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So Close to Home : A True Story of an American Family's Fight for Survival During World War II
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On May 19, 1942 a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey fifty miles away from New Orleans. Captained by 29-year-old Iron Cross and King's Cross recipient Erich Wurdemann, the submarine set its sights on the freighter Heredia with fifty-nine souls on board. Most of the crew were merchant seamen, but there were also a handful of civilians, including the Downs family, consisting of the parents, Ray Sr. and Ina, along with their two children, eight-year-old Ray Jr., nick-named “Sonny,” and eleven-year-old Lucille. Fast asleep in their berths, the Downs family had no notice that two torpedoes were heading their way. When the ship exploded, Ina and Lucille became separated from Ray Sr. and Sonny. 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.