The oft-told story of young John F. Kennedy’s World War II heroism is recounted in a fast-paced, gripping narrative.
The future president was serving in naval intelligence when the United States entered World War II. Frustrated by his father’s use of political influence to have him assigned to noncombat posts, Kennedy lobbied hard for a combat assignment in the Pacific. He wanted to serve on a PT boat, the small but fast attack craft used in the South Pacific. Kennedy was sent to the Solomon Islands to command PT 109. The crewmen were dubious of the young, rich, Harvard-educated Kennedy but were quickly impressed by his willingness to do more than his share of the dirty, hard labor required to make the boat ready for combat. On Aug. 2, 1943, PT 109 was on a night mission to ambush an enemy supply convoy when it was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer. Severely injured himself, Kennedy pulled the most seriously injured crewman and led the other survivors to an uninhabited island in enemy territory. Martin tells the story in vigorous prose amply laced with quotations, taking care to include the stories of the Melanesian men who rescued Kennedy and his crew. The striking design incorporates archival photographs, with insets and sidebars offering further information.
An admiring, inspiring portrait of a courageous and selfless natural-born leader. (maps, photos, further reading, bibliography) (Biography. 10-14)