Sunday, April 19, 2020

Torpedoed by Deborah Heiligman - ESSENTIAL

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children’s Ship by Deborah Heiligman, 290 pages.  Godwin Books (Henry Holt and Company), 2019.  $20.  

Content: Language: PG (1 swear); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13.  



During World War II, many parents decided it would be safer for their children to leave England for Canada or the United States in an attempt to avoid the German bombs.  When the passenger ship called SS City of Benares left England, it was escorted by other ships, but eventually the escort broke away and the ship was on its own.  Benares was torpedoed by a German submarine and thousands of children passengers and their caregivers were left in the frigid September waters hoping to be rescued.  Not all were able to survive, yet those who did had harrowing experiences.  

I can’t believe out of all the books I’ve read about World War II, I had never heard this story before.  This is similar to Dead Wake by Erik Larson, but more horrifying because it’s a ship with largely children passengers.  I couldn’t put the book down and was anxious to see who lived and their stories of rescue.  The content includes violent descriptions of a burned pilot, decapitated bodies and although not graphic children do die.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson  

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