Desperate Hours: The Epic Rescue of the Andrea Doria [NOOK Book]

Overview

On a summer's night in 1956, in a fog off Nantucket, the world-renowned ocean liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish liner Stockholm. Eleven hours later, the gorgeous ship that employed the finest maritime technology of her day, and was hailed as "a floating art gallery," tragically sank. But in that brief time the Doria became, after the Titanic, the most storied vessel of the century, as nearly 1,700 people were saved in an unforgettable rescue punctuated by countless acts of heroism, amid confusion, ...
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Desperate Hours: The Epic Rescue of the Andrea Doria

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Overview

On a summer's night in 1956, in a fog off Nantucket, the world-renowned ocean liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish liner Stockholm. Eleven hours later, the gorgeous ship that employed the finest maritime technology of her day, and was hailed as "a floating art gallery," tragically sank. But in that brief time the Doria became, after the Titanic, the most storied vessel of the century, as nearly 1,700 people were saved in an unforgettable rescue punctuated by countless acts of heroism, amid confusion, terror, and even cowardice.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In July 1956, the world-famous Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria, which boasted the most advanced naval technology at that time, collided with the Swedish liner Stockholm and sank. Unlike the Titanic tragedy 44 years earlier, almost 1,700 people were saved. How was this amazing mass rescue accomplished? And who was to blame for the collision?
Library Journal
On July 25, 1956, the modern Swedish liner Stockholm collided with the equally modern Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria. The sea was foggy but calm, and both vessels had radar and experienced bridge crews. Eleven hours later, the Doria was lying on the bottom of the Atlantic, having lost 46 of its 1700 passengers; five lives were lost on the Stockholm. An editor and writer for the New York Times and author of Mine Eyes Have Seen, Goldstein focuses on the stories of the people, with just enough attention to the technical issues and the various legal battles to round out the account. Following the story from ship to ship, deck to deck, he clearly dissects the rescue of the passengers and crew. As often in large disasters, some committed acts of heroism, some cowardice; others just muddled through. The causes of the accident have never been fully adjudicated. The collision may have been the result of a concatenation of minor mistakes in judgment, but, as Goldstein demonstrates, the rescue was the result of a number of organizations, ships, and people who cooperated smoothly under extreme pressure. Recommended for most public libraries. Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The leading disaster story of 1956 was the collision during a foggy Long Island summer night of the Italian liner Andrea Doria with the Swedish liner Stockholm. Here, journalist Goldstein (Mine Eyes Have Seen, 1997) offers the definitive history of the Doria's sinking and the rescue of 1,700 people. Despite the modest death toll (46), the Doria's story bears striking resemblance to the Titanic's. Both were luxury liners built to the most advanced technology, sailing too fast in a dangerous area with poor visibility. In both, it was clear soon after the collision that the ship would sink. Both evacuations, however, were chaotic. Despite many heroic exceptions, too many crewmembers panicked, crowding into the first lifeboats. Unlike the Titanic, the Doria carried enough boats, but half were unavailable. At any angle above 15 degrees, boats on the high side couldn't be launched, and the Doria's list quickly reached 18 degrees. Because boats on the low side had to be dropped into the sea before loading, passengers were forced to climb down rope ladders or jump into the water. If the Doria had sunk in the Titanic's two-and-a-half hours instead of eleven, the death toll would have been catastrophic. After the rescue came the usual recriminations, investigations, and lawsuits. Each side gave conflicting versions of the collision, so no blame could be assigned. Even today the Andrea Doria continues to exact a toll. Resting at 250 feet, the limit for a skilled diver, it receives a steady stream of visitors. They explore, extract souvenirs, and sometimes die, at the rate of nearly one per year. Goldstein has interviewed a mass of participants and experts. The result: a detailed andauthoritative history ranging from the background of the liners and the technical details of ship construction and transatlantic navigation to a gripping account of the collision, rescue, and aftermath.
From the Publisher
* "A compelling and definitive account... Desperate Hours reveals why the allure of the Doria continues to attract and fascinate even now, almost 50 years later." (The Boating Channel,www.boatingchannel.com)

On July 25th, 1956, the modern Swedish liner Stockholm collided with the equally modern Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria. The sea was foggy but calm, and both vessels had radar and experienced bridge crews. Eleven hours later, the Doria was lying on the bottom of the Atlantic, having lost 46 of its 1700 passengers; five lives were lost on the Stockholm. An editor and writer for The New York Times and author of Mine Eyes Have Seen, Goldstein focuses on the stories of the people, with just enough attention to the technical issues and the various legal battles to round out the account. Following the story from ship to ship, deck to deck, he clearlly dissects the rescue of the passengers and crew. As often in large disasters, some committed acts of heroism, some cowardice; others just muddled through. The causes of the accident have never been fully adjudicated. The collision may have been the result of a concatenation of minor mistakes in judgment, but, as Goldstein demonstrates, the rescue was the result of a number of organizations, ships, and people who cooperated smoothly under extreme pressure. Recommended for most public libraries. (Library Journal, October 15, 2001)

The leading disaster story of 1956 was the collision during a foggy Long Island summer night of the Italian liner Andrea Doria with the Swedish liner Stockholm. Here, journalist Goldstein (Mine Eyes Have Seen, 1997) offers the definitive history of the Doria's sinking and the rescue of 1,700 people. Despite the modest death toll (46), the Doria's story bears striking resemblance to the Titanic's. Both were luxury liners built to the most advanced technology, sailing too fast in a dangerous area with poor visibility. In both, it was clear soon after the collision that the ship would sink. Both evacuations, however, were chaotic. Despite many heroic exceptions, too many crewmembers panicked, crowding into the first lifeboats. Unlike the Titanic, the Doria carried enough boats, but half were unavailable. At any angle above 15 degrees, boats on the high side couldn't be launched, and the Doria's list quickly reached 18 degrees. Because boats on the low side had to be dropped into the sea before loading, passengers were forced to climb down rope ladders or jump into the water. If the Doria had sunk in the Titanic's two-and-a-half hours instead of eleven, the death toll would have been catastrophic. After the rescue came the usual recriminations, investigations, and lawsuits. Each side gave conflicting versions of the collision, so no blame could be assigned. Even today the Andrea Doria continues to exact a toll. Resting at 250 feet, the limit for a skilled diver, it receives a steady stream of visitors. They explore, extract souvenirs, and sometimes die, at the rate of nearly one per year.
Goldstein has interviewed a mass of participants and experts. The result: a detailed and authoritative history ranging from the background of the liners and the technical details of ship construction and transatlantic navigation to a gripping account of the collision, rescue, and aftermath. (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001)

"...provides an interesting insight into how people react when faced with a catastrophe at sea..." (Lloyd's List, 11 January 2002)

"..perfectly readable and..engaging (The Mail on Sunday, 3 February 2002)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471216940
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/12/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 614,030
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

RICHARD GOLDSTEIN is an editor and writer for the New York Times, where he has worked since 1980. He is the author of America at D-Day and Mine Eyes Have Seen: A First-Person History of the Events That Shaped America, which was an alternate selection of the Literary Guild.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Part I The Voyage
1 "Brace Yourself" 5
2 "A Floating Art Gallery" 8
3 "Take the Doria, You'll Never Forget It" 16
4 "A Picture of Scandinavian Efficiency" 25
5 "The Times Square of the Atlantic" 29
6 "Each Shall Alter Her Course to Starboard" 35
Part II The Collision
7 "Why Doesn't He Whistle?" 47
8 "I Think We Hit an Iceberg" 52
9 "Don't Worry, There's Nothing Wrong" 62
10 "Need Immediate Assistance" 74
Part III The Rescue
11 "This Is No Drill" 87
12 "How Many Lifeboats?" 94
13 "We Are Bending Too Much" 102
14 "Let's Pray to St. Ann" 107
15 "We Won't Leave You" 120
16 "Lady, You're Lucky to Be Alive" 125
17 "Light Up Everything, Quickly" 131
18 "You Have to Have Courage" 140
19 "Get Your Cameras" 147
20 "Bulletin ... Bulletin ... Bulletin" 154
21 "You May Go, I'm Staying" 162
22 "Seaworthiness Nil" 167
23 "That Thing's Going Down in Five Minutes" 174
24 "It Is Incomprehensible" 179
25 "How Good God Is to Me" 184
26 "Oh, What a Climax" 189
27 "It's My Baby" 195
28 "I Lost My Love for Italians" 200
29 "This Is a Jumbled Story" 212
Part IV The Questions
30 "The Passengers Were Highly Excitable" 219
31 "It Could Have Been a Patch of Fog" 224
32 "The Stability of the Ship Was Low" 236
33 "I Could Have Changed Course" 240
Part V The Memories
34 "Why Did I Get Spared?" 251
35 "The Poor Man Was Destroyed" 264
Part VI The Shipwreck
36 "It's Got the Mystique" 273
Appendix 281
Sources 283
Index 287
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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
She was the most glorious ocean liner of her era, and like the Titanic before her, she was declared unsinkable barring the most unforeseen calamity. But on the fog-shrouded night of July 25, 1956, the Andrea Doria -- a symbol of Italy's revival from the ravages of World War II -- collided with the Swedish liner Stockholm 45 miles south of Nantucket Island, then listed severely with a massive gash in her starboard side and plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Half the Doria's lifeboats were rendered useless by the tipping of the decks, but in the 11 hours that this magnificent liner remained afloat, 1,660 passengers and crewmen were saved in history's greatest peacetime rescue at sea. Forty-six Doria passengers and five Stockholm crewmen died on a night that spawned numerous acts of heroism but saw no small measure of cowardice.

I have long been fascinated by glimpses of how ordinary people will act when thrust into the most extraordinary of events. In my book America at D-Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, I spoke with the boys of the Depression -- the citizen soldiers -- who braved the murderous fire of Omaha Beach, climbed the cliff at Pointe du Hoc, and parachuted behind German lines while silhouetted by a full June moon. In writing Desperate Hours, I have revisited a night when luxury reigned at one moment and chaos erupted in the next. How did the passengers and crew of the Andrea Doria behave under the most unimaginable stress? I relate stories of great selflessness -- the Doria waiter Giovanni Rovelli spending five hours trying to dig two women from the rubble that trapped them, expecting the Doria to turn over at any moment. But I tell of the deeds born of fear -- passengers trying to kick those descending before them off of ropes in order to hasten their own escape, one man fleeing in a lifeboat and averting his eyes from a Doria deck where his wife and child were stranded.

I am also intrigued by the folly men show in the face of technological leaps. The Doria and the Stockholm were each equipped with radar. And yet, perhaps rendered complacent by the mechanical wizardry that could cut through fog, their officers steered their ships toward each other as if destined to converge. I have tried to convey a lesson that speaks to the world of today -- the most modern technology guarantees nothing without respect for its limits and the use of sound judgment.

The Andrea Doria is known today as the Mount Everest of the deep, an alluring yet exceedingly dangerous shipwreck imperiling all who visit her in a quest for adventure -- or perhaps a bag of her fine china. The skill and experience of some who venture to the Doria have failed to measure up to the wondrous diving equipment. Twelve men have died descending to the wreck. And so the Doria continues to claim victims more than 40 summers after she departed from the venerable harbor at Genoa for the last time. (Richard Goldstein)

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