Brief, straightforward, and well-worth reading: Review of “Out of the Depths” by Edgar Harrell USMC

Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

This brief memoir of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, written by survivor Edgar Harrell USMC, will appeal almost exclusively to history buffs. That’s unfortunate, because as far as WWII stories go, this very short account of one man’s survival against all odds would benefit any reader. Harrell’s experience encourages us to trust in God at all times, but also importantly, it keeps truth from being buried in the dust bin of history. In fact, Harrell’s account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the ordeal of survival that followed are not the main focus of this book; rather, Harrell’s main emphasis seems to be on setting the story straight and fully exposing the political cover-up that followed the tragedy, in particular exonerating Captain McVay, who became the Navy’s scapegoat in the affair.
I enjoyed this book- fan of history that I am- and for the most part I appreciated the straightforward, matter-of-fact style of writing- it certainly made for easy reading. Harrell’s depiction of the three days he spent drifting in the Pacific Ocean, waiting for rescue while watching those around him die felt very detached and almost emotionless…yet, at some level I understand that emotional detachment might be the only way to write about and relive such a horrific experience.
I appreciated the inclusion of quotes and brief comments made by other survivors, as they added to the idea of this being more than one man’s story. I was sorry that my Kindle did not support or download the many pictures that were featured in this book as I would have liked to have seen them.
If your experience with historical non-fiction has been yawning, falling asleep, or giving up a few chapters into some thick, boring military tome then you may want to consider giving “Out of the Depths” a chance. This book is so short it would be hard not to finish it, and although it is somewhat dispassionate it is far from dry.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


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