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Title: No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains And The Sinking of The Dorchester in World War II

Title: No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains And The Sinking of The Dorchester in World War II
Author: Dan Kurzman
Publisher: Random House Pub.,
New York, N.Y.

 

During the Second World War, a top-secret mission was organized to establish a military base in Greenland that would enable the recent invention of radar to be tested. This secret mission brought together four U.S. military chaplains among over 900 soldiers and crew, on the Dorchester, a converted luxury liner. The Dorchester was sailing to Greenland in February, 1943, when a torpedo shot from a German U-boat sank the ship. Over two-thirds of the men perished in the cold, rough seas.

Although quite a high percentage of Jews served in almost all branches of the U.S. military during WW II and during the ensuing Korean War, not so many were drafted or enlisted into the services in the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s, despite the Vietnam War. This book features a Jewish chaplain who became a legendary hero. He helped create pride in the entire Jewish
community when the story became better known.

No Greater Glory is a historical account of the crossing of the Dorchester in a convoy of ships
carrying troops to Greenland for a special mission to establish a new Sonar base to help detect and destroy German U-boats in the North Atlantic.

The story establishes the history of each of four chaplains: a Catholic priest, a Dutch Reformed
minister, a Methodist minister, and a Reform Jewish rabbi, and how they became heroes – and martyrs.

All four had been among those Americans who came to realize that the free world was fighting
against the world’s worst monster, Hitler and his cronies, and each of them gave up his own life to save those of others.

Although their mission was to make transatlantic shipping safe from the German submarines, their ship was excruciatingly slow, sailing at just 13 knots (about 15 miles per hour). It was a sitting duck for the U-boat torpedo that sank it on Feb. 3, 1943.

Each of the four chaplains had a successful life, family and career to live for. They selflessly gave their lives, not only to save others, but to serve as exemplars of courage for countless others who were in the same situation. A commemorative stamp has been issued in their honor by the U.S. Post Office.

All Jews were able to stand a bit prouder because of David Goode’s sacrifice. After all four
chaplains had removed their flotation jackets to give them to others, they circled their arms and together sang the Navy hymn: “Eternal Father, strong to save.” David Goode was then heard to say the Shema in Hebrew.

About two years ago, a book entitled Sea of Glory (Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN) was written by Ken Wales and David Poling. The latter was a first cousin of Chaplain Clark V. Poling, who drowned. That book was a fictionalized account of the incident. This book, no less exciting, is based upon careful historical research.

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