I'm not much of a war buff, but the harrowing tales of the survivors speak loudly to my heart. Don't give up. This one is no exception. The USS Indianapolis (the "Indy") carried and delivered parts to bombs that ended the war. After delivery, they were sunk in shark infested waters by an enemy submarine. Due to failure on many fronts, no one knew they were missing. They were left to tread water for five days. By a miraculous chain of events, a pilot happened to spot them due to trouble he was having with his own plane. That wasn't until the forth evening.
As you can imagine, most of the men aboard that ship died. They were either blown to bits, suffered hyperthermia from the water, or were eaten by sharks. Their faces were blistered. They suffered from dehydration and delusions. Some died from drinking the salt water. Most, like I said, were eaten by sharks. For days, they were out there surrounded by sharks. Most of them were wounded. They were covered with boils. The survivors were separated by several miles in the ocean. By the time rescue rafts started being dropped, they were too weak to climb in them. Even in the planes, the could not even sit up. Their bodies were laid out flat side by side. After all of this, when they arrived home weeks later, they were not greeted by fanfare of any kind due to a Navy cover up.
I thought the book offered a unique perspective to this tragedy. Mr. Harrell explains how much of the war was fueled by religious extremists. The Japanese kamikaze pilots worshipped their emperor as God and were willing to die for him. Most belonged to a form of ancestor worship called Shintotism. They made fierce and reckless moves to get honor through death. Failing on a mission or being captured was like being dead to their family.
On the other side of this is Edgar Harrell who was young, but had a dynamic faith in God. He prayed and cried out to the God of heaven. He quoted scripture. "Even in the depths of the sea, Thou art with me." He and many of his comrades were crying out to God even over their bloated tongues (from dehydration). He said that by the forth day, even the atheists were calling out to God.
Edgar knew that he had been rescued for a reason. He continues to this day to share his story for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. The Lord bless him.
This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review.
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