Sunday, August 25, 2019

Ship Of Ghosts Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words

Ship Of Ghosts - Essay Example It was the flagship of the US Asiatic Fleet and in World War II was responsible for holding back and delaying the Japanese from taking over Indonesia. The book narrates the exploits of the Houston until she sinks after a desperate and overwhelming battle with the Japanese forces in 1942, in the Java Sea. The first part of the book describes the naval combat with description of war like booming guns, falling bombs, torpedoes, etc. Hornfischer brings to life the battle as he describes the terror of nighttime naval battles where decks become slaughterhouses and the superhuman effort of the crew as they escape disaster after disaster only to be unlucky in the end when they are hopelessly outnumbered. "Son, we’re going to Hell." These words of the navigator of the USS Houston turn out to be prophetic. The men were forced to abandon the ship and are captured by the Japanese. They were then moved from one camp to another and finally end up in a labor camp in the jungles of Burma. In the second part of the book, the narrative shifts gears and follows the several hundred survivors of the ship to the Japanese POW camps in Southeast A sia. Here it focuses on the labor camps and the sub-human existence of the survivors for over three years, under the barbaric Japanese in the labor camps put up to build the Burma-Thailand Railway. The author describes how the prisoners develop a different kind of heroism when they are without weapons, when starvation stares at them and when they face the brutality of the Japanese guards. At the camps the prisoners suffered from over work, malnutrition, tropical diseases and rotting wounds. Their survival at that point of time depended on their ability to withstand humiliation and hardships without complaining. The author portrays all this beautifully when he writes about the small acts of courage like the stealing of an egg or a can of condensed milk

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