Author William Geroux slated to speak at AMMV 34th Convention

Author William Geroux

William Geroux, author of The Ghost Ships of Archangel: The Arctic Voyage that Defied the Nazis, is scheduled to appear at AMMV’s 34th National Convention at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, MD on Friday, March 27th, 2020.

The Ghost Ships of Archangel is Geroux’s second book about the WWII Merchant Marine, and focuses on the “Murmansk Run” and the story of the fatal PQ-17 Convoy. Geroux previously appeared at the 2017 AMMV National Convention in Reno to support his first book, The Mathews Men.

William Geroux’s first book, The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boats, is the largely forgotten story of the U.S. Merchant Marine’s heroics and sacrifices in World War II, told through the adventures of Merchant Mariners from Mathews County, Virginia. Mathews, a rural outpost on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, has been a cradle of merchant sea captains and mariners since before the American Revolution. When America entered World War II in December 1941, Mathews mariners were scattered on freighters and tankers throughout the war zones, hauling vital war cargo. They and their ships became prime targets for German U-boats trying to choke off the Allied supply line. The U.S. Navy initially lacked the forces and inclination to protect the unarmed merchant ships, even in U.S. waters within sight of America’s coast, and the U-boats exacted a terrible toll. The mariners faced torpedo explosions, flaming oil slicks, storms, frigid water, shark attacks, and harrowing lifeboat odysseys—only to ship out again as soon as they’d returned to safety. The civilian U.S. Merchant Marine ended up suffering a higher casualty rate than any branch of America’s armed forces. Nearly every family in tiny Mathews (whose population during the war was roughly 7,500) had a personal stake in the fight, and none had a greater stake than the family of Capt. Jesse and Henrietta Hodges and their seven sons, who would experience the U-boat war to its fullest.


William Geroux spent 30 years as a newspaper reporter, much of it covering Hampton Roads for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, writing about everything from the military to politics to business to hurricanes to crime and punishment. He won numerous awards for breaking news coverage, feature writing and investigative journalism. After leaving journalism, he worked as a writer for Maersk Line Limited, a Norfolk-based subsidiary of one of the world’s largest commercial shipping lines. He lives in Virginia Beach, VA.

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