Out of the Depths
By Edgar Harrell
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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
The Inspiring Story of a World War II Hero’s Miraculous Survival at Sea
July 30, 1945–The USS Indianapolis and its 1,196-man crew is making its way toward a small island in the South Pacific. The ship is sailing unescorted, assured by headquarters the waters are safe. It is midnight, and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend the night in their hot and muggy quarters below. Fresh off a top-secret mission to deliver uranium for the atomic bombs that would ultimately end World War II, they are unaware their ship is being watched. Minutes later, six torpedoes are slicing toward the Indy . . .
For five horrifying days and nights after their ship went down, Harrell and his shipmates had to fend for themselves in the open seas. Plagued by dehydration, exposure, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks, their numbers were cruelly depleted before they were miraculously rescued. This is one man’s story of courage, ingenuity, and faith in God’s providence in the midst of the worst naval disaster in U.S. history.
Why I Choose this Book:
I’ve been interested in the story of the USS Indianapolis
for several years now. We have a friend, Bob Welsh, who is a storyteller and has an amazing talent of weaving true historical accounts into verse. I’ve sat spellbound many times while listening to his poem, Sleep Well, Ye Men of Indy’s Crew
. (The poem is rather long, but well, well worth listening to!) A couple of years ago Bob even brought one of few survivors to meet our family – it was history come to life.
What I Thought About this Book:
For some reason this book was extremely hard for me to get into. Like, over two years hard to get into. I started it in 2014 and picked it up several times during the next 24 months, but it didn’t hold my interest. Then I picked it up a couple days ago and like a switch was flipped, I hardly wanted to put the book down. It was incredibly interesting and pulled me in and made me almost feel the horror myself.
The story is amazing – really a miracle, and I don’t use that word lightly. The author is very clear that he believes it’s only by the hand of God that they were saved. He describes how so many different elements worked together to create their rescue, and it’s astounding.
True war books always leave me sad. It’s horrible and the cost of life is staggering. I’m so very incredibly thankful though for those who offered and gave their very lives so that we could live in freedom.
I’m so amazed at how the survivors were able to hang on. I have no clue how anyone could have a strong enough will to fight through what they did as the days slipped away in agonizing pain and terror with little to no hope of being rescued. The group of men from the Indianapolis are truly astonishing.
The crew from the Indianapolis unknowingly played a huge part in ending the war and yet because of Navy politics weren’t fully recognized for around 50 years. I feel honored to have been able to thank one of the survivors in person for fighting for our freedom.
This book isn’t for kids. It describes in some detail the horribleness of what the crew endured and it was gruesome. At the same time though, I don’t think the author went into too much detail, it just isn’t suitable for kids.
I’m giving Out of the Depths Four Stars (eight out of ten).
*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*