The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “GRIPPING…THIS YARN HAS IT ALL.” —USA TODAY * “A WONDERFUL BOOK.” —The Christian Science Monitor * “ENTHRALLING.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) * “A MUST-READ.” —Booklist (starred review)
A human drama unlike any other—the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.
Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the Philippine Sea when she is sunk by two Japanese torpedoes. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, nearly nine hundred men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive.
For the first time Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic tell the complete story of the ship, her crew, and their final mission to save one of their own in “a wonderful book…that features grievous mistakes, extraordinary courage, unimaginable horror, and a cover-up…as complete an account of this tragic tale as we are likely to have” (The Christian Science Monitor). It begins in 1932, when Indianapolis is christened and continues through World War II, when the ship embarks on her final world-changing mission: delivering the core of the atomic bomb to the Pacific for the strike on Hiroshima.
“Simply outstanding…Indianapolis is a must-read…a tour de force of true human drama” (Booklist, starred review) that goes beyond the men’s rescue to chronicle the survivors’ fifty-year fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Captain Charles McVay III, who is wrongly court-martialed for the sinking. “Enthralling…A gripping study of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the US Navy and its aftermath” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Indianapolis stands as both groundbreaking naval history and spellbinding narrative—and brings the ship and her heroic crew back to full, vivid, unforgettable life. “Vincent and Vladic have delivered an account that stands out through its crisp writing and superb research…Indianapolis is sure to hold its own for a long time” (USA TODAY).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This gripping book reminds us of Laura Hillenbrand's well-researched but incredibly readable histories. Author Lynn Vincent and documentary filmmaker Sara Vladic collaborate on this investigation into the U.S. Navy's single worst tragedy. World War II buffs—and anyone who remembers key scenes from the movie Jaws—know the basic story of sailors from the USS Indianapolis spending four days adrift in shark-infested waters after the ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine. But Vincent and Vladic go deep; they follow the decades-long aftermath of the controversial court-martial of the doomed ship's guilt-ridden captain. Don’t miss Vladic's equally fascinating 2016 film, USS Indianapolis: The Legacy.
Bestselling author and Navy veteran Vincent (Same Kind of Different as Me) and filmmaker and Indianapolis expert Vladic collaborate on a work that is simultaneously a gripping narrative, a convincing analysis, and a pitiless exposure of institutional mendacity. In 1945 the Indianapolis, alone, was torpedoed by one of the few Japanese submarines still operational and sank. Almost 900 men survived, but the ship had slipped off the Navy's tracking system, and it took four days before they were spotted, too late for more than 600 men who died from thirst and exposure or were eaten by sharks. Vincent and Vladic juxtapose the crew's harrowing ordeal with the Navy's desperate efforts to discover what had gone wrong and cover it up. The designated culprit was the ship's captain: court-martialed on skimpy evidence, found guilty of endangering the vessel, and eventually driven to suicide. A subsequent investigation led to his exoneration, but the systemic oversights and misjudgments that enabled this tragedy remained obscure until this investigation, which drew upon new sources clarifying how the file was amended. This expos will be valuable for scholars and general readers alike.
My dad was a veteran of World War2 fighting in various pacific islands and awarded the Purple Heart. Because of him I became an avid reader in general and specifically about the war in the pacific. When I decided to read this book I was sure that it would just be another retelling of a story I had read before. I could not have been more wrong! The attention to detail, the dotting of every I, crossing of every T, introducing me to this valiant crew and all of the people surrounding them was nothing less than brilliant, The lessons learned included the resilience of the human spirit as well as the power to forgive among many others. When you read the book you will understand and it totally has to do with the way it was written. I have stood on the deck of the USS Salem in Quincy Massachusetts the sister ship of the Indianapolis and now after reading this book I feel I know so many of it’s brave crew. That is all due to the book, the authors who poured their heart and soul into it and gave us what I consider a masterpiece in writing…read this book and be introduced to the Indianapolis, it’s crew and how the greatest sea disaster of the US Navy provided healing and forgiveness to families both here and Japan. I hope you enjoy this and appreciate the 2 authors as much as I did. It is not only a page turner but one with valuable lessons. Well done!!
Riveting account of history
I’ve followed the Indys accounts and the hiding done by the Senior Staff of US Navy upper echelon in WW2.
Herein lies the cold hard truth about what really occurred to the men of the USS Indianapolis.
She was sunk in moments.
Her Sailors floated for 4 days in the Sweltering Heat and ravenous Sharks.
And the greatest travesty was the senior command blaming the Captain.
This was a great book for anyone wanting to know what happened and the power of the people wanting justice done for one poor Sailor who was her Captain.
An amazing account of a tragedy
The authors have done an incredible service to the brave men who served aboard this proud ship. Reads like novel. Hard
to put down.