very good account of the sinking of the USS indianapolis, and the subsequent crusade by the young and brilliant Hunter Scott. Book is good start for anyone interested in the horror of this incident and the cover up,by the US Navy.However the real heroes are the crew of the Indianapolis, there plight & fight for justice. The book is a easy read,however i found Doug Stantons in harms way,covered the sinking & the ordeal of the crew far more in depth, and brought the horrors of the disaster straight at you.None the less great read
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A Tragic Injustice Finally Corrected24 Sep 2002
Jeffrey T. Munson
- Published on Amazon.com
Captain Charles Butler McVay, skipper of the USS Indianapolis, was court-martialed after the tragic sinking of his ship on July 30, 1945. Despite the objections from Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Ernest J. King, chief of U.S. Naval Operations, insisted that the court martial proceed. What occurred was one of the most incredible cases of injustice in U.S. Naval history. McVay was convicted for failure to steer in a zigzag pattern. This manuver is supposed to make a ship more difficult to hit in case of a torpedo attack, although this theory was completely disproved during the trial. The Japanese captain of the submarine which sunk the Indy was brought in to testify against McVay. It was his opinion that he still would have sunk the Indy regardless of the zigzagging. Another charge of failing to order abandon ship in a timely fashion was overturned. The survivors of the Indianapolis always felt that their captain was used as a scapegoat by the Navy to cover up their own mistakes, and they have spent years trying to clear their beloved captain's name. In 1996, a young boy named Hunter Scott was watching the movie Jaws. One of the characters in the film portrayed a survivor from the Indianapolis. After seeing the film, Hunter became more interested in the story of the Indy. He used its story as a theme for a history project he was working on. This 11-year old boy did the unthinkable. He made it his goal to clear McVay's name. He sent out numerous questionnaires to survivors and conducted personal interviews as well. Newspapers picked up on Hunter's crusade and soon the whole country was aware of his efforts. Appearances followed on Late Night with David Letterman as well as trips to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress. A meeting with the Senate Armed Services Committee took place on September 14, 1999. Hunter, with the help of Senator Bob Smith, told the tale of the Indianapolis and her survivors to the committee. By the time they were finished, they had swayed Senator John Warner, chairman of the committee. He now felt that McVay should be exonerated. The Senate resolution passed in October of 2000, but on July 11, 2001, Hunter received the news that McVay had been exonerated. Author Pete Nelson does a fine job of telling the story of the Indianapolis, her sinking, the struggle for survival, and the exoneration. I've read numerous books about the saga of the Indianapolis, but this is the first one I've read that explains the efforts of Hunter Scott. This is a truly moving book. We are lucky to have people such as Hunter Scott, who sacrificed so much for a person he never even met.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Left For Dead8 April 2003
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is a very exciting journey. It kept me wanting to read on. I really felt as if I were a part of the adventure of the combat. It was a great thriller and at the same time a great lesson in history. It is a war time classic. Any one who enjoys an action war thriller or a good non-fiction book would absolutely love to read this. I have a hard time reading but found this kept my interest. I do have to say that the book starts out a bit slow, but towards the middle it speeds up into a fast pace adventure of the Japenese sending a torpedo into the front of a ship. Amercian soldiers were stranded in the middle of nowhere. I would say that my favorite part of this book is how they get themselves into more danger as they try to work their way back home. The days they are stranded are full of death, mysteries, murders and cannibalism. The only negative part of this book I can think of would be that it is very full of graphic images of death, sharks shredding apart bodies and the suffering of those waiting to die. This book was just over 200 pages with large font. Easy reading and a great book for adults and teens. I would not recommend this book to a younger child for it's graphic contents. I think that because of the war that is going on in Iraq right now that it made this book more interesting and more real to me. It also made me think about how horrible war is. I think of how aweful it probably is out there for all those people fighting. So do yourself a favor and order this book online today. You won't be sorry.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
The dead don't care. The living do.20 Oct 2004
E. R. Bird
- Published on Amazon.com
In my experience as a children's librarian, when a kid comes up to me looking for information about the navy (and trust me, it happens) I usually end up throwing them headlong into the appropriate section of non-fiction books with the hope that follow-up questions will not be forthcoming. Needless to say, I don't know much about the navy. Fortunately, I've just read a navy-rific book that I may definitely recommend to little navy lovers everywhere (and, interestingly enough, navy haters too). "Left For Dead", has everything a good non-fiction story should. Action, adventure, shark infested waters, and a young optimistic hero who wins in the end. Though certain elements of this book rankled me at the most inappropriate of times, I have enough sense to see that in spite of its flaws, "Left For Dead", is an excellent encapsulation of how sometimes one boy can change history itself.
If you're like the hero of this story, eleven-year-old Hunter Scott, then you probably learned about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis as he did through the movie "Jaws". Remember that scene where Robert Shaw's talking with Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider about how he once served on that ship? Remember how he describes the sharks eating the men after their ship sank and that it took some five days to be rescued? Well after seeing that scene Hunter knew he'd found the perfect history fair project. Trouble was, the history books seemed to have obscured knowledge of the Indianapolis and its unlucky crew. So Hunter set about contacting the survivors and talking to them. As he did, one thing became incredibly clear to him. Many of the survivors were convinced that their captain, one Mr. Charles Butler McVay III, was wrongfully court-martialed for the sinking of the ship. Suddenly Hunter's involved in a quest that will take him to the halls of Washington, the sets of television shows, and into the public eye in general. He becomes the Indianpolis crews' last hope to restore dignity to the man they all respected. The only question is, can one kid really take on the Navy and make them apologize?
Author Pete Nelson is at his best when he's recounting the days of the Indianapolis and the events that led to its sinking. These passages are gripping and tight with tension. He opens with a man's experiences as he escapes the sinking vessel and has to contend with oil-filled seas, a fellow sailor who cannot swim, and most horrific of all, sharks. Then he flashes forward to Hunter interviewing the former crewmembers. Then it's back to the past, with insights into many different survivors' personal stories. Nelson looses some of this wonderful writing excitement when he tells Hunter's contemporary quest, but the book's still interesting. Hopefully the teens reading it won't mind long court sequences and Senatorial rigamarole. Nelson also has an odd tendancy to dissolve into funny descriptive sentences. For example, note the sentence, "...injustice is like the shadow cast by wrong - shine enough light on a shadow and it goes away". Or, more bizarrely, his comparison of moving a bill through Congress to Myst or Dungeons and Dragons. And the author is a fan of getting a little too wrapped up in the story he's trying to tell. Personally (and this is probably just my problem, so don't assume you'll object to this) I found the politics in this book grating. Yes, I'm happy that Senator Joe Scarborough moved Hunter's history project to his Pensacola office (thereby lending it much needed publicity). But I feel a deep moral repugnance towards Joe Scarborough so mentions of him, Newt Gingrich, and other politicians, with whom I have what can only be politely described as an abhorrence, hurt to read. Fortunately, Nelson doesn't linger on them (though the fact that Hunter describes himself in the book's preface as the president of his school's Young Republicans club gave me pause right from the get-go).
Still, Nelson has his fair share of wherewithal and canniness. He gives equal honor and appreciation to the tale told by Mochitsura Hashimoto (the man who sank the Indianapolis in the first place) as he does the Indianapolis's crew. And to me, his respect of Hashimoto is the ultimate display of the absurdity of war. Here we have good men that, in the course of WWII, killed one another. Nelson's strength lies in his equal respect of both sides during the conflict and his acknowledgement that both the Japanese and the American committed atrocities. Finally, the book simultaneously supports the Navy and condemns it for its intractability years after it made a mistake of count-martialing McVay. It's a delicate juggling act that Nelson passes off without too many lost balls.
Most non-fiction retellings of tragic or inspiring events try to simply display the facts of a matter without too much meddling. If you decide to read "Left For Dead", (85% is thrilling reading too), be prepared for a lot of Christian references and a distinct mindset of its own. Also be prepared for a truly heartwarming story about a boy and the men he set out to fight for. The book's a little didactic a little too often, but it tells a tale that desperately needed to be heard. With ample pictures, a wonderful bibliography, an index, and more facts than you can swing a hammer at, this book is factual and written well. You may not agree with everything it says, but you'll have a hard time not respecting its story and the heroes in it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Left for Dead- A must read15 May 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
The USS Indianapolis. If this name doesn't sound familiar to you...then you might want to consider reading Left for Dead. Left for Dead is a Book based on a true story about Hunter Scott, a Florida Schoolboy who did a History Fair project on the USS Indianapolis. This doesn't really sound significant at first, but the book tells you the history of the ship. The ship was piloted by Captain Charles Mcvay III. It was a cruiser ship, and one of the fastest in the navy. The Ship was always considered lucky, until it was severely damaged by a kamikaze plane. The ship luck ran out, it got torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank. The captain was court-martialed (brought to military court) and he was the one held responsible for the ship sinking. There were quite a few injustices. It was not the captain's fault the ship sunk, and the navy ignored the SOS signal. The navy also even had the audacity to bring in the sub captain that sank the ship, and purposely translated incorrectly what he said to defend the navy. Hunter Scott then found out all about this. His project got National attention and him along with the survivors cleared Mcvay's good name. That is only a very brief summary of the book. The book has lots of neat things in it that kept my attention while I read this incredible story. It gave explicit detail of the sinking, trials etc. Form some of the survivors' points of view. In the book was also the story of how and why Hunter Scott chose the Indianapolis as his History Fair project. The book also has some pages (about 20) of Hunter Scott with the survivors with the survivors, pictures of the survivors during WWII, a picture of the Japanese submarine captain, a map of the area near where it sunk and even a picture of the ship. History isn't the only thing in this book that caught my eye. There was a lot of interesting scientific information that really wowed me (this is coming from a kid not too interested in science.) All sorts of stuff was in the book about trauma, the nervous system and psychic injury. It was very interesting stuff, and it explained to me a lot of things about flashbacks. The Stuff about the dreams relating to reality fascinated me to. These along with other scientific facts explained why the sailors had flashbacks and bad dreams about the sinking, there was also some very interesting stuff about how things like Sun damage and exposure killed sailors who weren't killed by sharks. This book incorporated all of this stuff and makes it Interesting and entertaining. If I read about stuff like this in a history textbook, or if it were like stuff you'd find in a history book, I would probably be so bored to death I'd fall asleep and when I woke up I'd want to burn it. The science stuff was also made very interesting as well, and was also explained in a way that didn't boggle my mind or keep me up all night with my eyes wide open trying to figure out what all of it meant. I know I'm only 14, but I know unless you are a scientist any adult would get confused if the scientific knowledge wasn't explained the way it was. This is a great book. Pick it up and start reading it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Left for Dead(An amazing story of men aboard the U.S.S Indy)3 Oct 2003
A Kid's Review
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
Left for Dead was the best historical book I have ever read. Men aboard the U.S.S Indionapolis died in numbers for many days. 350 men survived a wreck of an enemy sub's torpedo out of 1400. Men were starneded in the middle of the Ocean for days. The U.S. Navy found them after 5 days and needed to blame this devastation on somebody. They chose the captain, Captain McVay of the Indy. The surviving crew tried to clear his name from his court-martial but never got through th Navy. They know it's not their captain's fault. A boy comes along named Hunter Scott. Would a boy be able to clear McVay's name? Will His history fair project lead a wrong in Navy history to a right? This is a book that you'll read for hours at night without puting it down about the men's history aboard the Indy and Hunter Scott's epic tale of how he cleared McVay's name.