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The Castaway's War: One Man's Battle against Imperial Japan

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Shipwrecked on a South Pacific island, a young US Navy lieutenant waged a one-man war against the Japanese

In the early hours of July 5, 1943, the destroyer USS Strong was hit by a Japanese torpedo. The powerful weapon broke the destroyer's back, killed dozens of sailors, and sparked raging fires. While accompanying ships were able to take off most of Strong's surviving cre
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Da Capo Press
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3.85  · 
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 ·  87 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Terri Wangard
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Castaway’s War is an incredible story of perseverance despite incredible odds against survival. Lt. Hugh Miller was in the water as his destroyer sank. He was severely injured by immersion blast when its depth charges exploded. Pulled onto a floater net by shipmates, he ended up on Arundel Island, held by the Japanese. Believing he was about to die, he ordered his three companions to go on. After several days he began to feel better and became a one-man army, collecting intel and wiping out ...more
Sharon Richardson
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I love heroic war stories, and this is a good one! There is a lot of Navy lingo about the ships and guns that lost me, but Hugh Miller's story of survival, combat and bravery on a Japanese patrolled island in the Pacific is fantastic!
William DuFour
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lively telling of a naval officer who was on a island and who managed to survive and disrupt the enemy while being severely injured. He won the Navy Cross and was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor but didn't meet the qualifications.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The amount of research done for this book shows up thorough out the story. The amount of detail can not be fully appreciated because the story line flows so well. Mr. Harding brings Mr. Miller to life in his struggle to survive on an enemy held island. A Goodread Mr. Harding.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was twice as long as it needed to be, but main flaw was the narrator. So full and very disappointing.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
An amazing story of courage and survival, however fully two thirds of the book is background information that is often fairly dry and some parts do not really lend much to the main narrative.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: war-stories
A truly remarkable story. This account is very technical due to its superb research. A bit dry for an adventure story, but I can see how a 'Navy man' would love the telling. And I believe the point of this narrative was to take the sensational out of the telling and bring it down to the true facts. Well done.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heroic tales make great reading. This was a page turner, even if every nut and bolt of the Strong was examined in detail. Miller's story is compelling even all these years later.
A.A. Bastian
Feel the depth charges pummeling the bodies of Hugh Barr Miller Jr. and his fellows as they reach for a floater net, a life raft, or a scrap of wreckage buoyant enough to separate them from the sea floor. Historian Stephen Harding continues his stream of gripping naval battle accounts with The Castaway’s War, set in and around the Solomon Islands of the Pacific. It’s a World War II survival tale taken from official sources and personal diaries....(Read the rest of my review at the Washington Ind ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, history
Military History and Survival

This is a tale of the USS Strong that was launched in May 1942, and sunk in July 1943. It describes the building of the ship, the weaponry it carried and the preparation of the crew and ship for war. Among the officers on the ship was Navy Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller, who survived when the boat sunk and was eventually washed up on Arundel Islet, where he not only survived but performed acts of great bravery.

For more of my review see: http://www.emmabbooks.blogspot
Paul Downs
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and well written story of heroism in WW2. The story is a comprehensive look at one man's Navy career, from entry to exit, which slowed the story down a bit but also shone a light on how the Navy went about its business day-to-day during the Pacific War. The meat of the tale is the account of Hugh Miller's survival when his ship is sunk by a freak torpedo shot. I highly recommend for any history buff.
Polly Krize
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Left alone on Arundel Island, after surviving the sinking of his destroyer, the USS Strong, Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller, wounded and weak, believes he will die. But he does not die, and upon sighting Japanese troops on the island, becomes a one-man army against them. Set in the Pacific theater of WWII, this is a powerful and effective account. Well-researched and presented.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Intersting but dry. As a blurb on the back of the book says author "is clear, fact-based, precise, careful to avoid hype and tall tales" and does a great job in presenting the facts of Lt.Hugh Barr Miller's experiences during WII. Fascinating story of survival, resilience, and the willingness to "soldier on" despite injuries and being on an enemy-held island. I was hoping for something in the vein of "Unbroken" but this didn't measure up, and would've enjoyed a more literary approach.

Ian Dickson
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Didn't care much for the detail of the Strong's short history down to the bolt, but I do understand its context. Navy historians would adore this book, in my opinion. Only fault I can find is that you have to dig through the footnotes to know what happened to the other individuals that also took part in his story.
I just finished reading this fantastic story of a never-say-die naval officer who not only survived an extremely traumatic injury when his ship was torpedoed, but who waged a one-man battle against the Japanese on the enemy-infested island on which he found himself marooned in 1943 during WWII.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story would have gotten five stars except for the fact that I found chapters 2-5 boring with very little of Lt. Miller and a great deal of information on the movements of his ship. Condense these chapters into one and I think the book is muck better.
Jefferson Searle
Great story that delivered what was promised: a compelling lone-survivor story set during WWII in the pacific theater.
Nov 12, 2016 added it
His destroyer sunk in the same general area as PT109, Hugh Miller rescues shipmates, is left for dead on occupied island, takes the war to the enemy. Non-fiction
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well documented - easy to read - interesting survival story of WW 2
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Steven Duning
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As a defense journalist Stephen Harding covered the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and, most recently, Iraq. The author of seven books and some 300 magazine articles, he specializes in military, aviation and maritime topics."