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All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor Hardcover – November 22, 2016
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“An unforgettable story of unfathomable courage.” (Reader’s Digest)
“A story of awe-inspiring courage and steely determination. ... Stratton’s book should be in every school library.” (The Missourian)
“Stratton tells his epic story in the memoir All the Gallant Men. ... Stratton would have been among the 1,177 USS Arizona shipmates — out of 1,511 aboard — who perished if not for a nail-biting escape.” (New York Post)
“An intimate account. ... A powerful voice.” (Library Journal)
“[An] epic tale.” (Daily Mail (UK))
“Ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton delivers an extraordinary firsthand account in All the Gallant Men.” (Bookreporter.com)
“An amazing story, and we’re lucky that Don Stratton decided to share it. (Military.com)
“Add[s] to the historical knowledge of Pearl Harbor. ... Deeply personal. ... Stratton’s book reminds us of a better America, an America that was strong in character, not just military power. ... As Stratton reminds us, true greatness comes from within.” (Cal Thomas, nationally syndicated columnist)
From the Back Cover
THE MOST GRIPPING, INTIMATE, AND INSPIRING ACCOUNT OF PEARL HARBOR. THE FIRST MEMOIR EVER PUBLISHED BY A USS ARIZONA SURVIVOR.
At 8:06 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.
In this extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack—the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona—ninety-four-year-old Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.
Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates—approximately half the American fatalities at Pearl Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. The U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of America’s Second World War.
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Of all my fellow Veterans… the ones that I have been envious of… (if you can be envious of anyone serving during war time)… are our World War II veterans. The reason that is… is because… I almost can’t even imagine… except in a daydream… what it must have been like… being admired… *AND* supported by your entire country… while wearing your uniform and serving. When I was eight-years-old… my family had nothing… my Dad had no job… and we had no place to live… but my parents’ lives… taught me… what a “DEPRESSION-ERA-MENTALITY”… truly was… and I still wear that like it’s my only suit of clothes till this day. Why I am sharing this with you… is because the subject and co-author of this book… ninety-four-year-old… Pearl Harbor… USS Arizona survivor… Donald Stratton… is not only… obviously a World War II Veteran… but he openly states that coming from the great depression helped prepare our fighters… for the bloodiest war in American history.
Stratton says: “THERE WAS A STRENGTH YOU COULDN’T SEE ON THE SURFACE. BECAUSE OF IT, WE WERE SOMEHOW ABLE TO BEAR THE WEIGHT THAT A WORLD AT WAR PLACED ON OUR SHOULDERS.”
Obviously the writing re-creation of Donald’s historical… never before told tale has been done by Ken Gire… and he should be roundly applauded for the unique capability… of portraying… the combination of naiveté… patriotism… and true reflection of the state of affairs in the United States and around the world through the eyes of a nineteen+-year-old man-child… as the very world we live in was crashing down. I found that I couldn’t let go of this book… from start to finish… and whether it was during Stratton’s pre-war… war… possible death and amputation… and being surrounded by the cauldron of burning hell… even when he fought to live and recover… the author never lets the reader loose of… the grip of the very young man who is living the hell… you’re reading about.
This December 7th will be *THE-SEVENTY-FIFTH-ANNIVERSARY-OF-THE-ATTACK-ON-PEARL-HARBOR*… every American should say a prayer whether silent or out loud… not only for what happened that day… but what a united… United States of America… can do.. even in the midst of the worst adversity… that started with a cowardly sneak attack by a country that was pretending to negotiate and work things out with us. And what a great answer to many untold prayers that Donald Stratton will be with us… on this sacred day… and not just in our memories. G-d Bless America!
God bless you Don, I Will see you in the. Better land.
Stratton, at his post when AZ blew up was saved by a bosun's mate on the 'Vestal' who was disobeying orders to save them.
I 've talked to enough WW II vets in my life to understand Stratton's editorializing in much of the book, though younger readers may not find it interesting. However, I truly hope he made it to Pearl last Wednesday for the 75th. I wish I could have been there to shake his hand.