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Cannonball Read #13: Desperate Hours: The Epic Story of the Rescue of the Andrea Doria by Richard Goldstein

Don't worry folks, I am nearly through with my series on maritime disasters--I am slightly behind on my blogging, but there should only be two more blogs on this particular subject after this--and then we'll be on to fires! (I know, totally something to look forward to, right?)

On a fog-laden night in 1956, the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm. While the Stockholm sustained only damage to her prow (and the death of five crewmen), the Andrea Doria was essentially t-boned, taking a mortal hit to her side. Over the next ten hours, the ship would develop and ever more pronounced list, and eventually capsize in a spectacular manner. All but a few dozen of her thousands of passengers would be rescued, and this is the story of the collision, the rescue, and the aftermath.

After reading enough of these books, I am beginning to figure out what makes a good account and what indicates a bad one. Unfortunately, Desperate Hours: The Epic Story of the Rescue of the Andrea Doria by Richard Goldstein is not one of the better books I've read in this literary series. It's unfortunate, because since it took place in 1956--comparatively recently, as far as the books I've read go--there should be a lot more available information. However, Goldstein doesn't seem to have done any real digging of his own, and the information he does have seems to be poorly arranged. The narrative never truly congeals, and never seems to become more than a recounting of facts. Too many names and dates, not enough character or detail. The only thing to recommend this particular book is the abundance of photos, maps, and drawings that allow the reader to get a better sense of what he or she is reading about.

On the whole, I found this a disappointment.

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