“In Harm’s Way” by Douglas Stanton- this is a book that everyone should read. This is an unbelievable story of the sinking of USS Indianapolis in July 1945. Most of us know the story of the ship that delivered the atomic bombs that eventually was dropped on Japan to end the World War II. After completing its task the ship was on a routine voyage and got torpedo by a Japanese submarine. This book is giving us an inside look at the main characters and makes it very personal. It tells the story of incredible heroism, dedication and will to live by the American soldiers, who were in the Pacific ocean without food and water for over four days, trying to stay alive while constantly being attacked by sharks, burned buy the sun during the day and cold temp during the night.
The author did a great job describing the implausible mistakes that lead to one of the worst disaster in the US Navy history. It started with bad intelligence that stated no Japanize submarine activates in the area where the Indianapolis was suppose travel, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The upcoming events showed a complete breakdown in communication, and negligence of the Navy officers, who ignored all the warning signs and caused the death of hundreds of Navy sailors. What is even more disturbing is the Navy covered up and shifted the blame to the USS Indianapolis Captain McVay who was court martialed for a failing to follow evasive maneuvers. McVay had a strong support from his crew but he was found guilty and that in fact ended his military career.
This is a sad and great book that reminds us about the sadness and horrors of II World War.
“Horse Soldiers” by Doug Stanton it is a great book, that shows a very realistic picture of the beginning of the War in Afghanistan after the Sep 11th terrorist attack. The book illustrates the involvement of special forces soldiers and CIA agents, who operated deep inside Afghanistan, fighting along local solders against the Taliban. For me this book was very educational. I thought I knew a lot about the Afghanistan War but Stanton shows a whole other side of it. Typically when we follow the media we only get a glimpse of the Wars being fought somewhere far away from our country or when we see fictional movies about Navy Seals fighting overwhelming forces we can only get a partial representation of the day to day lives of our solders. This book describes the imperfections and mistakes made by the US Forces ranging from sending the soldiers without proper supplies, dropping supplies in the area were the local people can easily steal it, dropping bombs on our own troops to the “shady dealing” with local War Lords and more. Stanton also makes the soldiers very real, regular guys , with wives and kids, with their own insecurities, guys who have to deal with fear and death on daily basis. This book made an impression on me. I like Stanton’s writing style but I find this book little “dry” and with tons of characters, I sometimes found it hard to for figure out who is who. I think Stanton’s “In Harm’s Way” was little better book but I still liked the Horse Soldiers a lot!!
On the other note: regardless of our political views we should be thankful to our soldiers for their sacrifice and for keeping us safe.