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Ten Hours until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Heroism & Tragedy

    With stories of tragedy more than heroism being written about the sea and other maritime voyages, the story of the Frank Quirk and his crewman's sacrifice in a moment which fear would captivate others is compelling without a doubt. With dangerous winds and impossible seas, any man could have stayed at the harbor and kept safe but chose to put their life on the line to help a fellow mariner. The history behind the heroic acts and the tragic outcome is very well documented. Frank Quirk, the captain of the Can Do, volunteers himself to help an oil tanker that is on the brink of being destroyed after the coast guard attempts to help but gets put in just as terrifying of a position as the oil tanker it was attempting to rescue. The actions and consequences eventually lead to an incredible ending.All that being said this book was very hard to read due to the dryness of the story telling, ruining of the plot and the fact that Tougias, the author, rabbit trails off into deep historical moments for only brief seconds in an attempt to add more contextual evidence but only distracts the reader. The dryness of the story telling happens more often than the exciting and more imagery laced parts of the story. Much time is spent describing things and people that do not need to be described and makes it hard to focus on the main story. The plot is immediately ruined at the beginning of the book and the on the front cover. It says "the true story of heroism and tragedy aboard the Can Do". A great majority of the general populous can infer what happens to Frank Quirk and his crew. Those who do miss the not so subtle hint at the outcome will enjoy the book much more being that the ending is a twist in that sense. Tougais also provides an immense amount of information and condenses it so one can read the book in a reasonable amount of time but much of the information provided through-out the book is sporadic and quite unnecessary. It distracts from the story and become interest destroyers. It is far better to leave some information out than kill the reader's interest using a mass amount of information. On the flip side or starboard side; (you know you enjoy the sailing joke) the story has many moments of wonderment and amazement. The story of the heroics is very compelling and because the story isn't dressed up to look better and comes at a purely informational side of journalism, the story really hits home. This is also a very easy reader to those who have never sailed or know much about the nomenclature of sailing. It makes it effortless for those who are interested in the story itself and don't want to spend a solid amount of time looking up terms and equipment.
    This in all reality is a book for other mariners and aspiring mariners to remember and learn about Frank Quirk and his heroism. The general populous will struggle to maintain interest and eventually lose interest in the book because the story will seem so bland due to the descriptions. Never the less, the tragedy of the Can Do must be remembered from generation to generation to inspire the young to do what is right instead of what is safe. If you enjoyed Ten Hours Until Dawn, you'll probably enjoy Michael J. Tougias' other works such as Fatal Forecast and The Finest Hours which will satisfy your maritime fascination. These stories are just as compelling as the story of the Can Do but The Finest Hours is authored by Tougias and Casey Sherman which makes the book a

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