Left for Dead Paperback – 1 Nov 2003
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" Two history lessons run concurrently through this exciting, life-affirming book about war heroics and justice . . . which proves without question the impact one student can have on history." -- "Booklist"
" Young readers . . . will no doubt be inspired by the youth' s tenacity-- and by the valor of those who served on the "Indianapolis,"" -- "The Horn Book Magazine
"Two history lessons run concurrently through this exciting, life-affirming book about war heroics and justice . . . which proves without question the impact one student can have on history."--"Booklist"
"Young readers . . . will no doubt be inspired by the youth's tenacity--and by the valor of those who served on the "Indianapolis.""--"The Horn Book Magazine
A Christopher Award Winner
An ALA-YALSA Best Nonfiction for Young Adults Book
Praise for "Left for Dead"
Compelling, dreadful, and amazing. "VOYA "
This exciting, life-affirming book about war heroics and justice . . . proves without question the impact one student can have on history. "Booklist"
Well written and well documented this excellent presentation fills a void in most World War II collections "School Library Journal"
Young readers . . . will no doubt be inspired by the youth s tenacity and by the valor of those who served on the "Indianapolis." "The Horn Book"
"From the Hardcover edition.""
From the Inside Flap
Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS "Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship sank in 14 minutes. More than 1,000 men were thrown into shark-infested waters. Those who survived the fiery sinking--some injured, many without life jackets--struggled to stay afloat in shark-infested waters as they waited for rescue. But the United States Navy did not even know they were missing. The Navy needed a scapegoat for this disaster. So it court-martialed the captain for "hazarding" his ship. The survivors of the "Indianapolis knew that their captain was not to blame. For 50 years they worked to clear his name, even after his untimely death. But the navy would not budge--until an 11-year-old boy named Hunter Scott entered the picture. His history fair project on the "Indianapolis soon became a crusade to restore the captain's good name and the honor of the men who served under him.See all Product Description
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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.
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.
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.
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.