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At All Costs

How a Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Mariners Turned the Tide of World War II

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Description

In this gripping, page-turning account, Sam Moses has told a story in the tradition of Sebastian Junger’s A Perfect Storm, Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, and Hampton Sides’s Ghost Soldiers. It’s a story about the heroism of two men in battle at sea during World War II, and one woman fleeing Nazi Norway with her child. It’s about how courage can change the course of history.

AT ALL COSTS: How a Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Marines Turned the Tide of World War II is the astonishing untold account, with original historical reporting, of how two men faced unfathomable danger to help save the island of Malta, Churchill’s crux of the war.

In 1942, the tiny island of Malta was the most heavily bombed place on earth. Hitler needed Malta as a stepping-stone to get to the oil in Iraq and Iran (Persia at the time). Blockaded by sea, Malta was running on empty, in food, fuel and ammunition. Axis U-boats and dive-bombers made supply convoys to Malta more like suicide missions. In this last-hope convoy, 50 warships escorted 13 freighters carrying aviation fuel, and a single critical tanker, the SS Ohio, with 107,000 barrels of oil from Texas. Winston Churchill had traveled to Washington and asked FDR for the tanker–his prime ministership was at stake over this mission to Malta.

Relentlessly dive-bombed and repeatedly torpedoed, the Ohio suffered huge hits and was abandoned. Two young American merchant mariners– pulled from the sea after their own ship went down in flames–boarded the ravaged tanker, repaired her guns and fought off German and Italian dive-bombers, as the sinking Ohio was towed at 4 knots toward Malta with a tiny crew of volunteers.

Sam Moses’ AT ALL COSTS is a triumphant story of human bravery: fearless, selfless acts by men determined to save a ship and win a war; profound communal courage from an island under brutal siege; and leaders who understood the cause of freedom.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 06, 2006 – With verve and empathy, author and former Navy Seaman Moses gives WWII's Operation Pedestal, "the most heavily defended and heavily attacked naval convoy in history," its first book-length treatment since Peter Smith's 1970 volume Pedestal, drawing on more than two years of his own research and 40-plus hours of new interviews with veterans of the mission. By mid-1942, the vital island base at Malta was under siege by Axis forces and almost exhausted of resources, leaving its inhabitants to starve in hiding. The British response was Operation Pedestal: almost 50 warships escorting 14 merchantmen on a do-or-die resupply mission beneath skies ruled by Hitler's Luftwaffe and through a gantlet of torpedo boats, submarines and minefields. Key to the operation was the SS Ohio, a tanker carrying over 12,000 tons of fuel oil, diesel, and kerosene. The Ohio was paralyzed after taking seven direct bomb and torpedo hits, and her dead weight kept breaking towlines. Under order, her crew abandoned ship, but two American sailors, their own ship sunk, volunteered to man the Ohio's guns and give the Royal Navy another chance to bring the Ohio in under tow. Merchant Mariners Francis Dales and Frederick Larsen kept the dive-bombers off balance as other volunteers fought to keep the tanker afloat and the tows intact. "The wording was to bring the Ohio in at all costs," Larson said later, and the remarkable heroism that won the day, as well as Moses' thorough retelling, makes this an exciting, imperative read for anyone interested in WWII.
At All Costs
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Nov 07, 2006
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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