Voyage of the Damned

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Premier Digital Publishing, Jan 24, 2012 - History
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On May 13, 1939, the luxury liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, one of the last ships to leave Nazi Germany before World War II erupted. Aboard were 937 Jews some had already been in concentration camps who believed they had bought visas to enter Cuba. The voyage of the damned had begun. Before the St. Louis was halfway across the Atlantic, a power struggle ensued between the corrupt Cuban Immigration Minister who issued the visas and his superior, President Bru. The outcome, the refugees would not be allowed to land in Cuba. In America, the Brown Shirts were holding Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden; anti-Semitic Father Coughlin had an audience of fifteen million. Back in Germany, plans were being laid to implement the final solution. And aboard the St. Louis, 937 refugees awaited the decision that would determine their fate.Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts have recreated history in this meticulous reconstruction of the voyage of the St. Louis. Every word of their account is true: the German High Command's ulterior motive in granting permission for the "mission of mercy;" the confrontations between the refugees and the German crewmen; the suicide attempts among the passengers; and the attitudes of those who might have averted the catastrophe, but didn't. In reviewing the work, the New York Times was unequivocal: "An extraordinary human document and a suspense story that is hard to put down. But it is more than that. It is a modern allegory, in which the SS St. Louis becomes a symbol of the SS Planet Earth. In this larger sense the book serves a greater purpose than mere drama."

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About the author (2012)

Gordon Thomas is a political and investigative journalist and the author of 53 books, published in more than 30 countries and in dozens of languages. The total sales of his works exceed 45 million copies. He has been a widely syndicated foreign correspondent and was a BBC writer/producer for three flagship BBC programs: Man Alive, Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. He contributes regularly to Facta, the respected monthly Japanese news magazine. Thomas was the lead expert for a 12-part series on international intelligence for Ian Punnett’s Coast to Coast, the most listened-to overnight radio broadcast in North America with 3 million weekly listeners. He has recently appeared on Euronews (available in 10 languages and 300 million households) and Russia Today. He has received numerous awards for his reporting, including an International Television Award and two Mark Twain Society Awards. Shipwreck won the Edgar Allen Poe Award. Four of Thomas’ books (Voyage of the Damned, Ruin from the Air, The Day the Bubble Burst, and The Day Their World Ended) have been made into feature films starring such A-listers as Paul Newman, Billy Crystal, Robert Vaughn, and Jacqueline Bisset. The Day Guernica Died is currently under option. Thomas’ most recent bestseller is Gideon’s Spies: Mossad’s Secret Warriors. Published in 16 languages and 40 countries Gideon’s Spies is known throughout the world as the leading resource on Israeli intelligence. An updated edition will be published in 2012 by St. Martin’s Press. Gideon’s Spies was made into a major documentary for Channel Four in Britain, which Thomas wrote and narrated, called The Spy Machine. The Observer called The Spy Machine a “clear” picture of Israeli intelligence operations, and The Times called it “impressive,” and ”chilling.” A member of the London Speaker’s Bureau and Macmillan Speakers, Thomas continues to grow his already-impressive platform, lecturing widely on the secret world of intelligence. He also regularly provides expert analysis on intelligence for US and European television and radio programs. He is currently working on The Pope’s Jews, which will be published by St. Martin’s Press in late 2012.

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