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Download The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War against Hitler’s U-boats Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War against Hitler’s U-boats, by William Geroux Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Geroux Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the last unheralded heroic stories of World War II: the U-boat assault off the American coast against the men of the US Merchant Marine who were supplying the European war, and one community’s monumental contribution to that effort.

Mathews County, Virginia, is a remote outpost on the Chesapeake Bay with little to offer except unspoiled scenery—but it sent one of the largest concentrations of sea captains and US merchant mariners of any community in America to fight in World War II. The Mathews Men tells that heroic story through the experiences of one extraordinary family whose seven sons (and their neighbors), all US merchant mariners, suddenly found themselves squarely in the cross-hairs of the U-boats bearing down on the coastal United States in 1942.

From the late 1930s to 1945, virtually all the fuel, food, and munitions that sustained the Allies in Europe traveled not via the Navy but in merchant ships. After Pearl Harbor, those unprotected ships instantly became the U-boats’ prime targets. And they were easy targets—the Navy lacked the inclination or resources to defend them until the beginning of 1943. Hitler was determined that his U-boats should sink every American ship they could find, sometimes within sight of tourist beaches, and to kill as many mariners as possible, in order to frighten their shipmates into staying ashore.

As the war progressed, men from Mathews sailed the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and even the icy Barents Sea in the Arctic Circle, where they braved the dreaded Murmansk Run. Through their experiences we have eyewitnesses to every danger zone, in every kind of ship. Some died horrific deaths. Others fought to survive torpedo explosions, flaming oil slicks, storms, shark attacks, mine blasts, and harrowing lifeboat odysseys—only to ship out again on the next boat as soon as they’d returned to safety.

The Mathews Men shows us the war far beyond traditional battlefields—often the US merchant mariners’ life-and-death struggles took place just off the US coast—but also takes us to the landing beaches at D-Day and to the Pacific. “When final victory is ours,” General Dwight D. Eisenhower had predicted, “there is no organization that will share its credit more deservedly than the Merchant Marine.” Here, finally, is the heroic story of those merchant seamen, recast as the human story of the men from Mathews.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vividly drawn and emotionally gripping, The Mathews Men shines a light on the mostly forgotten but astonishing role the US Merchant Marine played in winning World War II…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

  • “William Geroux has written a classic American tale, a gripping story of courageous everyday heroes facing death in World War II.”

    James Bradley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers

  • “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

  • “The valor and contributions of the US Merchant Marines to victory in WWII has seldom been acknowledged…Geroux presents an unflinching, inspiring, and long delayed tribute to the sacrifice of these men.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Geroux combines the skills of a newsman and those of a scholar to tell the story of the vital and heroic role played by the US Merchant Marines during WWII.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Arthur Morey’s gentle, raspy voice…makes this personal story interesting and personal…The title refers to the large number of WWII sea captains who came out of Mathews County, Virginia. The story focuses on one family of seamen in the Merchant Marines who had to stare down Nazi submarines off the coast of the US while trying to supply our battleships. Events take listeners from a small area on the Chesapeake to Russia, Normandy’s beaches, and the Pacific theater. Morey paces himself well and allows the listener to absorb a look at the Merchant Marines that offers a different perspective than other WWII stories.”


  • “Poignant…A deep, compassionate group biography of these ‘unsung heroes’ of the Merchant Marines.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2016
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