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February 26, 2020 – (Key West, FL).  Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series to feature New York Times Bestselling author Michael Tougias 

On Thursday, March 5, beginning at 6:00pm, Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes Distinguished Speaker Series guest Michael Tougias at Old City Hall, 510 Greene Street. Tougias will offer a presentation featuring his latest book, “U-Boats So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII,” and his New York Times bestseller “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue,” which was co-written with Casey Sherman, and later made into a movie.

Tougias’ two-part multi-media offering features many historic photo slides including ones of the ships, images from both sea rescues and of the key people involved, maps of the action and examines the courage that emerged in many forms in each of the historic events.

“This will be an edge-of-your-seat presentation,” says Tougias. “By using slides, I’m able to transport the audience right into the events and give them a “you are there” feel. I even have a slide of the U-boat commander that sank the Heredia and the moment his particular U-boat was bombed.”

A prolific and versatile writer who has published 30 books in almost every category including history, young adult, humor, nature, and historical fiction, Tougias is best known for his survival-at-sea books which include “A Storm too Soon,” “Rescue of the Bounty,” “Fatal Forecast,” and “The Finest Hours.”

“I became interested in survival-at-sea when I learned about a sea rescue and tragedy off the coast of Massachusetts during the great Blizzard of 1978,” he says.  “I knew I had a great subject because a marine radio operator on land recorded every message from the boats in distress that night.”

The result was his book “Ten Hours Until Dawn,” which was later selected by the American Library Association as one of the top books of the year. His passion for history and true survival stories prompted “U-boats So Close to Home,” which he cowrote in 2013 with Boston Globe journalist Alison O’Leary, interviewing the boy (by then, 81) featured in the story and gathering source material.

“The research was incredibly exciting, especially finding the diary of the U-boat Commander who sank the ship the family was on,” he says.  “That way we were able to tell the story from both perspectives.”

Tougias also gives inspirational presentations for business groups and colleges sharing what he has learned from survivors and rescuers about overcoming adversity, making sound decisions, and leadership. He will be on hand after the presentation to sign his books, all of which will be available for purchase.

Distinguished Speaker Series presentation tickets are $5 for KWAHS members, $10 for non-members, and are available at, click ‘tickets.” Early ticket purchase is recommended.  Sponsored by the Helmerich Trust, Southernmost Beach Resort, and the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. For more information, contact Kassandra Collette at 305-295-6616 x 114.  Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.

Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes New York Times bestselling author Michael Tougias as Distinguished Speaker Series guest at Old City Hall, 510 Greene Street, on Thursday, March 5, beginning at 6:00pm. Tickets can be reserved at click ‘tickets’.