Every American alive today knows Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quote about Pearl Harbor. Imagine though experiencing that attack first hand. Donald Stratton, a young man from Nebraska, was unlucky enough to be on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. At 8:10 in the morning, his life changed forever. Stratton was badly burned over a good portion of his body and spent months in rehab. As one of the last living survivors of this tragedy, Stratton recounts his life and the impact the bombing had on him in this gripping memoir.
If you read just one non-fiction book this year, I would recommend you select this book. Stratton and his co-author Ken Gire, make sure not to overwhelm non history/non military readers. From the first sentence until the last sentence, this book reads as well and as fast as any fiction book.
Stratton deals with a lot of survivors guilt. Even seventy-five years later the pain of his suffering and loss translates to the pages of this book. Stratton recounts how he lost friends and how he questioned for a good portion of his life whether or not he had lived a life worthy of his survival.
Stratton still holds onto a lot of anger towards the Japanese, which was shocking to me at first. One would think that time would blunt his anger and maybe perhaps allow him to forgive what had happened. However, given what he endured both physically and mentally, a reader can see why that grudge is still going strong.
All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton is one of the best history books that I have read in a long time. This vivid memoir will have you wanting to finish this book in one sitting. Anyone who enjoys history or memoirs would love this book.
Title: All the Gallant Men
Authors: Donald Stratton and Ken Fire
Source: Checked out from library