The Last Run
A True Story of Rescue and Redemption on the Alaska Seas
By Todd Lewan
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060956233, 400pp.)
Publication Date: July 7, 2005
Categories: Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks
It was a desperate mission that made front-page headlines and captured the attention of millions of readers around the world. In January 1998, in the dead of an Alaskan winter, a cataclysmic Arctic storm with hurricane-force winds and towering seas forced five fishermen to abandon their vessel in the Gulf of Alaska and left them adrift in thirty-eight-degree water with no lifeboat. Their would-be rescuers were 150 miles away at the Coast Guard station, with the nearby airport shut down by an avalanche.
The Last Run is the epic tale of the wreck of the oldest registered fishing schooner in Alaska, a hellish Arctic tempest, and the three teams of aviators in helicopters who withstood 140-mph gusts and hovered alongside waves that were ten stories high. But what makes this more than a true-life page-turner is its portrait of untamed Alaska and the unflappable spirit of people who forge a different kind of life on America's last frontier, the "end of the roaders" who are drawn to, or flee to, Alaska to seek a final destiny.
Todd Lewan joined the Associated Press as a correspondent in 1988. In 1996 he became an editor on AP's international desk, and later a national features writer. In 1998 he received several feature-writing prizes for this story.
“Grade ‘A’. A spectacular maritime page-turner … one perfect storm of a book.”
“A gripping account [that] reads like a novel.”
“THE PERFECT STORM transferred to Alaska, but with a much more heroic conclusion.”
-New York Magazine
“[A] gripping sea rescue tale.”
-Anchorage Daily News
“A powerful story reported and told with extraordinary skill....will keep you turning the pages at a furious rate.”
-Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“The stuff of legends....A tale of genuine heroism...that you won’t easily put down.”
“Exhilarating ... Immediate and terrifying ... edge-of-the-seat [reading].”
-Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
“Nail-biting ... [gives] readers a sense of why the fishermen were willing to risk so much for .... so little.”
“This riveting book has it all ... suspenseful ... dramatic .... and touchingly human and humorous.
-James Bradley, author of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS and FLYBOYS
“The big brawling storm and epic Coast Guard rescue in the Gulf of Alaska is an utterly heart-pounding story.”
-Todd Balf, author of THE DARKEST JUNGLE
“A harrowing real-life tale of rescue on the high seas.”
-Peter Nichols, author of EVOLUTION'S CAPTAIN
“Todd Lewan raises the standard for non-fiction survival stories. Hair-raising ... hilarious [and] engaging.”
-Jason Kersten, author of JOURNAL OF THE DEAD