Why I Read It: Michael is an acquaintance, and a good guy. I read everything he publishes.
Summary: A family leaving Central America in the early days of World War II meets with disaster at sea.
My Thoughts: We've moved on from World War II in many ways, but, there's one thing I've always found odd about the way that we have treated its history. The average, knee-jerk reaction to the notion that German U-boats were off our coasts is unequivocally negative. There's no way they were here, I've been told time and again.
Perhaps it was the wartime press blackouts, the fact that newspapers and magazines and radio stations stayed away from publishing such news, at the urging of the federal government. But they were there, and there are hundreds of American families who can claim lost loved ones off our very own coasts thanks to U-boat attacks.
Tougias and O'Leary detail the pathways of the U-boats lurking in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 1942 with exact precision, recapturing the horrors of the true terror attacks of World War II. Survivors tell of explosions, abandoning ship, and strange encounters with U-boat captains who say they are sorry, but this is war, before delivering cigarettes and even baked goods to survivors in life rafts.
This story focuses on one family and their struggle to remain alive and together after the freighter on which they are heading home is torpedoed. It captures the darkness of the spring of 1942, when the U-boats controlled the seas, taking out ships at will, racking up tonnage at an alarming rate. The Germans celebrated their U-boat heroes; the Americans lived in abject fear of them.
Yes, the U-boat threat was real off the American coast in World War II. Let Tougias and O'Leary prove to you how real it was.