Liberty's War

An Engineer's Memoir of the Merchant Marine, 1942-1945

  • Subject: Biography & Memoirs | World War II
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    August 15, 2017
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    6 × 9 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    7 oz
Softcover $24.95
Member Price $19.96 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


In the dark days of World War II, merchant mariners made heroic contributions to the eventual Allied victory and suffered tremendous casualties in so doing. Among these were the engineers who toiled deep in the bowels of the ship and suffered appalling casualties. After the war, engineering personnel were unlikely to talk about their experiences, let alone write them down. These modest and self-effacing men were more comfortable in a world of turbines and pistons, so they seldom brought their stories forward. Liberty’s War sets out to explore the experiences of one such engineer, Herman Melton, from his time as a cadet at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy through his experiences at sea as a third assistant engineer.

Melton’s story is representative of the thousands of Merchant Marine engineers who served on board Liberty ships during the war. Like many young Americans, he sought to do his part, and in 1942 he obtained an appointment to the newly created U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. After graduating from the academy in 1944, he shipped out to the Pacific Theatre, surviving the sinking of his Liberty ship, the SS Antoine Saugrain, and its top-secret cargo.

About the Author