Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do
by Michael Tougias:
Before The Perfect Storm, there was the 1978 blizzard that lashed the Massachusetts coast with blinding snow, 90-mile-per-hour winds and 40-foot waves. Into the juggernaut sailed the small boat Can Do and its crew of five civilians on a doomed mission to assist two other vessels imperiled by the storm. As in The Perfect Storm, all hands were lost; but since the Can Do sank only a few agonizing miles from shore, there are records of terse radio transmissions to help the author recreate their last desperate hours. Journalist Tougias (The Blizzard of '78) fills out his absorbing account with lots of search-and-rescue procedural details, recollections from others who endured the monstrous seas of that hellish night and 300 years' worth of maritime disaster sagas. At times, the book feels padded with lengthy, adulatory back stories about the Can Do crew and needless speculations (i.e., "Kenny Fuller likely thought of his wife, knowing that if he died it would be especially hard on her"). And the story's outcome-the Can Do never got anywhere near the boats it went to help, both of which survived the storm-raises questions about the wisdom of the heroic ethos it celebrates. Still, Tougias delivers a well-researched, vividly written tale of brave men overwhelmed by the awesome forces of nature. Photos.
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