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Sailing to Freedom is one of the most internationally famous Estonian sea stories of all time. It is a story of escape where men, women and children face the ocean and the authorities of the Red regime.
Sailing to Freedom tells the story of an 8,247 nautical mile long maritime journey fraught with risks across the Atlantic Ocean. Sixteen Estonians, including four small children, undertook this journey on board a little sailboat made for sailing only in coastal waters. On its journey to the Promised Land, the sailboat Erma passes through the picturesque Göta Canal in Sweden, crosses the stormy North Sea that is littered with sea mines, sails through Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal, and reaches America after numerous adventures in crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The arrival of the Estonians in Norfolk Harbour in December of 1945 turned into a major event that the international press wrote about throughout the world, and which US President Harry S. Truman personally spoke about later.
The story about the Estonian boat refugees written in New York by Voldemar Veedam and Carl B. Wall in 1952 became an international bestseller after it was published. It was translated into a total of 30 languages and the story was very close to becoming a Hollywood feature film in the 1960s.
The jubilee edition of the book, published as part of the centenary celebrations of the Republic of Estonia, includes a large number of photographs of the maritime journey that it describes, a map of the route it took, archival materials, information about the authors, and a glossary of marine terminology.
The President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid has written the foreword for the book. Additionally, the book contains excerpts from President Truman’s speeches, who stood up in defence of the Estonian boat refugees in those days.
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