Sunday, April 27, 2014

Out of the Depths - Edgar Harrell. USMC

Out of the Depths is the true story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, during WWII.  Written by one of the survivors, it recounts his enlistment, service, harrowing ordeal and his survival.  As he spent 5 days in the open sea, he watched his fellow shipmates sickened, attacked by sharks, taken by hallucinations, and separated by the ocean swells.  During the entire ordeal, he turned to his God and trusted Him for his salvation - both physical and spiritual.

Reviewing a non-fiction book is always difficult, especially one with such a horrific, true story of shipwreck and survival.  Who am I to look at this man's indescribable memories and suggest he should have recounted them differently?  I cannot even imagine the pain and suffering that occurred, let alone the emotional turmoil required to relive them through telling his tale for others.  And yet, he does so - not for the drama or any recognition, but to chronicle his journey of faith from head knowledge to heart-felt passion about his dependence on the God who saved him from the depths.  He does so to inspire faith and patriotism in others, and in this he succeeds.

Given my reluctance to criticize this man's tale, there were a few things that could have made the story more reader-friendly.  There were a lot of naval details included, which could have enriched the story if I understood them; overall, the author did a good shop of describing ships' sizes and travels, but there were several sections I glossed over because there were a lot of technical details that weren't explained.  Additionally, the quotes from other survivors that are sprinkled throughout the book lent weight to the horrors of the situation, but they felt disconnected from the story itself.

The book does do a good job of opening the reader's eyes to the horrors of war and the unspeakable things our troops go through to ensure our freedom.  For this reason, and for the undeniable glory given to God, I give this book 4 stars for the story it has to tell.

You can find more about the author, the book, the crew, and other resources regarding the USS Indianapolis HERE.
You can order the book there, or HERE (includes an excerpt).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

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