Pride of the Sea: Courage, Disaster, and a Fight For Survival

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9780786268573: Pride of the Sea: Courage, Disaster, and a Fight For Survival

On a warm spring morning in May 1986, twelve crew members were crossing the Atlantic on perhaps the most historically accurate sailboat of its day, the Pride of Baltimore. The wind was brisk, the mood was relaxed: they were on the journey home. Within hours, a sudden, fierce storm would overwhelm the ship, leaving four sailors dead and eight locked in a terrifying battle against the sea.

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About the Author:

Tom Waldron is a veteran journalist and writer who worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun for 17 years. He has also written for The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. He lives in Baltimore.

From Publishers Weekly:

Now and then, here and there, Waldron’s tale of disaster at sea is absolutely wonderful. In between, it subsides to merely engrossing. The story revolves around The Pride of Baltimore, a ship built in 1976 as part of Baltimore’s waterfront redevelopment program. Originally intended to serve as a floating museum, The Pride was modeled after the city’s legendary clippers—the favorite ships of 19th-century smugglers, slave traders and privateers, for whom a ship’s speed was more important than its safety. Baltimore clippers frequently disappeared without a trace, but, according to crewmembers, their sailing was "unforgettable," "like riding bareback at night on a wild black mare." Naturally then, when The Pride was completed, its supporters longed to take it on the open sea, and they eventually convinced the city to send it on a two-year, 2,800-mile goodwill voyage to Europe, with a group of 12 bright young sailors as its crew. It was on its way home when, on May 14, 1986, it was struck by an unexpected squall; it turned on its side, filled with water and sank in a matter of minutes. Waldron artfully splices the history of The Pride’s construction, and of clipper ships in general, with the more suspenseful narrative of the ship’s capsizing and its crew’s efforts to survive. The book is juiciest at the moments when the sailors—men and women—are fighting the sea for their lives. But the interleaved history adds depth to Waldron’s account and makes his analysis of the subsequent liability issues all the more credible. A vivid tale of courage and endurance, this book is an excellent choice for readers who’d like to experience the dangers of the sea from the safety of their armchairs.
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