The true story of the worst sea disaster in U.S. naval history--the sinking of the USS Indianapolis days after it delivered the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war--and the fifty-year fight to exonerate an innocent man.
With diligent reporting and sharp writing, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic have accomplished a daunting chore facing writers of historic nonfiction: take a story whose outline is known to the public and craft an account that is compelling yet comprehensive.
The result, with a strong narrative style and well reasoned point of view, is Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man ... The heavy cruiser Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine in the waning days of World War II...Through negligence and bureaucratic incompetence, the Navy seemingly forgot about the Indianapolis for days and launched a rescue effort only when survivors were spotted accidentally by a Navy plane on routine patrol. In a brisk, fact-based narrative, Indianapolis mixes horror and scandal.
It is always a pleasure to read and review a publication that deserves one’s endorsement...even though the subject has been previously covered through many articles and books yet largely unfamiliar to the public, it not only includes some previously unavailable material but also updates the ongoing decades-old story to exonerate the ship’s captain for the alleged hazarding of his vessel ... the Indianapolis’ most important mission during World War II was the delivery to the Mariana Islands of some of the components for the atomic weapons that were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, weapons which effectively forced the Japanese to surrender. Its unescorted return to the fleet in the Philippines, its loss to a Japanese submarine, the horror at sea endured by the surviving crew members, and their rescue are all part of the story ... Extensively based on interviews with survivors, this is a much more personal, fact-and detail-oriented telling of this tragedy. Employed as well are many primary sources in government archives, documents, reports, and memoranda along with other books, articles, personal and other sources which co-authors Vincent and Vladic have weaved into an eminently readable narrative, as much from the American point of view as that of the Japanese.
...a gripping and engaging tale that features grievous mistakes, extraordinary courage, unimaginable horror, and a cover-up ... Vincent and Vladic spent years talking to the dwindling band of survivors and giving voice to their stories. Some parts of this wonderful book – especially those involving the sailors in the water waiting for rescue – make for painful reading. But this exhaustive and comprehensive assessment is as complete an account of this tragic tale as we are likely to have. It is compelling history.