Monday, October 29, 2012

Left for Dead by Pete Nelson

Left for DeadThis book is a non-fictional account of a boy's attempt to clear the name of a World War II captain, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. As you should know, the first, and only, time an atomic bomb was used occured during WW II and quickly ended the conflict with Japan. The USS Indianapolis had a long, distinguished history in the Navy, and it was chosen to carry the parts needed to build the huge, dangerous bomb across the ocean. However, the navy withheld some important information from Captain McVay, and the Indianapolis was sunk, after completing the mission, by a Japanese submarine. Many men died quickly from the explosions and fire, but many others died slowly as they drifted for days in the ocean. Injuries, hallucinations, dehydration, and sharks took the lives of hundreds of additional soldiers. In the end, about 900 crew members died, only 317 men survived, and Captain McVay was court-martialed and found guilty of endangering the lives of his crew. Fifty years later, a young boy named Hunter Scott was looking for a topic for a history project. He chose to take on the task of challenging the navy and officially clearing the captain's record. The book is his story.

I found it helpful that the chapters broke the incident into manageable parts. There were stories about the war, the crew, the mission, the attack, surviving at sea, the rescue, and the trial. Some of the events after the sinking were very inspirational, while others were very disturbing. On one hand, there were crewmen risking their lives to save others, but on the other hand, there were hallucinating crewmen who were a danger to others. Readers who enjoy war history will probably love this book. For most of us, I think, some of the sections were a little too factual, but other parts were intriguing. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I'm glad I read it.

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