The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue
by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman
Henry Holt, 2014. 153 pgs. Nonfiction
During the night of February 18, 1952, two tanker ships were torn in half off the coast of Cape Cod in one of the worst storms New England had ever seen. As survivors clung to the wreckage, coast guard vessels were dispatched on what sometimes seemed like suicide missions. Bernie Webber and three other men managed to get over the Chatham Bar in their small Coast Guard lifeboat and into the open sea, though their windshield was shattered almost immediately. As the boat filled with horizontal sleet and bitter winds, Webber had to decide whether to press on or to save himself and his crew. They went on, and rescued 36 men from the stern of the Pendleton--thirty-six men in a thirty-six foot boot. But it would be everyone or no one, Bernie decided. The story of this rescue and others taking place simultaneously at the sinking Fort Mercer make The Finest Hours . . . as exciting and suspenseful a book as anyone could want. Choose this one for a young person who thinks he or she has a "boring" assignment to read a book about American history.