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The Finest Hours Audiobook

The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue

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.
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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.

©2009 Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (309 )
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4.3 (280 )
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Performance
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  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 01-31-16
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 01-31-16

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Bird Central Square, NY United States 07-23-12
    Robin Bird Central Square, NY United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great!"

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

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RedCoke5150 OKC 08-27-15
    RedCoke5150 OKC 08-27-15
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    "Mind Blowing Moxie!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Saw the movie trailer for the upcoming Disney adaptation of this story so I had to hear the story first. Not really sure if Walt's team will do this great story of true heroism any justice or not but very glad I listened.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story of the CG 36-500 and her crew is simply amazing. It is very hard to imagine the shear scale of the events as they unfolded and the courage to take them on without hesitation.


    Any additional comments?

    The bottom line is that I like history- especially WWII era. This book has real heroic history. Because it made me feel and made me think...I recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-29-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-29-13 Member Since 2016

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Spellbinding tale"

    The story takes place in 1952 New England with a raging winter storm with seas of 60 to 70 feet and 70 mile an hour wind in snow and freezing seas and temperature. Two tankers the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer broke in half off Chatham, Ma. and the Coast Guard at Chatham send out a 36 foot lifeboat with four seaman aboard. Those four men managed to save 36 men (from the Pendleton) in a boat design to hold 12 men. Another 36 foot boat set out from another station to rescue men on the other ship. Not all men on the ships were saved. It is apparent that Tougias did a great deal of research before writing the book. The book has nail-biting action, suspense and what is great he also summed up at the end what happened to the lives of the "Coasties" and the seaman from the tankers . The four "Coasties" from Chatham received the Coast Guard highest award the Gold life saving metal. The author also reviewed the law and shipbuilding regulations regarding the breaking in half these two tankers. This is the greatest rescue by small boats in Coast Guard history.
    Malcolm Hillgartner did a good job with narrating the book.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miranda 10-21-15
    Miranda 10-21-15
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    "Incredible"

    This story had me in a trance while listening to it. Amazing story, wonderfully read, and loaded with great information.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe 01-13-15
    Joe 01-13-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Outstanding, Factual story of Bravery"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Finest Hours to be better than the print version?

    no. I still prefer having the actual book in my hand because I read faster than I listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a true and factual book about a heroic rescue. The actual case files are available from the U.S. Coast Guard. It highlights the special breed of man (and now woman) that serve in the United States Coast Guard.


    Any additional comments?

    The Coast Guard is often overlooked as a military service. It is never overlooked as the premier search and rescue/lifesaving service in the world.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Steyer Orchard Park, NY 05-16-16
    D Steyer Orchard Park, NY 05-16-16 Member Since 2015
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    "A fantastic event but somewhat downplayed"
    What made the experience of listening to The Finest Hours the most enjoyable?

    The details of each rescue and the challenges faced by the Coast Guard crews were remarkable. Their dedication for the sake of saving other putting their lives at risk is worth recognition and respect.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Finest Hours?

    Thinking that a ship (in this case 2 ships...) could split in two and remain afloat for so long is just unbelievable!!!! "Seeing" a ship in high seas in already shocking now imagining just half of it floating is mind blowing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The work of rescuing sailors in high seas (high, to say the least) is just unimaginable... One of the book characters described it well when later, watching "the Perfect Storm" movie said "It was just like that!!!" and I remember those scenes well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The book became a movie, which I'm now ready to watch!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I don't think the narrator was able to properly describe the magnitude of the events that unfolded. The details that preceded that main events and those after where not as rich and captivating as I am used with other books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    A Mac 04-14-16
    A Mac 04-14-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Light on content"

    Although a fairly short book, I still found the story to be pretty light on substance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam 04-10-16
    Miriam 04-10-16
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    "EXCELLENT"

    Well researched. I am a retired Coast Guard Officer. A no holds barred account.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Craigan 03-04-16
    Craigan 03-04-16
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    "Captivating"

    This drama, now film, captures what it means to be in the Coast Guard; men willingly putting their own lives at risk to save others, in seas determined to mock the intentions of men.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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