Falmouth Reads Together

Falmouth Reads Together 2024:

The Finest Hours, by Michael J. Tougias & Casey Sherman

Book cover of The Finest Hours.It’s the winter of 1952 and a ferocious Nor’easter is pounding New England with howling winds and seventy-foot seas. Two oil tankers get caught in the violent storm off Cape Cod, its fury splitting the massive ships in two. Back on shore are four young Coast Guardsmen who are given a suicide mission. They must save the lives of the seamen left stranded in the killer storm, and they have to do it in a tiny lifeboat. The crew is led by Bernie Webber, who has to rely on prayer and the courage of his three crewmembers to pull off the impossible. As Webber and his crew sail into the teeth of the storm, each man comes to the realization that he may not come back alive. They’ve lost all navigation and have no idea where the stranded seaman are, and have no idea how to get back home. Whether by sheer luck or divine intervention, the crew stumbles upon the wounded ship in the darkness. More than thirty men appear at the railings of the SS Pendleton, all hoping to be saved. Once again, Webber and his crew face a daunting challenge. How can they rescue all these men with their tiny lifeboat? Dripping with suspense and high-stakes human drama, The Finest Hours has incredible and astonishing true-to-life heroism and action-packed rescue scenes. This “marvelous and terrifying yarn” (Los Angeles Times) “deserves a place as a classic of survival at sea” (The Boston Globe).

Request a copy of The Finest Hours today via CLAMS

“This book captures the wit, grit and sacrifice of Coasties and their boats.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A blockbuster account of tragedy at sea.” The Providence Journal


Events related to this year’s Town Read!


March 8: MBL Falmouth Forum: To Save and Protect – Rear Admiral John Mauger, USCG

Lectures are free and open to the public. Free parking is available in any MBL lot. No registration required for in-person attendance. For Zoom link registration, click here.  Doors open at 7:00 PM, lectures start at 7:30 PM in the Cornelia Clapp Auditorium (7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543).

Lecture Abstract: When originally established in 1790, Congress authorized the Coast Guard to protect the nation’s revenue through enforcing tariff laws and preventing smuggling. As the nation grew, so did the mission-set of the nation’s oldest federal sea service. As a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and a first responder, the Coast Guard employs a unique mix of authorities, broad jurisdiction, flexible operational capabilities, and a network of partnerships. The Coast Guard is the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and inland waterways, along more than 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline, throughout the 4.5 million square miles of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, and on the high seas. Living in a coastal community, we are familiar with their Search and Rescue work, we see the helicopters, planes, and boats almost daily. Hear from a senior Coast Guard officer about how the smallest of the country’s military branches works to ensure our Nation’s maritime safety, security, and stewardship.

Rear Admiral Mauger oversees all Coast Guard missions across eight states in the Northeast including over 2,000 miles of coastline from the U.S.-Canadian border to northern New Jersey and 1300 miles offshore.  Among many other assignments throughout his career, Rear Admiral Mauger served as Military Assistant to the Director, Office of Net Assessment at the Pentagon, where he advised senior defense leaders on competitive strategies; the Coast Guard’s lead budget analyst for the service’s $1.4 billion acquisition appropriation; and the Chief of Staff, for the Department of Homeland Security’s 2008 Presidential Transition team.  His operational assignments include overseeing commercial port operations in Charleston, SC, where he enforced maritime safety and security regulations in one of the nation’s strategic commercial and military ports; conducting commercial vessel inspections and casualty investigations at Activities Europe; and Assistant Engineering Officer of a high endurance cutter in Honolulu, HI. His staff tours include service as Chief of Commercial Vessel Security during the national response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and as an engineer at the Marine Safety Center and the Electronics Engineering Center.

The Falmouth Forum is supported by the Falmouth Forum Endowment, the Bakalar Endowed Director’s Discretionary Fund, and The Falmouth Fund of The Cape Cod Foundation.

Details on more events in March, April, May, and June coming soon!