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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a moment of tragedy captured in beautiful writing and telling images. It’s December 7, 1941 aboard the USS Arizona. People look forward to the Sunday morning service usually held at the quarterdeck, some had just returned from leave while others make preparations for theirs. It is a casual day, just like any other Sunday, and while everyone goes about their business, the Japanese launch the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. Passengers aboard the USS Arizona are startled when bombs and bullets rain down on the vessel. The bomb that smashed through her deck delivers the last blow, sealing her fate.
The USS Arizona Men by TJ Cooper is the story of what happened, a tale of the survivors and the victims. TJ Cooper captures the tragedy in vivid language and allows readers to relive one of the grimmest moments in US history, one that compelled the US to join WWII. It takes readers through the history of the USS Arizona and the crew, comprising eighty-seven Marines attached to the battleship, five officers, eighteen non-commissioned officers and sixty-four non-rated men, and other passengers on board. While this book succinctly describes the attack and its aftermath, it is a work dedicated to the victims of the attack, and TJ Cooper does an impeccable job in presenting each of the casualties, providing vivid images from their lives, photos and background information.
It is interesting to follow these heroes, men and women who went about their duties on this fateful day, oblivious of the threat directed their way. The USS Arizona Men is a relevant historical document and a tribute to the US Navy and everyone on board the vessel. The work is diligently researched, featuring more than 900 references, a bibliography, and historical documents. It captures the atmosphere of the attack and its aftermath with forensic clarity; the images are revealing of this dire moment in US history. You will learn a lot about Pearl Harbor, but you will also be plunged into the unique tradition of people giving their lives in the service of the nation. The USS Arizona Men is an outstanding achievement!