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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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The Ghost Ships of Archangel
The Arctic Voyage That Defied the Nazis
By (author): William Geroux
9780525557463 Hardcover English General Trade HISTORY / Military / World War II May 14, 2019
$37.00 CAD
Active 6.24 x 9.29 x 1.27 in 352 pages 1-16PP B&W INSERT; 3 MAPS Viking
An extraordinary story of survival and alliance during World War II: the icy journey of four Allied ships crossing the Arctic to deliver much needed supplies to the Soviet war effort.

On the fourth of July, 1942, four Allied ships traversing the Arctic separated from their decimated convoy to head further north into the ice field of the North Pole, seeking safety from Nazi bombers and U-boats in the perilous white maze of ice floes, growlers, and giant bergs. Despite the risks, they had a better chance of survival than the rest of Convoy PQ-17, a fleet of thirty-five cargo ships carrying $1 billion worth of war supplies to the Soviet port of Archangel—the limited help Roosevelt and Churchill extended to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to maintain their fragile alliance, even as they avoided joining the fight in Europe while the Eastern Front raged.

The high-level politics that put Convoy PQ-17 in the path of the Nazis were far from the minds of the diverse crews aboard their ships. U.S. Navy Ensign Howard Carraway, aboard the SS Troubadour, was a farm boy from South Carolina and one of the many Americans for whom the convoy was to be a first taste of war; aboard the SS Ironclad, Ensign William Carter of the U.S. Navy Reserve had passed up a chance at Harvard Business School to join the Navy Armed Guard; from the Royal Navy Reserve, Lt. Leo Gradwell was given command of the HMT Ayrshire, a fishing trawler that had been converted into an antisubmarine vessel. All the while, The Ghost Ships of Archangel turns its focus on Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, playing diplomatic games that put their ships in peril.

The twenty-four-hour Arctic daylight in midsummer gave no respite from bombers, and the Germans wielded the terrifying battleship Tirpitz, nicknamed The Big Bad Wolf. Icebergs were as dangerous as Nazis. As a newly forged alliance was close to dissolving and the remnants of Convoy PQ-17 tried to slip through the Arctic in one piece, the fate of the world hung in the balance.

A GREAT AMERICAN STORY: Most of the men and ships in Convoy PQ-17 were American. Their heroism and resourcefulness are at the heart of the book. A rarely told story of World War II.

U.S.-SOVIET WARTIME RELATIONSHIP: At a time of worsening tensions between the U.S. and Russia, The Ghost Ships of Archangel offers fascinating historical context to the grand alliance. Roosevelt regarded the Arctic convoys as vital to maintaining his relationship with Stalin and, looking ahead, to preventing World War II from evolving into the Cold War.

OVERLOOKED WORLD WAR II HISTORY: In 1942, the outcome of the war was anything but clear. This is a forgotten chapter of American history with implications for the 21st century.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Geroux has written a nail-biting odyssey through the Artic, where climate change is now wreaking havoc. A voyage today from Iceland to Archangel would be very different than it was in 1942.

ARCTIC SURVIVAL STORY: Combining a great war story with an icy survival epic, this is also for readers of books on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.

William Geroux wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for twenty-five years. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Associated Press, and various regional magazines. His previous book is The Mathews Men. A native of Washington, DC, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary, he lives in Virginia Beach, VA.

Author Residence: Virginia Beach, VA

Author Hometown: Washington, DC

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Praise for The Mathews Men:

“Vividly drawn and emotionally gripping, The Mathews Men shines a light on the mostly forgotten but astonishing role the U.S. Merchant Marine played in winning World War II.”—Daniel James Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat

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