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.
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|Title of eBook: At All Costs|
|Release Date: 11-07-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||At All Costs|
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At All Costs
MALTA, SUMMER OF 1942
In the summer of 1942, scores of thousands of men, women, and children were starving and living in caves and tunnels on Malta, a block of limestone the size of Cape Cod rising out of the Mediterranean like a little white pebble kicked by the toe of the boot of Italy.
The island had been under siege for two years. Malta was the most heavily bombed place on Earth, with more bombs falling in April and May than during the entire summer and fall of the Battle of Britain. German and Italian planes flew from airfields on Sicily, just sixty miles north of Malta. If Italy was the boot kicking Malta, Sicily hung over the island like the massive other shoe, ready to drop.
"Malta is not only as bright a gem as shines in the King's Crown, but its effective action against the enemy communications with Libya and Egypt is essential to the whole strategic position in the Middle East," Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the House of Commons. It was an understatement for him. Sometimes stubborn but never alone on the issue, Churchill believed that Malta must survive for the war to be won. He might have echoed Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, who wrote, "Malta, my dear sir, is in my thoughts sleeping and waking," to the Russian prime minister in 1799.
"It was evident that Malta, laying as it does in the very center of the Mediterranean, and flanking the Italian lifeline between Italy and North Africa, was not only of the greatest importance, but was, in fact, the vital key point which must be held at all costs," said Governor-General William