Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Book Review: Left For Dead, A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis by Pete Nelson with a preface by Hunter Scott
Link for review:
In this review I shared that I have a dear friend whose first husband did not survive the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. His name was Charles Roberts. They'd been married less than a year when he perished. She was a widow at age 18. She does not know if he perished on the ship or in the ocean. She does not want to know. In reading a book where I have a personal connection to it, made it more tangible, and certainly emotionally gripping.
During the summer of 1996, Hunter Scott, age 11, watched the movie Jaws. One of the characters Captain Quint told a story about surviving after his ship the USS Indianapolis was sunk. He'd shared his ordeal of surviving shark attacks. With this in mind Hunter Scott decided to use this subject as his history fair project for school, the story of the USS Indianapolis. His project turned in to a history making project. It changed the course of history for himself, for the men who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, for the families of all Sailors and Marines who were assigned to the USS Indianapolis, and it changed the course of history for the Indianapolis' Captain. Hunter began by trying to find out as much information as possible at his local library, but little was available. Through an ad in a military newspaper he was able to contact survivors of the Indianapolis. His first contact person was a man living in Alabama, Maurice Glenn Bell. Hunter contacted over 100 men, hearing from some. Some of these men were willing to share their story, photographs, caps, and other memorabilia. Hunter ended up with a large collection of artifacts and saved material memories from the Indianapolis' survivors. What started as a history fair project turned in to a goal of exonerating Captain Charles Butler McVay, a career Navy Officer who was wrongly court marshaled. The Navy had been at fault, yet used and misused McVay as a gross outlet for their mistakes.
For a recap of the story of the USS Indianapolis:
During the summer of 1945 the USS Indianapolis CA-35 (a heavy cruiser) was chosen to carry "Little Boy" from San Francisco, California, to the island of Tinian, in the Pacific. Afterwards the Indianapolis was to practice or train near the island of Leyte. The Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine early on July 30. Many men survived the ships sinking by jumping in to the deep waters of the Pacific, but it would be the shark infested waters that would take the lives of many more. The surviving men were rescued on August 2 and 3.
"Of the 1,197 crew members aboard the Indianapolis when she sailed for Leyte, 317 men survived."
This book goes in to detail about what happens to a human body while in the salty ocean. It breaks it down how the body reacts to the inability to have drinking water and what happens if we drink salty ocean water. There is a section in the book on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We are also told what being in the sun day after day with the reflection of the water will do to the body, especially the eyes. The book also shares with us survivor stories in their own words.
This is a must have book for any middle school or high school library, for three reasons.
1. It is the story of men who gave their life for our freedom.
2. It is the story of an 11 year old boy and what he accomplished in changing the course of history.
3. It is the story of the depth of loyalty and commitment and valor of those in the military.
Published in 2003 by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books
Young Adult Non-fiction/USS Indianapolis/World War II/Navy/Pacific War
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