Sunday, May 24, 2015

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 278: Peggy Hull Deuell, Death of Carrier Described (#278)

Peggy Hull Deuell, "Death of Carrier Described" (1944) from Reporting World War II: American Journalism 1944–1946:

I know this is getting repetitious, but this is another example where I want to hear more about Peggy Hull Deuell: a war correspondent who started off by reporting on Pancho Villa, was rejected as correspondent during World War I because she was a woman, but who continued on.

Compared to her story, the story of the USS Princeton doesn't quite stand up. Or rather: we get to hear the story, both the objective what and the subjective POV of the captain telling the story of the day he lost his ship (with less than 10% loss of human life on his ship), along with Deuell's report on how the captain keeps almost being overwhelmed with emotion.

And what it leaves me with is a wish that she had interviewed everyone on that day, from the Japanese bomber whose single bomb started the fire, to the surgeon who had to amputate the scrap of a guy's leg with a sheath knife, to the guys who were just trying to put out the fire. That is, the death of a carrier sounds like a single event, with a single story; but we're so deeply in the POV of the captain that I can't help wondering what it looks like to everyone, all combined.

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