Descent into Darkness: A Navy Diver’s Memoir
Descent into Darkness by Edward C. Raymer is an exceptional piece of work that accounts the history and aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Raymer’s purpose when writing Descent into Darkness was to mainly depict the story of what naval divers did during the recovery process after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the hazards endured and the sometimes nearly impossible hardships they overcame, and the innovative diving techniques implemented used to salvage as many damaged battleships and naval capabilities back to fleet. The primary content also includes tense descriptions of diving after horrific circumstances, the human factors that are seldom known, and the grim tasks of recovering bodies in the worst of situations. His supplementary or secondary purpose was to tell the story of his diving operations at Guadalcanal and the humorous stories of the life and liberties of an enlisted sailor during a time of war. The book serves primarily as a narrative of memoirs by Raymond, who was a junior enlisted diver during World War II and rose to the ranks of Commander throughout his Navy career. Raymer’s main argument or emphasis conveyed was of the many hazards that were presented to the salvage and rescue divers during the aftermath of the hectic attack. The general concept was of the intensive salvage operations that were conducted which equated to over 20,000 man-hours underwater. Several interesting facts are described by Raymer which the average person would have no idea about, such as the dangers of entering a room that was once sealed but contains rust due to the fact that the iron oxide components of rust deplete oxygen which would suffocate an unprepared diver upon entering. The dangers of the job of a diver are clearly substantiated and validated in Raymer’s book, and successfully serve great justice to divers who worked in the harshest conditions. Raymer does an excellent job...
Bibliography: Raymer, Edward C., Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941: A Navy Diver 's Memoir. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1996.
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