During World War II eighty-eight of the almost three thousand Liberty ships built in America were launched in Savannah, Georgia. Without Liberty ships, the Battle of the Atlantic might have been lost.
Few remember the Liberty ships today; fewer remember the shipyard or that the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation was the largest industry ever located there. The land on which this shipyard stood is now derelict. Thousands drive by it every day and have no idea of the great contribution to the war effort that was made on that site.
This social history tells the story of the men and women who built these merchant ships in Savannah. Most came from rural areas and had never seen a ship, much less built one. Many were taken out of high school; others were in their seventies or eighties. The demand for labor found women being recruited for construction jobs in a man's world and performing as well as their fellow male workers.
There were 45,000 of them during the four years of the shipyard's existence, and in spite of all of the problems faced, they built ships and built them well. Cope makes use of more than 120 taped interviews with shipyard workers, merchant seamen, dock workers, and Navy and Coast Guard personnel, as well as letters and official documents, to present an authentic and moving record of the working conditions and lives of those who built the Liberty ships in the shipyards of Savannah.
About the Author
Tony Cope was born and raised in Savannah, GA, where he taught and served as a school administrator for more than thirty years. He now lives in County Cork, Ireland.