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"Ambushed under the Southern Cross. The Making of an American Merchant Marine Officer and His Ensuing Saga of Courage and Survival." by Captain Geeorge W. Duffy.
Posted by: Capt. George W. Duffy (
Date: April 05, 2009 01:09PM

518 pages, 222 illustrations.

When George Duffy and his twenty-five classmates graduated from the Massachusetts Nautical School (MNS) on September 23, 1941, an era came to an end. Never again would the three-masted barque Nantucket go to sea in her role as a sail training vessel for future merchant marine officers. They, also, became the last class to make two summer sail training cruises aboard, thus marking the end of the school's tradition extending back to 1891.

Those hardened young sailors were immediately recruited as deck and engineering officers into a rapidly growing United States merchant marine. Not quite a year after graduating from MNS, and just ten months into World War Two, George Duffy's good fortune came to an abrupt end when his ship, the American Leader, was sunk by a German commerce raider. George and forty-six of his shipmates were plucked out of the South Atlantic Ocean and taken prisoner.

This book relates his two spartan years in the Nantucket, the next rewarding year in the American Leader, and over three years as a prisoner in two German warships, and ten Japanese labor camps scattered over the southeast Asian islands of Java, Singapore, and Sumatra.

In addition, a parallel tale recounts the life and career of a young German naval officer, Konrad Hoppe,who served in George's nemesis, the Hsk Michel. Many years after the war they met in Germany in, as Konrad expressed it, "Great delight that the fateful enmity has changed into a sincere friendship."

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ISBN (hardcover) 978-1-4363-0636-2
(paperback) 978-1-4363-0635-5

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