All the gallant men : an American sailor's firsthand account of Pearl Harbor

ISBN: 
9780062645357
Author: 
Stratton, Donald, 1922- author.
Publisher: 
William Morrow
Edition: 
First edition.
Physical description: 
viii, 306 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 20 cm
Publishing date: 
November 22, 2016
Book Description: 

A memoir by a USS Arizona survivor describes his experience of the attacks that left him with burns over more than sixty-five percent of his body, his resolve to reenter service after a grueling recovery, and his contributions to some of the Pacific's most violent battles.

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 19-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--94-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. As the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks approaches, Don, a great-grandfather of five and one of six living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. This is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable---and remarkably inspiring--memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.--From dust jacket.

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