At All Costs
How A Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Mariners Turned the Tide of World War II
In this gripping, page-turning account, Sam Moses has told a story in the tradition of Sebastian Junger'sA Perfect Storm,Robert Kurson'sShadow Divers,and Hampton Sides'sGhost 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, theSS 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, theOhiosuffered 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 sinkingOhiowas 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 sie≥ and leaders who understood the cause of freedom. Kirkus(starred review) A historical footnote provides a riveting tale of true American grit during World War II. In 1942, the island of Malta was the primary launching point in the Mediterranean for Allied aircraft and submarine attacks against Axis supply convoys. At the height of the North African campaign, Rommel's tanks prepared to sweep into Egypt, Iran and Iraq. The only thing they lacked was the fuel to get there, and the shortage was equally desperate on Malta. The Allies launched Operation Pedestal, a last-ditch effort to re-supply the base by sending a convoy from Britain through the Gibraltar Strait to the beleaguered island. The convoy, which included the American tankerOhioand the U.S. freighterSanta Elisa, was anything but a milk run. Vietnam vet Moses (Fast Guys, Rich Guys and Idiots, not reviewed) crafts a thrilling adventure on the high seas, though it takes a while to get started. The book's first third juxtaposes Malta's plight against the stories of two American merchant seamen on theSanta Elisa: Lonnie Dales and Fred Larsen, through whose eyes the battle will be viewed in bluecollar detail. Once Operation Pedestal begins, the narrative is all action. The convoy comes under repeated attack, lives are lost, theSanta Elisais sunk. Dales and Larsen find themselves aboard the woundedOhio, full to the brim with Texas crude. If they can hold off Nazi attacks and keep their new ship afloat long enough to reach Malta, the operation will be a success. Moses takes readers directly into the heat of battle, demonstrating a strong command of historical detail. Highly recommended for fans of naval adventure.(Agent: Peter Riva/InternationalTransactions, Inc.) "At All Costsis an extraordinary work of research and an exciting rea
New York : Random House, c2006.
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xiii, 335 p.,  p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm.