"Miracles on the Water" has all the elements of great adventure stories--a luxury liner torpedoed late at night; young children racing to lifeboats; and survival six hundred miles from land. This is a survival account well worth telling, and Nagorski (a relative to one of the survivors) gives it justice.
In 1940, as World War II settled in for a long dreary fight, families in London faced nightly ings by Hitler's Luftwaffe. Stay and be killed? Or send the children to other countries for safety? These questions faced staunch British souls. Through this book, we understand the drama of their decisions, and the resulting nightmare for numerous families when they discovered that the liner carrying their children across the Atlantic had been sunk. The real story, though, is the heroism and endurance of those who survived the attack--and a few who didn't.
Like previous survival accounts, such as "The Perfect Storm" and "Into Thin Air," this is a story that highlights the strength of the human spirit and the costly effects of muddled bureacracy. Why was the liner left unprotected, for example, when there were reports of a German U-boat in the area? While "Miracles on the Water" never reaches the narrative pace of the fore-mentioned books, it does serve as a reminder to those of us raised in a glutted western culture that we should always count our blessings.