World War II was six months under way when Ray Downs was returning to the United States from his position as a manager for United Fruit in Colombia with his wife, Ina, and two children, eight-year-old Sonny and 11-year-old -Lucille. While the U-boat war had started, few were concerned as the Gulf of Mexico seemed physically far away from the conflict. The ship carrying the Downs family, The Heredia, had the misfortune to be seen by German Commander Harro Schacht in U-507. Schacht quickly sank the vessel, leaving the survivors to swim for safety in the Gulf. An inspiring historical narrative, So Close to Home tells the story of the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of this deadly attack off the American coast.
Alison O'Leary is a former reporter for the The Boston Globe, a magazine editor, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. (added from Eventkeeper)