The USS Indianapolis was the last ship sunk during the Second World War. Savaged by a salvo of torpedoes from a Japanese submarine, the warship, one of the fastest in the US Navy, sank in a matter of minutes. One thousand two hundred men went into the water, and only 321 were to survive. This is their story. On 30 July 1945 the Indianapolis was ...
The USS Indianapolis was the last ship sunk during the Second World War. Savaged by a salvo of torpedoes from a Japanese submarine, the warship, one of the fastest in the US Navy, sank in a matter of minutes. One thousand two hundred men went into the water, and only 321 were to survive. This is their story. On 30 July 1945 the Indianapolis was returning from the small island of Tinian, having delivered the components of the atom bomb 'baby boy', which was to decimate Hiroshima and bring on the end of the war. As the torpedoes ripped into the side of the ship hundreds of men were killed. Those lucky enough to survive in the water were to face extremes of physical and mental hardship. Many were left to float in the ocean with little or no food or drinking water in deteriorating life jackets and, most chillingly of all, open to attacks by sharks. The testimonies of those who lived speak of the extremes of human emotion, incredible courage and unforgettable despair. The visceral experiences of those five days were to haunt them for the rest of their lives. The Indianapolis was captained by the dashing and charismatic Captain Butler McVay, and his story is a tragic one. For a captain to lose his ship in combat is perhaps the hardest blow, but McVay was doubly marked, as he was held responsible for the loss and court-martialled - the only naval captain ever to be court-martialled for the sinking of his ship. Twenty years after the Indianapolis went to the bottom, tormented by the experience and the resentment of many of the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster, he took his own life. Those who also survived maintain that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the disaster, and continue to campaign to clear the captain's name. This book is also his story.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-04-09 Given the stringent precision of the U.S. Navy and military during wartime, how could a WWII battleship carrying over 1,000 men be torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sink, leaving the survivors to bob in the Pacific Ocean at the mercy of elements and predators, without anyone realizing the loss for more than four days? Stanton not only offers a well-researched chronicle of what is widely regarded as the worst naval disaster in U.S. history, but also vividly renders the combatants' hellish ordeal during the sinking, and the ensuing days at sea as well as attempts to cope with the traumatic aftermath. Stanton documents the facts of the case, embellishing his story with lurid details gleaned from interviews with survivors. Though the ship's captain would become the first and only in U.S. naval history to be court-martialed for the loss of his ship, Stanton offers a solid body of evidence to justify the survivors' partially successful efforts to exonerate him. Stanton's omniscient narrative shifts among the individual perspectives of several principal characters, a successful technique that contributes to the book's absorbing, novelistic feel. Readers, of course, must trust Stanton and his research in order to be truly consumed, but the authority of his voice should win over all but the most obsessive skeptics. Illuminating and emotional without being maudlin, Stanton's book helps explain what many have long considered an inexplicable catastrophe. (May 21) Forecast: Following on the heels of the bestselling Abandon Ship, recently resurrected by Peter Maas, this book is unlikely to be ignored. A $150,000 marketing campaign includes a nine-city author tour, national print advertising, and target marketing to the military and naval market. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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