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. It brings back to life a breed of men who repeatedly risk all for their country. It chronicles the sagas of families that stoically endured heartrending losses. It honors a community that pulled together to support its sons as they set out—again and again—on deadly seas. And it reminds us how much we owe to the legions of ordinary Americans who quite literally saved the civilized world in the 1940s.”
—Daniel James Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat
“William Geroux has written a classic American tale, a gripping story of courageous everyday heroes facing death in World War II.
—James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers
“William Geroux’s THE MATHEWS MEN harkens to the war heroics of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and the British detective drama “Foyle’s War.” A little-known story about the brutal sacrifices made by Merchant Marines—and the tiny bayside community they left behind in Mathews County, Virginia—Geroux’s book is a gripping account of hard-drinking and even harder-working seamen, and a fresh take on World War II history. Loaded with offbeat characters trying to survive against astonishingly impossible odds, Geroux gives these unheralded heroes their belated due in an account that is as meticulously researched as it is even-handed and poignant.”
—Beth Macy, author of Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
“When a reporter who writes as elegantly as Geroux unearths such a dramatic and untold story, he must feel as if he’s hit the motherlode. With The Mathews Men, Geroux gives us a rollicking read that plunges you into the middle of the ocean and seduces you into caring for the story’s heroic seafarers. This is both a terrific and terrifying blow-by-blow of the actions of the sailors of the U.S. Merchant Marine as the dodged deadly U-Boats during the course of World War II and who, as Lincoln put it, too often made the ultimate sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
—Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, co-authors of Halsey’s Typhoon and The Heart of Everything That Is
“Often overlooked and unsung, the men of the U.S. Merchant Marine risked all against stealthy German U-boats whether within sight of East Coast cities or on the Arctic run to Murmansk. Mr. Geroux has superbly chronicled the gripping and deeply personal story of brothers in blood as well as in mission.”
—Walter R. Borneman, author of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—The Five-star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea
“The German U-Boat war against American merchant men was deadly and dramatic—in World War II, the U.S. Merchant Marine had twice the fatality rate of the U.S. Navy. William Geroux has unearthed a fascinating tale of one small coastal town caught in the thick of the fight, and he tells it with a sharp reporter’s eye and a real feel for the heroic men who went down to the sea in ships.”
—Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon and Sea of Thunder
“[A] poignant account . . . A deep, compassionate group biography of these 'unsung heroes' of the Merchant Marines.”
From the Hardcover edition.