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Posted March 21, 2010
When ordinary men do the extraordinary
What could have been one of World War II's epic disasters, Operation Pedestal, the do-or-die convoy to relieve embattled Malta, turns out to be one of the great untold stories of the war because a small handful of men just would not quit.
Now, decades later, thanks to Sam Moses' deft, matter of fact style, the ordinary Merchant Mariners who got the desperately needed cargo through "at all costs" finally get their due. Many know at least in general terms the story of the siege of Malta and the awful privations its inhabitants endured, but with this book, the men who risked all to bring in the desperately needed fuel, food, weapons and other supplies finally have their side of the story told.
What is the most engaging about the story of the tanker S.S. Ohio and the two main characters, Merchant Mariners Fred Larsen and Lonnie Dales, is how ordinary they are by American standards of the time. The Ohio just happens to be the biggest tanker in the world at that particular moment (who else but the Americans would build something that big and that fast?) when Winston Churchill personally requested she be loaned to Great Britain in a desperate gamble to save Malta. When Larsen and Dales, both wounded and their own ships in the convoy sunk, climb aboard the battered Ohio, it is with no thought other than to get to Malta because that was the job at hand - never mind repeated air and submarine attacks for days on end.
This is the kind of true war story that will have you turning the pages right until the final one, and then leave you shaking your head in amazement. An excellent read.
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Posted November 5, 2006
I enjoy reading books regarding World War Two.I have been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for over fifty years and grew up during that time frame.Sam Moses does a wonderful job describing events in that time frame! I plan to recommend this book to the book club that I belong to.
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