of help, only chaos and this boat, wrong side up, a few pairs
of hands gripping its keel in the dark and cold Atlantic,"
writes ABC World News Tonight producer and Brooklyn Heights resident
Tom Nagorski in his debut nonfiction book, "Miracles on
the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack."
"Miracles on the Water" describes with rich detail
a tragic episode from September, 1940. The ocean liner S.S. City
Of Benares - carrying 90 British children on their way to Canada,
fleeing the Nazi blitz - was torpedoed at night by a German submarine.
The survivors, crammed into 12 lifeboats, were left drifting
for days before being rescued. Confronted with desperate odds,
the children performed unthinkable acts of endurance and solidarity.
Nagorski, a master storyteller, weaves together personal accounts
with pertinent background. His fast-paced tale is full of drama
and compassion. Six decades after the events, he raises questions
regarding blame, responsibility, and the lack of an investigation.
The author’s impassioned connection to the material stems from
his Uncle Bohdan, who survived on the last lifeboat to be rescued.
"Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World
War II U-Boat Attack" (Hyperion, $24.95) is available for
purchase, or can be ordered through local bookstores.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010