Never to Return

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Product Details

Lyons Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.7 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Randall Peffer is the author of nine nonfiction books, most with a nautical angle, as well as nine crime/suspense novels. His first book, Watermen (Johns Hopkins) is a documentary of the lives of the Chesapeake's fishermen. It won the Baltimore Sun's Critic's Choice award and was Maryland Book of the Year. His most recent book, Where Divers Dare: The Search for the Last U-boat (Berkley/Caliber), was published in April, 2016. The son of a career naval officer, Peffer holds a 100-ton masters license and has logged over 100,000 miles at sea, mostly in traditional working vessels. He has been the captain of the 55' wooden research schooner Sarah Abbot for twenty-nine years. After 37 years teaching writing and literature at Phillips Academy, Andover, he has retired to focus full-time on his writing. He sails out of his home ports of Marion, Massachusetts, and Great Guana Cay, Abaco. Col. Robert Nersasian is a practicing Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. He is a retired Associate Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Tufts University. Nersasian is also a retired U S Army Colonel, having served on active duty during the Vietnam and Desert Storm conflicts. He has published multiple papers in medical journals. Most notably, he is the baby brother of seaman Sparky Nersasian, being one year old at the time of the sinking of the Leopold. He joined his daughter Tory in her quest to achieve recognition of the Leopold's story with the awarding of the Purple Heart to the crew in Washington, D C, presented by U S Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. on May 23, 2013.


"In Never to Return, Randall Peffer and Col. Robert Nersasian meticulously document the heart-breaking true-life story of the United States Coast Guard's worst war-time maritime disaster. In finely wrought detail they render the sinking of the USS Leopold from both the United States and German points-of-view in gripping and dramatic detail. This book belongs on the shelves of every maritime historian and enthusiast."--Peter Stekel, author of Beneath Haunted Waters
"Colonel Nersasian and Randall Peffer thoroughly researched the history of USS Leopold along with the personal stories from her Coast Guard crewmembers and their families. With their book, Never to Return, the authors have added great depth to the historical narrative of U.S. Coast Guard-manned destroyer escorts in the Battle of the Atlantic and spotlighted the stories of honor, respect and devotion to duty of these coast guardsmen during World War II."-D. A. Neptun, Rear Admiral, USCG (Retired)
Selected for the USCG Commandant's 2018 Reading List
Never to Return is more than the story of "Sparky" Nersasian and his miraculous survival following the loss of USS Leopold (DE-319) while escorting a WWII convoy of merchant ships transiting the North Atlantic. It is obvious the author left no stone unturned nor did he spare any expense in research for this book. Included here are interviews with survivors of other ships that were involved, German sub U-255 (attacking ship) and USS Joyce (DE-317) (rescue ship). A Board of Inquiry is convened upon any loss or severe damage of a naval vessel. As a result of the loss of Leopold and resulting death and injury to personnel, there were many changes of tactics along with improvements in training adopted. Some were presented in the book. Many interactions with other survivors and their families were shared by the author. A surprise ending, the rescue ship (Joyce) was not under attack by an enemy sub during the rescue as was originally presumed. Read the book to find out. Overall Rating - Four Stars, Highly recommended. An excellent book.--Phil King, in Tin Can Sailors
"It is very well written and quickly paints a picture in the reader's mind--you do experience the cold-water agony. I highly recommend to Naval History readers and Naval Institute Members."--Naval History Magazine