LEFT TO DIE: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau

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9780671748739: LEFT TO DIE: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau
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Examines the mystery and controversy surrounding a devastating tragedy in U.S. naval history--the sinking of the U.S.S. Juneau in 1942, in which nearly seven hundred lives were lost

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From Kirkus Reviews:

From Kurzman (Fatal Voyage, A Killing Wind, etc.), a telling rundown on a WW II disaster that seldom rates more than a footnote in standard chronicles. On the night of November 12, 1942, a small American flotilla engaged in a furious battle with Japanese warships off Guadalcanal. The next morning, while the surviving US vessels were limping toward safe harbor, a torpedo from an undetected submarine slammed into the already crippled Juneau. The missile touched off below- deck explosions that sent the light cruiser to the bottom in seconds. Convinced that all hands had been lost, the task force commander maintained radio silence and cleared the area. As it happened, however, over 140 of the doomed ship's 700-man crew lived through the blast and were plunged into the shark-infested sea: when a belated rescue effort was launched almost a week later, there were only ten barely sane castaways left to save. Drawing on interviews with survivors and on archival sources, Kurzman offers harrowing tales of the ordeals experienced by the quick and the dead; among the latter were all five brothers from the Waterloo, Iowa, Sullivan family, who (against naval policy) had served together on a single craft. Addressed as well are the oversights and blunders that, despite repeated aerial sightings, delayed a systematic recovery operation that probably could have saved a hundred or more sailors. While punishments were quietly meted out to culpable officers, the author notes that the home front (diverted by sympathetic coverage of the Sullivans' loss) never received a full accounting of a calamity that ranks among the most agonizing in the annals of the US military. Kurzman's evenhanded and absorbing report not only bridges a long-standing gap in the history books but pays fitting tribute to those lost. (Photos--16 pages--not seen) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

On November 13, 1942, during the naval battle of Guadalcanal, a Japanese submarine torpedoed the cruiser U.S.S. Juneau , killing most of its 700-plus crew. Some 150 survivors watched in dismay as the rest of the task force sailed over the horizon, its commander, Captain Gilbert C. Hoover, having decided that it was too dangerous to pick them up. Due to communications foul-ups combined with gross negligence, rescuers did not arrive until eight days later, by which time only 10 Juneau crewmen remained alive. Kurzman's skillful recounting of the nightmarish events in the water, reconstructed from interviews with five of the survivors and with relatives of the other five will not be soon forgotten by readers--especially the horrifying shark frenzies. The book reveals details of the Navy's investigation and its decision to quietly bury the tragic story with this official statement: "Let the Juneau be remembered simply as the ill-fated ship on which the celebrated Sullivan brothers courageously died fighting when it went down, bringing new glory on the U.S. Navy." The author of the acclaimed Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis has re-created another memorable disaster story.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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