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Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You by Ralph Barker

Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You by Ralph Barker

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Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You

The Story of the S.S. City of Cairo

by Ralph Barker

Collins, 1984, [First Edition], ISBN 0002164647, black and white photographic plates, illustrated endpapers (maps), hardcover, dustjacket

Near Fine Condition, minor edge and shelf wear, minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, no inscriptions, star stamp on bottom fore edge, dustjacket shows minor edge and shelf wear with minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners (see photographs)

“On 6th November 1942 the S.S. City of Cairo, alone in the middle of the South Atlantic making for Recife in Brazil, was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-68.  She had nearly 300 passengers and crew aboard, who moved quickly to the lifeboats.  Twenty minutes after the first torpedo, Karl-Freidrich Merten sent another to scuttle the ship; in passing it sank one of the lifeboats and damaged another.  As those in the water fought to clamber into the remaining boats, most of them already overloaded, he surfaced to identify his kill, to criticise the captain of the Cairo for his lack of organisation, to tell him how far he was from land (nearly 2000 miles from Brazil, over 1000 from Africa and nearly 500 from St Helena), and to wish him ‘Goodnight.  Sorry for sinking you’.
What follows forms one of the greatest tales of survival and endurance.  The Cairo’s captain decided that their only hope was to sail for St Helena, despite the considerable chance of overshooting and being lost in the ocean beyond.  Three boats did become detached from the main group, and their story is the most extraordinary of all.  In the weeks that followed, the survivors, growing steadily fewer and weaker, found and knew the extremes of selfishness and depravity of which human beings are capable.  But they also discovered in some of their number a nobility and heroism that defies easy description.  It is this latter which is the lasting impression of this book.”


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