Author Michael Tougias will appear at the Foxborough Senior Center on Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 pm to give a slide presentation on his new book “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.”
The Disney Corporation made a movie based on the book, which stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck (released January 2016). This program is sponsored jointly by the Foxborough Historical Society and the Foxborough Senior Center.
Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
On February 18th, 1952 an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor’easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both fractured tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas.
Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives.
Michael Tougias, co-author of “The Finest Hours,” will use slides of the storm, the sinking tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event. Tougias will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton.
“I enjoy doing these programs,” says Tougias, “because I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm so that they ask themselves ‘what would I have done.’ With a slide presentation, the viewer can visually relive the adventure.”
Tougias goes on to say, “This event was– and still is– the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard, and it happened right here off the New England coast. I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece of overlooked history.
A book signing will follow the program; the presentation is suitable for all ages. NY Times bestselling author James Brady (Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers, says “The Finest Hours recounts incredible heroism…A Gripping Read.” “The Finest Hours” has been the #4 bestselling non-fiction book in New England according to the New England Booksellers Association.
This special event takes the place of the regular monthly meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society which generally meets elsewhere, on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and in the evening.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting. The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.
For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728