Regular price: $20.72

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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.

Critic Reviews

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    500
  • 4 Stars
    359
  • 3 Stars
    177
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    486
  • 4 Stars
    322
  • 3 Stars
    143
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    10

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    516
  • 4 Stars
    281
  • 3 Stars
    143
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    12
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Incredible

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

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • mtkto
  • California
  • 01-13-17

Everyone should read this.

A riveting story about extraordinary deeds done by ordinary men. Once again the book is better than the movie, although a great watch. I found that I couldn't stop listening, dragging my device around with headphones swinging around, plugging into the car jacks, disinclined to turn off the car. This book sent me looking for more information about the time and events.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • C. Telfair
  • Shepherdstown, WV, United States
  • 01-31-16

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.

60 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robin Bird
  • Central Square, NY United States
  • 07-23-12

Great!

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

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 11-08-17

True History, True Drama

This is an enjoyable story -- although the circumstances and encounters of all the characters are surely no enjoyable. It will seep you back to the 1950's when life was simpler and sadly, sea-going vessels were not as well built as are vessels today; and seamen did not have the safety benefits technology provides today. The daunting heroism of the Coast Guard rescuers -- in wooden boats, no less, was particularly gripping. Good narration and a good story all around.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too many flashbacks

This author a fantastic story and ruined it with too many flashbacks , flash sideways, flash diagonal distractions. If the author had instead just focused on the story alone the book would have been tolerable. As a veteran United States Coast Guard I was extremely disappointed in the delivery of this amazing and heroic rescue. Unfortunately I have to say watch the movie because it's better than the book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 04-29-13

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.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours is presented in a journalistic fashion. A very matter of fact documentation of a United States Coast Guard rescue of two tanker ships broken up in a violent storm. Pretty much sans emotion on the part of the narrator, Malcolm Hillgartner, the story requires reader imagination to visualize the hair-raising circumstances only hinted at in the writing.

The cover is the most dramatic of images, but the text doesn’t bring such dire events to life. There must have been some chilling, breathtaking moments - terror beyond belief, right? But … not here.

The book was made into a movie. Big loss for the studio. Wikipedia.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful