony of the people who lived to sail another sea, to deliver another cargo, to fight another day, in their unflagging effort to halt the progress of German aggression. Against all odds, the tankers and freighters that comprised the lifeblood of ocean-going commerce proceeded knowingly into a battle that was not theirs to fight - but a battle that they fought nevertheless. Also told is the demise of a dozen U-boats that failed to complete their missions of destruction.