So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival during World War II

By Michael J. Tougias and Alison O’Leary
Read by Elijah Alexander

7.67 Hours 05/03/2016 unabridged
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A true story of men and women pitted against the sea during World War II―and an unforgettable portrait of the determination of the human spirit. On May 19, 1942, a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey fifty miles away from New Orleans. Captained by twenty-nine-year-old Iron Cross recipient Erich Würdemann, the submarine set its sights on the freighter Heredia with fifty-nine souls on board. Most of the crew were merchant seamen, but there were also a handful of civilians, including the Downs family, consisting of the parents, Ray Sr. and Ina, along with their two children, eight-year-old Ray Jr., nicknamed “Sonny,” and eleven-year-old Lucille. Fast asleep in their berths, the Downs family had no notice that two torpedoes were heading their way. When the ship exploded, Ina and Lucille became separated from Ray Sr. and Sonny. 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.

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Summary

Summary

A true story of men and women pitted against the sea during World War II―and an unforgettable portrait of the determination of the human spirit.

On May 19, 1942, a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey fifty miles away from New Orleans. Captained by twenty-nine-year-old Iron Cross recipient Erich Würdemann, the submarine set its sights on the freighter Heredia with fifty-nine souls on board. Most of the crew were merchant seamen, but there were also a handful of civilians, including the Downs family, consisting of the parents, Ray Sr. and Ina, along with their two children, eight-year-old Ray Jr., nicknamed “Sonny,” and eleven-year-old Lucille. Fast asleep in their berths, the Downs family had no notice that two torpedoes were heading their way. When the ship exploded, Ina and Lucille became separated from Ray Sr. and Sonny.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Through their meticulous research, Tougias and O’Leary take you where few historians dare, into the dark sea where an American family is floundering to stay alive, and onto the steel-planked deck of the German U-boat that put them there. This is priceless history―two hundred pages of ‘you-are-there.’” Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author
“They don’t come any better than Michael J. Tougias. His latest, So Close to Home, is a truly gripping, deeply affecting saga of undersea warfare and an extraordinary American family caught in the crosshairs of history.” Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author
“Tougias, a writer who specializes in survival stories, and journalist O’Leary impressively render the grim early period of US involvement in WWII, when U-boats wreaked havoc in American waters…Readers will enjoy learning about a half-forgotten incident from the early months of WWII.” Publishers Weekly
“Gives a solid perspective of the hardships endured by ordinary people.” Library Journal

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Michael J. Tougias

Michael J. Tougias is the author and coauthor of twenty-three books, including Rescue of the Bounty, A Storm too Soon, Fatal Forecast, and Ten Hours Until Dawn. Tougias has written for the New York Times and several other prestigious magazines and newspapers. He is a sought-after lecturer who gives more than seventy presentations each year. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Author Bio: Alison O’Leary

Alison O’Leary is a former reporter for the Boston Globe, a magazine editor, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in publications across the country.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 7.67
Audience: Adult
Language: English