In the early morning hours of October 24, 1944, the legendary U.S. Navy submarine Tang was hit by one of its own faulty torpedoes. The survivors of the explosion struggled to stay alive one hundred-eighty feet beneath the surface, while the Japanese dropped deadly depth charges. As the air ran out, some of the crew made a daring ascent through the escape hatch. In the end, just nine of the original eighty-man crew survived.
But the survivors were beginning a far greater ordeal. After being picked up by the Japanese, they were sent to an interrogation camp known as the “Torture Farm.” When they were liberated in 1945, they were close to death, but they had revealed nothing to the Japanese, including the greatest secret of World War II.
With the same heart-pounding narrative drive that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw brings to life this incredible story of survival and endurance.
Popular historian Kershaw (The Bedford Boys) chronicles the extraordinary WWII heroism of the crew of the USS Tang, "the deadliest submarine operating in the Pacific," in this spellbinding saga. The Tang's captain, Cmdr. Richard O'Kane, was a celebrated maverick whose "contempt for the enemy was absolute." He was offered the opportunity to operate alone in the dangerous Formosa Strait, and the boat's crew sank 13 ships on "one of the most destructive patrols of the war." But the last torpedo malfunctioned and boomeranged on the Tang, killing half the crew instantly and sinking the sub. The explosion threw O'Kane and several others into the ocean, but most of the rest were trapped below; only nine of 87 survived. They were picked up by a Japanese patrol boat and taken to a POW camp, tortured and starved. O'Kane, who earned the Medal of Honor, weighed only 88 pounds when liberated. Relying on interviews with survivors and oral histories, and writing with his customary verve, Kershaw delivers another memorable tale of uncommon courage. 16 pages of b&w photos. 100,000 first printing; 10-city author tour.