A gripping study of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the U.S. Navy and its aftermath.
Launched in 1932, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis earned a distinguished record during World War II: eight battle stars awarded to its crew, a key role in the American victory at Iwo Jima, and its delivery of parts of Little Boy, the atomic bomb that would later destroy Hiroshima. However, as skillfully chronicled by Navy veteran and bestselling author Vincent (Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, 2010, etc.) and award-winning documentary filmmaker Vladic, the Indianapolis will forever be known for its sinking at the hands of torpedoes from a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945. Nearly 900 of its 1,195 men perished, with the majority of them succumbing to exhaustion, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, drowning, or shark attack after the sinking. The survivors clung to life for four horrific days before their rescue. However, for Capt. Charles B. McVay III, the nightmare was just beginning. Naval authorities looking to cover up their incompetence railroaded him into a court-martial conviction for “hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag” even though, among other exculpatory evidence and testimony, the commander of the Japanese submarine testified that zigzagging would not have made a difference. A deluge of hate mail followed, and a broken McVay committed suicide in 1968, a revolver in one hand and a toy sailor in another. Due to the combined efforts of the surviving men who served under him, a 12-year-old student from Florida, and Sen. Bob Smith, Congress passed a 2000 resolution exonerating McVay for the loss of the Indianapolis. On Aug. 19, 2017, a search team funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen found the wreckage of the Indianapolis at a depth of approximately 18,000 feet in the North Philippine Sea.
Fittingly, Vincent and Vladic close their enthralling, thrillerlike, meticulously researched book with the discovery of the wreckage, bringing the 85-year-old saga of the Indianapolis to a close.