A harrowing, adrenaline-charged account of America's worst naval disaster -- and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived.
On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died. The captain's subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive?
Interweaving the stories of three survivors -- the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine -- journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless. The definitive account of a little-known chapter in World War II history, In Harm's Way is destined to become a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
In Harm’s Way
A horrifying account of what happened before and after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the waning days of the war. I’ve read quite a few books about WWII but none as gripping as this. It is well researched well written and contains accounts from survivors of that awful event and it’s aftermath. I read it upon its publication many years ago and the deaths of those young men still haunt me. Read it!
The best storyline of this historical tragedy
Anyone who reads this will cry and have more gratitude for all who serve to protect the freedoms of our United States.
Review from a Sailor
As a teenager, I had never even considered the fact of joining the military. Everything about it scared me. Being shot, being bombed, being sunk on a ship. All those were true fears of mine. One weekend, at a party; talking to a army veteran, I made a rather impulsive decision and by the end of that week, I was making dates to go to MEPS with the US Navy. Events like the ones that occurred in this tragic disaster always were in the back of my mind. But they all seem like silly things that never had happened before. I didn’t hear about the Indianapolis story until boot camp. It terrified me about what I had signed up for, and never really went further into wanting to know about it. What convinced me to read this book was the incredible peers I worked under. The family of brothers and sisters I had never met before but who I would give my life for if need be. My first DIVO was a Purple Heart recipient because he was in the USS Cole attack. The stories and inspiration that, now retired LTCDR Bloodsaw, gave me where where I truly felt now as part of the ranks. Every tragic event involving the US Navy now felt personal. This book highlights the team and strength that we embody, and although extremely unfortunate, it’s something that we learned from hopefully. I just can’t say how amazing this book is and how it made me feel more pride and willingness to do more to fight the fight for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice before us. Hooyah US Navy, may god have those sounds of my shipmates by his side and may god bless those still alive and may god bless the United States Navy. -JEV