cover image Left to Die: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau

Left to Die: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau

Dan Kurzman / Author Pocket Books $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-7487

On November 13, 1942, during the naval battle of Guadalcanal, a Japanese submarine torpedoed the cruiser U.S.S. Juneau , killing most of its 700-plus crew. Some 150 survivors watched in dismay as the rest of the task force sailed over the horizon, its commander, Captain Gilbert C. Hoover, having decided that it was too dangerous to pick them up. Due to communications foul-ups combined with gross negligence, rescuers did not arrive until eight days later, by which time only 10 Juneau crewmen remained alive. Kurzman's skillful recounting of the nightmarish events in the water, reconstructed from interviews with five of the survivors and with relatives of the other five will not be soon forgotten by readers--especially the horrifying shark frenzies. The book reveals details of the Navy's investigation and its decision to quietly bury the tragic story with this official statement: ``Let the Juneau be remembered simply as the ill-fated ship on which the celebrated Sullivan brothers courageously died fighting when it went down, bringing new glory on the U.S. Navy.'' The author of the acclaimed Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis has re-created another memorable disaster story. (Mar . )