The great rescue American heroes, an iconic ship, and the race to save Europe in WWI

Peter Hernon, 1947-

Book - 2017

"When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, the new German luxury ocean liner SS Vaterland was interned in New York Harbor, where it remained docked for nearly three years--until the United States officially entered the fight to turn the tide of the war. Seized by authorities for the US Navy once war was declared in April 1917, the liner was renamed the USS Leviathan by President Woodrow Wilson, and converted into an armed troop carrier that transported thousands of American Expeditionary... Forces to the battlefields of France. For German U-boats hunting Allied ships in the treacherous waters of the Atlantic, no target was as prized as the Leviathan, which carried more than ten thousand doughboys per crossing. But the Germans were not the only deadly force threatening the ship and its passengers. In 1918, a devastating influenza pandemic--the 'Spanish flu'--spread throughout the globe, predominantly striking healthy young adults, including many soldiers. [Journalist] Peter Hernon tells the ship's story across multiple voyages and through the experiences of a diverse cast of participants, including the ship's captain, Henry Bryan; General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force; Congressman Royal Johnson, who voted against the war but enlisted once the resolution passed; Freddie Stowers, a young black South Carolinian whose heroism was ignored because of his race; Irvin Cobb, a star war reporter for the Saturday Evening Post; and Elizabeth Weaver, an army nurse who saw the war's horrors firsthand; as well as a host of famous supporting characters, including a young Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Humphrey Bogart. Thoroughly researched, dramatic, and fast-paced, The Great Rescue is a unique look at the Great War and the lives it touched."--Jacket.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 940.45973/Hernon Checked In
New York, NY : HarperCollins Publishers [2017]
First edition
Physical Description
x, 350 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Peter Hernon, 1947- (author)
  • Trapped in New York
  • "All the best pictures of the ruins"
  • "You will never run her"
  • Voting no to war
  • Monster of the deep
  • The general and the mademoiselle
  • Dead in the water
  • "I am not joking"
  • Missed rendezvous
  • "An admiring and jealous white audience"
  • A new skipper
  • "The Tuscania's been hit"
  • Steaming for "Rendezvous A"
  • Two dead nurses
  • The orphans of Brest
  • A promise of help
  • and Micheline's kisses
  • POWs and icebergs
  • Lessons in trench warfare
  • Lost in the fog
  • Hand grenades and Brownings
  • "Blitzkatarrh," or "Flanders fever"
  • An even better target
  • U-boat attack
  • "Don't lose hope
  • I beg you"
  • Submarines and the sky pilot
  • "Another way of spelling the word 'American'"
  • 40 hommes/8 chevaux
  • The king of gasses
  • Two men overboard
  • Visiting the front with FDR
  • A near-death experience
  • Moving up to the front
  • "Everyone attack"
  • Fear of a "flu trip"
  • A bad wound
  • The eve of the flu voyage
  • "Kamerad! Kamerad!"
  • Pandemic at sea
  • "Funny little smile"
  • Burials at sea
  • The U-boats go home
  • The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month
  • Partying in Liverpool
  • A sailor named Bogart
  • Journey of the survivors
  • A famous shoreline
  • "Amid a silence that hurt"
  • Farewell to arms
  • "I have made plans for us".