The Finest Hours, What a Story!

imageThe Finest Hours is a good book. I have spent some time flipping back and looking over what I have already read, most especially the passages where I’m on the edge of my seat.

Bernard Webber, Richard Livesey, Andy Fitzgerald and Ervin Maska are heralded as heroes in the greatest rescue by a small boat in Coast Guard history.

After reading this book I understand they didn’t view themselves as heroes but just did the job they signed up for. There are many other Coast Guard sailors and officers mentioned, their stories being equally interesting, but the focus is on the Pendleton and Fort Mercer.

Mother nature seems to thumb her nose as rescue attempts are met with giant sweeping waves and frigid walls of water dousing the Coast Guard crew as well as the trapped seaman. I am looking forward to the movie but I had to read the actual accounting of this tremendous and heroic rescue first.

A life at sea certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a fascinating thing for me ( that being very weird as I’m afraid of fish and drowning) but men and women who choose a life at sea still holds a fascination for me.
When the seas are calm it must be quite beautiful to behold glassy calm waters, the endless horizon and the solitude. However, the ocean is quite unpredictable and a storm or squall can come up on you without very much warning. There’s no room for mistakes out on the open waters. If you run out of supplies there are no stores. if you screw up you could land up in the water with no hope of rescue.

Now add a mother of a winter storm with snow , sleet and low visibility. Those are the conditions the CG36500 went out in to rescue the crew of the Pendleton. The Finest Hours is more than a story about a single rescue. There is so much information in The Finest Hours, not only about the Pendleton and Fort Mercer ships, but references to other sea rescues and disasters. If you like reading about daring sea rescues or need a pointer to other stories, read this book. You will not be disappointed. The bibliography is fantastic and a great source for more books in this category.


I’m a big supporter of the military and reading how the Coast Guard risks their lives in service of our country, I am so impressed. Also enjoyable was the back stories of Webber and his crew as well as updates about their lives after they retired from the Coast Guard.

Well done, Mr. Tougias and Mr. Sherman.




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