The interesting thing about history is that there is so much information that we don’t always hear it all. In So Close to Home by Michael J. Tougias and Alison O’Leary, we are taken back into the atrocities and danger of World War II, but in a world much closer to home than you can imagine. We have heard and read a great deal about the ground and navigational wars on different continents, one that kept those at home safe from the actual death and destruction, but there was another front that is often unmentioned.
This is a true story of an American family’s fight for survival from a U-boat Attack during Work War II.
Ray and Ina Downs, along with eight year old Sonny and eleven year old Lucille, have followed the money to hold their family together. Moving from Texas and leaving their oldest son with his grandparents, they head down to South America to make some good money to help them through tough times. When the job unexpectedly ends they load up their belongings and their children on a ship for home. Little do they know that German U-boats have infiltrated the waters of the gulf, and have begun shooting upon ships, many of them domestic and with no affiliation to the ongoing war.
Yet the war was one of terror. How better to strike at a behemoth of a country if not from their own waterways, causing crisis and terror in an effort to get them to back down.
Ray and Ina are not notified of the possible dangers, and the ship and crew do not believe they are at risk, so when two torpedoes hit the ship, explosions and chaos abound. Ina and Lucille are separated from Ray and Sonny, and then Ina and Lucille become separated from each other as well.
This is the true story of a family as they find themselves in a struggle for their lives against sharks, freezing, drowning and surviving the dangers found on the ocean.
This is a wonderful story of survival and how a family showed strength and agility far beyond what is expected to survive and find each other in the aftermath of such danger. It also takes us to the time in history where our very shores were challenged. Germany was able to come into our back yards in a way that was difficult to foretell, and unbelievable in scope. It further tells the tale of the U.S. rout of the subs and the clearing of enemies from our waterways to once again bring safety to the home front.
If you are a History buff or are interested in war stories, this is one that strikes much closer to home then imagined. If you enjoy stories of courage and perseverance you will find this work mesmerizing.
This would be a great work for a reading or discussion group. The entire situation would create a great deal of interest and dialogue.