Author: Edgar Harrell, USMC with David Harrell
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1260-4

What happened next can only be described as an amazing display of divine sovereignty -  an unbelievable series of events that not only saved my physical life, but also sent into motion the rescue of many souls…,” Edgar Harrell writes in his book, Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

At one hundred and ninety-two pages, this hardcover targets those who want to learn more about the famous WWII ship and its demise. With no profanity, the scenes of exposure at sea, hallucinations, salt-water poisoning, shark attacks, and death would not be appropriate for immature readers. With short excerpts from other survivors, several black and white photographs and a helpful map are included.

After a foreword by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North and an introduction by the author’s son, Harrell retells the tragic story of what happened in 1945 when the USS Indianapolis and its almost twelve hundred-man crew sunk in the South Pacific after being plummeted by six torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-58. Only three hundred and seventeen men survived five days in the shark-infested ocean. 

Beginning with a short biography of the writer’s life and when he joined the Marines, the history of the USS Indianapolis is written from when he arrived on board. Chosen by President Roosevelt as his Ship of State, the heavy cruiser left San Francisco after being retrofitted, landed in Pearl Harbor, delivered enriched uranium and essential parts for the atom bomb to Tinian, and was headed to Leyte when attacked.

Unknown to Navy command, the remaining crew abandoned ship before the Indy Maru found its grave at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Drifting aimlessly at sea for four to five days, men experienced a living hell as many succumbed to a painful death. Harrell emotionally pens heartbreaking stories of depression, insanity, and dying as the sailors try to survive among frenzied sharks, no food or water, and little hope. 

After being rescued, the seamen tried to keep their captain from being court-martialed in a cover-up, but he is not cleared until decades later. Though few are alive today, there remains an unbroken bond of those torturous days.

Giving God the complete control for allowing such a devastating event in history to occur, Harrell is convinced he lived through the horrifying ordeal for a specific reason – even if it is to tell others how the Lord was always with him. A sorrowful yet heroic read, it brings to focus the inhumanities of war. 

Thanks to the author for his patriotic service during World War II along with writing his memoir and to Finn Partners for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

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