Author Michael Tougias is scheduled to appear at the Reading Public Library at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 to give a slide presentation on his new book, “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the US Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.” The book, which is being made into a movie by Disney, documents the astonishing maritime event that began Feb. 18, 1952, when a ferocious nor’easter split in half a 500-foot-long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately 1 mile off the coast of Cape Cod. Incredibly, just 20 miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both fractured tankers, men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas. Thus began a life-and-death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives. The book was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. Tougias, co-author of “The Finest Hours,” will present slides of the storm, the sinking tankers, the rescues, the victims, survivors, and heroes to tell the story. Tougias’s visit to Reading is part of the LiveWires and Massachusetts Author series. The presentation, sponsored by the Friends of the Reading Public Library, is free. Seats are limited. A book signing will follow the program. For more information, call the library at 781-944-0840.
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