Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mood of the book

The mood of this book is sadness and despair. The amount of deaths because of this horrific event was terrible. The loss of these crewmember was heart wrenching, and at some points hard to bare. At the beginning of the novel, Bob McGuiggan explained, "Going out to sea was the worst part, and coming back- that was the best part of hell." It's hard to think that some of those exact men thinking the same thing never returned home. During the shark attack stage, I was most effected. In chapter 7, GusIn one chapter, a second-class seaman, John Spinelli, kept hope in being rescued, "We are going to be rescued, someboy's gonna find us one of these days." It so sad to think about how much hope some of these men had, even during the rough days.

Most important to the story

I think the most important element to the story are the events. From the time the book starts to the time it ends, each new event brings despair, sadness, and heart break. When the men arrive at Tinain Island, they believe the mission is over, they accomplished what they set out to do, and getting home would be easy. This took a turn for the worst when the topedoes struck the Indy, made the crewmembers jump over board, and then it proceeded to sink. The events tell the story, each one makes you feel the pain they endured, and makes you so greatful for their service. In the end, as the surivors are being rescued, all I could feel was excitement and complete happiness. The fact that 300 men were still alive after 5 days was sort of suprising. With all the things that with wrong, with no food or water, having to deal with injuries, and avoiding shark attacks, those 300 men endured it all and survived it.

Main idea of the book

I believe the main idea of the is to make sure no one forgets about what is known as "the worst naval attack at sea in U.S. history." In Harm's Way was written for th pulic to see how the crewmemebers felt during the mission, after, and the effects it had on them. The emphasis Stantnon puts on the explosion and the shark attacks breaks hearts. You makes you greatful and proud of the men and now women that fight for the freedom and rights of our country. This book is about the secret mission of dropping off atomic bomb parts, and the dangers because of the Japanese on the the return home.

Three major incidents

1. The goal of this secret mission was to drop off critical parts of Little Boy (atomic bomb) at Tinian Island undetected. The crew believed this was the easy part of the mission, and once they completetd it and were on their way home, they assumed they were finished and the return voyage would be effortless. However on their way home, something happened that was highly unexpected. The fog became increasingly thick and the captains believed since no one was looking for the Indy, it wouldn't be spotted. Due to the captains' decisions to stop their "zigzag" motion, the Japanese picked up noise by sonar. The reason for this "zigzag" technique was to stay off the radar, and avoid making any noise but which they obiviously failed to do.

2. Next, Indy was struck by two torpedoes by the Japanese. After about 13 minutes, the ship capsized killing about 100 of the crew instantly. The rest of the crew abandoned ship and were left straded in the ocean. And all communication services, food, water, and supply sunk with the Indianapolis. These men didn't know whether they would live or die, and unfortunately many had succumbed to starvation, hypothermia, injuries, and other diseases. But the worst part is that these deaths weren't amoung the worst. At least 200 died because of shark attacks. Many describe "feed time" as one of their biggest fears in the world. Some of these men had to sit by as they watched their friends, crew mates be eaten alive by these beastly animals.

3. Within 5 days, what was left of the crew of the USS Indianapolis were resuced. Suprisingly, 300 of the 900 crewmembers survived.  If it wasn't for the the oil spills surrounding the crew in the water, the plane would never have found these men.

The author's purpose

Based on the comments of the readers and critics, and from the content of the book itself I believe the purpose of this book is to inform and express. Stanton wrote this book after much research, and many interviews from the surviving crew members to record their stories, evenutally creating In Harm's Way. The book tells a story of the struggles these men went through, the battles they fought, and the losses they had except. For example, before each chapter there is an exact quote from one of the men along with his picture. The quote has to do with the chapter's focus and allows readers to actually visualize what the men looked like, and their thoughts about the tragedy or how it affect them. This small excerpts help show how real this occurance was. For example, Chapter 6 is title "Hope Afloat," and the crew memeber displayed talks about what he fanisized about while stranded in the water, how he could not wait to see his parents, and prayed to God that one day he would be able to (Jack Miner). This book is informative because it dicusses what happened that day, on July 29th, 1945. Stanton writes about exactly how the ship- Indianapolis; how it was torpedoed by a Japenese attack submarine and evetually sunk, the struggles for safety once the ship sunk, the amount of deaths, and the ones that survived.

What kind of person is the author?

Based on the book, I believe the author is a person that really enjoys history. He does an excellent job of gathering information about the attack, and the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Stanton likes history, but particularly during WWII, which is the same time this event took place. He didn't start off writing about this stroy to make it into a book, but just a short article for the newpaper. As he traveled to Indianapolis to met with the survivors, he realized there way more to the story than a 5,000-word article could handle. After meeting with the survivors of the tragic incident that happened in 1945, he decided to create a book; one that tells the story of the event, the people that endured it, and the outcome (Stanton-Biography). Because of this I believe Doug Stanton is a caring man who wanted to write a book that would help Amercians never forget what is regarded as "the worst naval disaster at sea in U.S. history."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Compare and Contrast

The last book I read for class was called Hiroshima. This book was about the atomic bomb that was dropped on Japan, and the stories of the survivors during and after the attack. Both books, Hiroshima and In Harm's Way were about tagedies that killed thousands. These books actually intertwine, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis happened on July 29, 1945, which was an attack on a US ship by the Japanese- In Harm's Way. And on August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima in Japan was attacked by an atomic bomb, dropped by the United States. Both books are based on battles/attacks between the US and Japan during WWII. However, they are somewhat different because In Harm's Way is about a US ship getting attacked at sea by Japan. And Hiroshima is a book based on the the attack and the aftermath of the atomic bomb drooped on Hiroshima.

Why I chose "In Harm's Way"

I chose this book because last semester Mr.Jackson recomended it. He said that this book was a very intense story that was not only informational historical, but an exciting read. I decided to pick a different book the first semester because I thought In Harm's Way would be boring with too much information and not enough excitement. However, my friend read this book the first semester and told me it's one I should definitely read. So, I decided to give it a try, and I really enjoyed it.

MLA Documentation

1. Stanton, Doug. In Harm's Way. New York. Reed City Productions, LLC. 2001.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


1. Identify a position (5)
2. Explain your criteria, application, reasoning for your position with quoted evidence as support. Please indicate the page number of your quote in parenthesis following the quote. (10)
3. Explain the position of the opposition and provide counterargument. (10)

After reading Susan Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It, I knew it was a book I would recommend to my peers. Only categorizing this as an apocalypse theme would be tragic because it is much more than that. The books' plot line is intriguing, and focuses on Miranda's family more than the world actually "coming to an end." Pfeffer’s book, Life as We Knew It, should definitely be at the top of every students reading list.
One reason why I think this book would appeal to so many young readers is because it is set up in a diary format. The entries made it easy to follow the story line, and made me feel as if I were actually there, with Miranda and her family. You know some books you just don’t want to read because you feel like they have drawn out, unimportant chapters that are pointless? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this book. Each entry is broken up, starting a new day or week with new facts and new disasters.

Life as We Knew It was certainly a page turner. Living in Michigan (or other states where nothing happens) you don’t think the horrific catastrophes that happen around the world could ever happen to you and your family. No one really thinks about what could be their last meal or last breath, but this was something Miranda and her family considered every day. “Matt, Mom, and I are down to one meal a day, but at least we’re eating 7 days a week (pg. 255).“ Even with all the struggles her family had to face, they were still optimistic, it’s a lesson everyone can learn from. I couldn't imagine living each day knowing the next may be worse than the one before. Although this is sad, it helped play into the books’ page-turner quality. This made me eager to find out what would happen next, and it kept me on edge because you never knew if it would be their last day.

On the other hand, some people may say the book lacked the action-pact part of the disasters. However, that’s not what the book was entirely about. Yes, the plot line occurs because of the natural disasters, but it’s more than that. The survival tactics Miranda and her family took to stay alive, how she felt during the apocalypse, and the steps they were all willing to take to make sure Miranda’s brother Jon stayed alive was what made the book. The journal entries of Miranda’s feelings and her journey along the disastrous ride made you feel like you were there, living it, and that is why I would recommend this book to students.