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At All Costs: How a Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Mariners Turned the Tide of World War II
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At All Costs: How a Crippled Ship and Two American Merchant Mariners Turned the Tide of World War II

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  134 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In this gripping, page-turning account, Sam Moses has told a story in the tradition of Sebastian Junger’s A Perfect Storm, Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, and Hampton Sides’s Ghost Soldiers. It’s a story about the heroism of two men in battle at sea during World War II, and one woman fleeing Nazi Norway with her child. It’s about how courage can change the course of history ...more
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Random House (first published January 1st 2006)
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Feb 27, 2015 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Malta is an archipelago of seven small islands between Sicily, the boot of Italy, and Africa. As such it held a strategic place during WW II, and despite heavy pressure from the Italians and Germans, withstood nearly incessant bombing. But to do so required food and fuel necessitating many convoys which had to run the gauntlet of German bombers based in Italy.

Getting the required tankers and other freighters often involved extensive and complicated negotiations between Roosevelt and Churchill. T
Stanley Turner
Oct 09, 2016 Stanley Turner rated it really liked it
A historical book brought to life. Moses brings the lives of numerous Merchant Marine heroes to life, in this interesting book about the operation that changed the European Theater of Operations. Operation Pedestal changed the war in North Africa in favor of the Allies and Mussolini would be gone within the year...
Sep 11, 2012 William rated it liked it
A good book (not a great book) about operation PEDESTAL and the convoy which got through. Malta was the lynchpin of the Mediterranean theater of operations, and critical to the war in North Africa and later the invasion of Italy. And this book does a good enough job of telling the story of the heroic Maltese, Churchill's insistence of maintaining Malta as a critical base to attack the "Crocodile's Belly" of Axis power, and the heroic efforts of the convoy which rescued Malta.
Unlike some, I did n
Aug 18, 2011 John rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The detailed story of a critical naval convoy to the island Malta. The story was interesting, and was an aspect of WWII that was completely unfamiliar to me. The author has obviously done his research, as he wove many different threads into this complex story, including detailed accounts from many merchant shipmen and officers, navy officers, air force pilots, etc, and even Winston Churchill himself. The account also includes details from the axis powers and what the opposing captains and ...more
Jim Willse
Dec 03, 2013 Jim Willse rated it liked it
Shelves: car-books-audio
I suspect it’s not the best book about Operation Pedestal (the Wikipedia account is quite detailed). The author, Sam Moses, tries to personalize it by focusing on a few of hundreds of participants, particularly a Norwegian-American engineer named Fred Larsen and an American merchant cadet named Lonnie Dale. Larsen’s story is compelling — his young wife and son in Nazi-occupied Norway, making their way to Brooklyn unbeknownst to Larsen — but the book, as dramatic as it is, is no Perfect Storm, ...more
Dec 09, 2009 Frances rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I learned that another book about Malta can be a total disappointment.I have read too many five star books about Malta, and therefore must accept this as being nothing more than another example of highlighting the heroism of the Americans, which was certainly there, while putting the remarkable behavior of the British captains which towed the Ohio in as being secondary even though they were so much more heroic. And why were the other sailors who went aboard the Ohio cast as secondary players, ...more
Mar 03, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A very interesting book that my wife picked up for me at the library. The author recounts the voyage of the convoy that made up Operation PEDESTAL--supplies to refit the island nation of Malta--so the Allies had a launching pad into North Africa and the Middle East. If the Allies failed to reach their destination, then the Axis, for sure, would have had their claws dug in much deeper and would have the ability to prolong the war, or even win it.

This was in CD format, and the only issue I had wit
Sep 12, 2013 Ray rated it really liked it
I confess to having a soft spot for books with a nautical theme, and have read a number involving shipwrecks, naval battles, or enduring terrifying storms. So I was curious about "At All Costs" when I picked it up, to see if it would stand out from the others. In many ways, it didn't. But the one way it did standout was in telling the story of the importance of Malta during the initial stages of WW II. Sam Moses blended the individual stories of a few key crew members with the political decision ...more
May 25, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I thought this one was pretty dull. I didn't really "get" the attempt by the author to focus on a particular sailor and his family as a way to tell the story. It just didn't make the story connect for me. As a war history it was OK, in that it taught me stuff that I didn't know, but it didn't even hold my attention all that well and was a lot of blurry details about various parts of the battles. I've read quite a few war historical books, and this one is down pretty far on my list in terms of ...more
Feb 06, 2012 William rated it it was ok
Shelves: world-war-two
I feel that the attempt by the author to wrap the narrative around the experience of two American sailors fell flat. The scope of the circumstances and events did not scale well when viewed through the tribulations of a pair of Yanks in a primarily British show. The author also tried to dramatize the events with his diction, and in my mind the volume suffered as a result. Still, books about the Malta convoys are hard to come by, and the course of Operation Pedestal is factually reported, which ...more
Jun 25, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
This is one of those stories where it's likely that history turned on a single event - the tanker Ohio bringing fuel to Malta in 1942. It's amazing to read the sort of conditions that these sailors - not all of whom were military - operated under during WWII - and the environmental disaster that the Mediterranean must have been by war's end. However, I do think that the title is a little misleading. I expected that the two merchant mariners would be singlehandedly responsible for getting the shi ...more
Apr 18, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
There is a LOT about World War II that I don't know. Like all of the battles around the Mediterranean: Egypt and North Africa : and the importance of keeping the middle eastern OIL away from the Nazis. This is the story of Churchill trying to restock the fuel for Allied bombers flying out of Malta by sending a massive convoy of supply ships. And the two men who kept on pushing their totally wrecked oil tanker at all costs.
Diane Depew
Feb 27, 2014 Diane Depew rated it really liked it
I have read quite a bit on WWII, but not as much on the action in the Mediterranean. This is an excellent read on operation pedestal; Britain's successful enterprise to end Germany's Siege of Malta. I had not realized how critical Malta was to the war effort. If you want to learn about it, this book will fill the niche.
Feb 28, 2015 Lacish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent WWII book. For those of us in my generation, Malta and other small portions (not D day, Pearl Harbor, or H-bomb) are fuzzy and unknown. This book does a great job of covering the personal and impersonal details of the mission, the fighting, and the various interactions. Although overwhelming at times, anyone with a basic knowledge of naval warfare will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Nov 18, 2011 Lois rated it liked it
Finally, after several months, and several checkouts from the library, I finished this book! The story is very heroic and the argument can be made that this turned the tide of WWII toward the favor of the allies. The only problem I had with the book is the details regarding the ships, cruisers, destroyers, fighter jets, etc. I am certainly not an expert at military hardware.
Jun 21, 2008 William rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
The author's passion for his subject may make up for some of the tedious details and a few lapses into an amateurish style. A sometimes gripping tale of an essential WWII convoy to Malta and the heroic efforts to get it through Italian and German defenses.
Clinton Sheppard
Mar 19, 2014 Clinton Sheppard rated it really liked it
Shelves: last-stand
A well researched account from start to finish of operation Pedestal - an operation to bring supplies to struggling Malta during WWII. The author spoke with many survivors to add their recollections to what might otherwise have been a dry account. I learned a lot.
Nov 23, 2012 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
World War 2 story of the battle for the island of Malta and the courage of 2 men in particular that battled the Nazis. One of those unknown stories that opens your eyes to the greatness of the 'Greatest Generation'.
Jim Gallen
Dec 19, 2011 Jim Gallen rated it really liked it
"At All Costs" tells the story of a 1942 convoy that saved Malta from surrender and the Allied North Africa campaign from a serious setback. Whether you are looking for a true adventure story or a history of World War II in the Mediterranean, this is the book to pick up.
Spike Pedersen
Feb 28, 2015 Spike Pedersen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a great job telling the true tale of WWII and the fight for Malta. Heroes and bad decisions are both explained. A good read.
Jul 30, 2013 Jed rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-want
I had no idea that the island of Malta was so important to the Allies in WWII. This was a very good telling of of that struggle.
Joe Faust
Jun 23, 2011 Joe Faust rated it it was amazing
This account of Operation Pedestal – the attempt to relieve the beseiged island of Malta during World War II – reads like a good thriller.
Tony Lau
A great book that shows the bravery of the American and British Merchant Mariners working together for a common cause: to get the twenty ship convoy with vital supplies to Malta.
Jeff Krueger
Jan 16, 2013 Jeff Krueger rated it really liked it
A amazing book about an untold of the Merchant Marine...trying to help save Malta a key Island in the Battle for North Africa
Jan 20, 2010 Donald rated it really liked it
An excellent account of a stirring and heroic naval convoy that probably won World War II for the Allies.
Nicole Voisard
Nicole Voisard rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2014
Scott Slaugh
Scott Slaugh rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2012
Jamie Fugate
Jamie Fugate rated it really liked it
May 01, 2012
Steve rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2011
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