The Finest Hours

  • by Michael J. Tougias, Casey Sherman
  • Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner
  • 5 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor’easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril, setting the stage for one of the most heroic rescue stories ever lived.
On February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, were in the same horrifying predicament. Built with “dirty steel,” and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic’s mercy. The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships.
The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in a terrifying battle for survival.
Not all of the 84 men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it’s a miracle - and a testament to their bravery - that any at all came home to tell their tales.


What the Critics Say

The Finest Hours recounts the incredible heroism of the Coast Guard, who risked their lives to save others. A gripping read.” (James Bradley, New York Times best-selling author) 
“Look no further for the real-life adventure of the year. The Finest Hours is a rousing page-turner, a fascinating history, and an inspiring ode to the courage and professionalism of men who face bitter winds and black mountainous seas…all to do a dangerous job. Put it on the shelf next to The Perfect Storm. That’s where it belongs!” (William Martin, New York Times best-selling author)
“Tougias and Sherman never sensationalize, never go beyond the facts, and yet capture all the pain, physical and emotional, of the survivors and their families.” (Providence Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Two Times Terrific!

First of all, this is a really superior, good-old adventure yarn. A stirring tale of real life rescue at sea by skillful and selfless heroes. I think that any of us who haven't really ever contemplated the nature of Coast Guard work will never again cast these brave people into secondary military rolls! I appreciated also the follow-up information about attempts (and, alarmingly, failures) to improve ships and equipment to insure that such storms at sea result in less danger and fewer deaths.

Secondly, this book has recently been made into a movie. It's great fun to see how the screen writers took this true tale of two (and more) rescues and fashioned it into a cohesive two-hour adventure. We may be sorry that so many events and people were left out and that much was ultimately fictionalized. However, it shows how movie writers approach a complicated, multi-hero story and still produce an exciting film. (The movie, by the way, is rather old fashioned but darned exciting as well!)

I enjoyed the book - and the information it filled in about the movie I had just seen - very much and applaud a very good narrator.
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- C. Telfair


Outstanding story. It was very captivating. I listen on the way to work and hated to stop. The performance was also fantastic.
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- Robin Bird

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-03-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.