A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis

Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis

Gardner, Sharon L

LEFT FOR DEAD: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis, by Pete Nelson with a preface by Hunter Scott. New York, N.Y.: Delacorte, 2002. 224 pp. $15.95. The last voyage of the USS Indianapolis was a mission to carry-to Tinian Island from California–components of the first two atomic bombs. The Indianapolis then sailed to Guam before heading to the Philippines, without escort. Of the 1,197 men aboard the ship on 30 July 1945 approximately 300 were killed immediately when Japanese torpedoes struck her without warning. The story of the sinking has been told many times before, but last year it was told again, from a totally different perspective, when a sixth-grade student, 11-year-old Hunter Scott, chose the tragic sinking as his history-fair project. Pete Nelson tells the story of both the Indianapolis and of Hunter Scott, and both are impressive. Nelson walks the reader through the unusual and sometimes bizarre events leading up to the sinking of the Indianapolis. He then proceeds to Scott’s five-year quest to right the injustice to Capt. Charles McVay, the Indianapolis commanding officer-and the only ship’s captain to be court-martialed at the end of World War II. Although the ship’s survivors had tried for over 50 years to clear McVay’s name, their efforts were in vain. Hunter Scott was successful, though, because of perseverance and his extensive research. His efforts were rewarded in October 2000, after he had appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The two incredible stories in this book (written for young adult readers, ages 12 and up) are a testament to what one person can accomplish through bravery and persistence.

Copyright Navy League of the United States Feb 2003

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