A true story ofmen and women pitted against the sea during World War IIand an unforgettable portrait of thedetermination of the human spirit.
On May 19, 1942, a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey fifty miles from New Orleans. Captained by twenty nine-year-old Iron Cross and King's Cross recipient Erich Wu¨rdemann, the submarine set its sights on the freighter Heredia with sixty-two souls on board.
Most aboard were merchant seamen, but there were also a handful of civilians, including the Downs family: Ray and Ina, and their two children, eight-year-old Sonny and eleven-year-old Lucille. Fast asleep in their berths, the Downs family had no idea that two torpedoes were heading their way. When the ship exploded, chaos ensuedand each family member had to find their own path to survival.
Including original, unpublished material from Commander Wu¨rdemann’s war diary, the story provides balance and perspective by chronicling the daring mission of the U-boatand its commander’s decision-makingin the Gulf of Mexico.
An inspiring historical narrative, So Close to Home tells the story of the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of this deadly attack off the American coast.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
MichaelTougias is the author and co-author of twenty-three non-fiction books,including several true survival-at-sea adventures, such asRescue of the Bounty, Fatal Forecast, Overboard!,A Storm Too Soon,andThe Finest Hours(soon to bea major motion picture by Disney). His bookTen Hours Until Dawnwas selected as one of the American Library Association's "Best Books of the Year."
AlisonO’Learyis a former reporter for the TheBoston Globe, a magazine editor, and a freelancewriter. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across thecountry.
Table of Contents
1 A Tired Old Workhorse 3
2 Ina and the South American Venture 7
3 Admiral Dönitz and his Grey Wolves 18
4 Harro Schacht and U-507 28
5 The Grey Wolves and the Mississippi 40
6 Moving Ever Closer 47
7 Denied a Safe Port 58
8 An Uneasy Feeling 67
Part II 75
9 Torpedoes in the Night 77
10 The Raft 83
11 A Most Hopeless Night 89
12 Dawn 96
13 Desperation 101
14 Running Out of Time 107
15 The Shrimp Boat and a Surprise 116
16 Ina 119
17 Lucille 128
Part III 139
18 Triumphant Return to Lorient 141
19 Morgan City and the Hospital 152
20 The Laconia: A Sinking and a Rescue 165
21 Spies, Duty, and the Turning of the Battle Tide 177
22 Passages So Far from Home 189
23 Sonny 200
Authors' Notes 219
About Author Michael J. Tougias 229
Summary of Michael J. Tougias's Latest Books 231
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An exciting account of a family caught in the crosshairs of war. Returning from Central America in the early days of World War II, the Downs family's ship is torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico. They are separated and lost at sea, not knowing if their loved ones are still alive or if they will even be rescued. A harrowing true story of grit and determination to overcome a frightening disaster while the world is locked in a bitter battle of blood and death. Michael Tougias and Alison O'Leary have crafted a wonderful book about a family's struggle for survival during the worst conflict in world history. Both thrilling and poignant, "So Close to Home" hits home with power and emotion during a very dark chapter of America's past. It is a rescue story on par with "The Fibest Hours," which was co-authored by Tougias. Loved it!