Escape from Archangel
An American Merchant Seaman at War
A story of naval battles in fire and ice and a merchant seaman’s flight to freedom from Soviet captivity during World War II
During World War II, merchant marine tankers in convoys plied the frozen North Atlantic through the flaming wreckage of torpedoed ships. Working to keep sea lanes open, valiant merchant seamen supplied food, fuel, and goods to the Allies in the last pockets of European resistance to the Nazis.
This exciting book acknowledges that the merchant marines, all volunteers, are among the unsung heroes of the war. One of these was Jac Smith, an ordinary seamen on the Cedar Creek, a new civilian tanker lend-leased to the U. S.S. R. and in the merchantman convoy running from Scotland to Murmansk. Smith's riveting adventures at sea and in the frozen taigas and tundra are a story of valor that underlines the essential role of merchant marines in the war against the Axis powers.
This gripping narrative tells of a cruel blow that fate dealt Smith when, after volunteering to serve on the tanker headed for Murmansk, he was arrested and interned in a Soviet work camp near Arkhangelsk.
Escape from Archangel recounts how this American happened to be imprisoned in an Allied country and how he planned and managed his escape. In his arduous 900-mile trek to freedom, he encountered the remarkable Laplanders of the far north and brave Norwegian resistance fighters. While telling this astonishing story of Jac Smith and of the awesome dangers merchant seamen endured while keeping commerce alive on the seascape of war, Escape from Archangel brings long-deserved attention to the role of the merchant marine and their sacrifices during wartime.
"Escape from Archangel is an extraordinary story, a story of human bravery and endurance, which not only captures the emotional spirit of World War II but its desperation, too. " --Willie Morris
"This book is a rare and fascinating tale of a merchant sailor's life at war on dangerous waters, with an escape so fantastic that I simply would not have believed it had I not carefully checked its credibility myself. " --Kemp Tolley, Rear Admiral U. S. Navy (Ret. )
"It tells a truly amazing story. Now that we are friends again with Russia, this book can be read as a remarkable adventure story of the war---just one more reason why we must never again have a war. " --Frank O. Braynard, American Merchant Marine Museum- UPM