It's an unlikely beginning to what became a momentous, history-changing history fair project. Eleven-year-old Hunter Scott was watching Jaws
one day when he first heard about the World War II sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Intrigued, he investigated further, and discovered a shocking, heartbreaking story behind what should have been a tale of heroism and patriotism. Torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the Indianapolis went down in minutes, taking more than 800 sailors with it. Several hundred survived, but only after spending days in the open sea with sharks diminishing their numbers hourly. This is only the beginning of the tragedy, however. In an effort to make an example of the ship's captain, and in order to deflect blame from itself, the U.S. Navy unfairly court-martialed the captain, painfully changing the lives of all the men involved.
Basing much of his text on young Hunter Scott's research, author Pete Nelson does a fine job of presenting this story through the eyes of many of the survivors. Old and new photos allow readers to know many of the men of the ship, and personal accounts reveal the horrors of those days in the ocean--and later in the courtroom. A bittersweet ending will leave the reader pensive and deeply moved. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter