Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of the Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis by Edgar Harrell, USMC with David Harrell



Review: Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of the Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
Edgar Harrell, USMC with David Harrell
Bethany House Publishers
2005, 2014

I was a little hesitant about this book at first, but after the first few pages I could not put it down.  It is the story of the USS Indianapolis as told by one of the survivors of its sinking.  Harrell relates his experiences in simple, convincing detail.  His description of training and life on the ship revealed the same experiences found in several other firsthand accounts lending authenticity early on to this story.

As he continues certain questions arise as to the conduct of the war and the level of secrecy that was maintained by the leadership at the highest levels.  And finally as the Indianapolis is sent out without escort or knowledge of the danger they could and did encounter the reader begins to understand the repercussions of policies in place at the time.  The ship is sunk by a submarine, the crew left to fend for themselves without any action to question the fate of the ship when it did not arrive as expected. 

After his return stateside he and others set about the task of clearing their captain’s name after he had born the weight of guilt for the disaster.  Yes, according to this book, the government was definitely culpable in a cover up to keep the populace from knowing the extent of the event and the lack of response.  The survivors did finally succeed in their efforts, years later and only after the captain had endured the shame and hate spewed at him.

But that is not the total point of this story.  Harrell’s reason for telling this is much deeper and totally related to the God that he believed remained in control of this situation the entire time.  In the final chapter Harrell comes to grips with the need of forgiveness---even toward the commander of the submarine that ordered the attack on his ship. 

I do recommend this book fully.  If you have ever wondered how somebody got through a really tough time in their life, this one will give you lots of insight as to the part God played and the part the person played. 

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for this review.

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