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Left for Dead Library Binding – May 14, 2002


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100%20Children%27s%20Books%20to%20Read%20in%20a%20Lifetime

--This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Library Binding: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (May 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385900333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385900331
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,948,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Left for Dead by Pete Nelson explains how the research of 11-year-old Hunter Scott who was inspired by a passing reference in the movie Jaws uncovered the truth behind a historic WWII naval disaster aboard the USS Indianapolis and led to the reversal of the wrongful court martial of the ship's captain. A full-color photographic inset and a preface by the now 17-year-old Scott round out the volume.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author


Pete Nelson lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York. He got his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1979 and has written both fiction and non-fiction for magazines, including Harpers, Playboy, Esquire, MS, Outside, The Iowa Review, National Wildlife, Glamour, Redbook. He was a columnist for Mademoiselle and a staff writer for LIVE Magazine, covering various live events including horse pulls, music festivals, dog shows, accordion camps and arm wrestling championships. Recently he was a contributing editor and feature writer for Wondertime, a Disney parenting magazine. He's published twelve young adult novels, including a six-book series about a girl named Sylvia Smith-Smith which earned him an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America. His young adult non-fiction WWII history, Left For Dead (Randomhouse, 2002) about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis won the 2003 Christopher award as was named to the American Library Association's 2003 top ten list. His other non-fiction titles include Real Man Tells All (Viking, 1988), Marry Like a Man (NAL, l992), That Others May Live (Crown, 2000) and Kidshape (Rutledge Hill, 2004). His novel The Christmas List was published by Rutledge Hill Press in 2004. He wrote, with former army counterintelligence agent Dave DeBatto, a four book series of military thrillers, including CI: Team Red (2005), CI: Dark Target (2006), CI: Mission Liberty (2006) and CI: Homeland Threat (2007) published by Time-Warner. A More Unbending Battle; The Harlem Hellfighters' Struggle for Democracy in WWI and Equality at Home, was published in 2009 by Basic Civitas books. His novel, I Thought You Were Dead, will be published by Algonquin in 2010. He also has two CDs out on the Signature Sounds label, the first entitled The Restless Boys Club (1996), the second called Days Like Horses (2000).

Customer Reviews

This is a very good book to not only use for research purposes, but to read for the enjoyment of it.
Bradlei Wayne Griffin
Author Pete Nelson does a fine job of telling the story of the Indianapolis, her sinking, the struggle for survival, and the exoneration.
Jeffrey T. Munson
I am glad to know the complete story and appreciated knowing what one young person can accomplish to correct history.
Patricia Sabik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on September 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Captain Charles Butler McVay, skipper of the USS Indianapolis, was court-martialed after the tragic sinking of his ship on July 30, 1945. Despite the objections from Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Ernest J. King, chief of U.S. Naval Operations, insisted that the court martial proceed. What occurred was one of the most incredible cases of injustice in U.S. Naval history. McVay was convicted for failure to steer in a zigzag pattern. This manuver is supposed to make a ship more difficult to hit in case of a torpedo attack, although this theory was completely disproved during the trial. The Japanese captain of the submarine which sunk the Indy was brought in to testify against McVay. It was his opinion that he still would have sunk the Indy regardless of the zigzagging. Another charge of failing to order abandon ship in a timely fashion was overturned. The survivors of the Indianapolis always felt that their captain was used as a scapegoat by the Navy to cover up their own mistakes, and they have spent years trying to clear their beloved captain's name.
In 1996, a young boy named Hunter Scott was watching the movie Jaws. One of the characters in the film portrayed a survivor from the Indianapolis. After seeing the film, Hunter became more interested in the story of the Indy. He used its story as a theme for a history project he was working on. This 11-year old boy did the unthinkable. He made it his goal to clear McVay's name. He sent out numerous questionnaires to survivors and conducted personal interviews as well. Newspapers picked up on Hunter's crusade and soon the whole country was aware of his efforts. Appearances followed on Late Night with David Letterman as well as trips to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bubba Brown on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very exciting journey. It kept me wanting to read on. I really felt as if I were a part of the adventure of the combat. It was a great thriller and at the same time a great lesson in history. It is a war time classic. Any one who enjoys an action war thriller or a good non-fiction book would absolutely love to read this. I have a hard time reading but found this kept my interest. I do have to say that the book starts out a bit slow, but towards the middle it speeds up into a fast pace adventure of the Japenese sending a torpedo into the front of a ship. Amercian soldiers were stranded in the middle of nowhere. I would say that my favorite part of this book is how they get themselves into more danger as they try to work their way back home. The days they are stranded are full of death, mysteries, murders and cannibalism. The only negative part of this book I can think of would be that it is very full of graphic images of death, sharks shredding apart bodies and the suffering of those waiting to die.
This book was just over 200 pages with large font. Easy reading and a great book for adults and teens. I would not recommend this book to a younger child for it's graphic contents. I think that because of the war that is going on in Iraq right now that it made this book more interesting and more real to me. It also made me think about how horrible war is.
I think of how aweful it probably is out there for all those people fighting. So do yourself a favor and order this book online today. You won't be sorry.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
In my experience as a children's librarian, when a kid comes up to me looking for information about the navy (and trust me, it happens) I usually end up throwing them headlong into the appropriate section of non-fiction books with the hope that follow-up questions will not be forthcoming. Needless to say, I don't know much about the navy. Fortunately, I've just read a navy-rific book that I may definitely recommend to little navy lovers everywhere (and, interestingly enough, navy haters too). "Left For Dead", has everything a good non-fiction story should. Action, adventure, shark infested waters, and a young optimistic hero who wins in the end. Though certain elements of this book rankled me at the most inappropriate of times, I have enough sense to see that in spite of its flaws, "Left For Dead", is an excellent encapsulation of how sometimes one boy can change history itself.

If you're like the hero of this story, eleven-year-old Hunter Scott, then you probably learned about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis as he did through the movie "Jaws". Remember that scene where Robert Shaw's talking with Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider about how he once served on that ship? Remember how he describes the sharks eating the men after their ship sank and that it took some five days to be rescued? Well after seeing that scene Hunter knew he'd found the perfect history fair project. Trouble was, the history books seemed to have obscured knowledge of the Indianapolis and its unlucky crew. So Hunter set about contacting the survivors and talking to them. As he did, one thing became incredibly clear to him. Many of the survivors were convinced that their captain, one Mr. Charles Butler McVay III, was wrongfully court-martialed for the sinking of the ship.
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