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The USS Indianapolis was the last ship sunk during the Second World War. Savaged by a salvo of torpedoes from a Japanese submarine, the warship, one of the fastest in the US Navy, sank in a matter of minutes. One thousand two hundred men went into the water, and only 321 were to survive. This is their story. On 30 July 1945 the Indianapolis was returning from the small island of Tinian, having delivered the components of the atom bomb 'baby boy', which was to decimate Hiroshima and bring on the end of the war. As the torpedoes ripped into the side of the ship hundreds of men were killed. Those lucky eugh to survive in the water were to face extremes of physical and mental hardship. Many were left to float in the ocean with little or food or drinking water in deteriorating life jackets and, most chillingly of all, open to attacks by sharks. The testimonies of those who lived speak of the extremes of human emotion, incredible courage and unforgettable despair. The visceral experiences of those five days were to haunt them for the rest of their lives. The Indianapolis was captained by the dashing and charismatic Captain Butler McVay, and his story is a tragic one. For a captain to lose his ship in combat is perhaps the hardest blow, but McVay was doubly marked, as he was held responsible for the loss and court-martialled - the only naval captain ever to be court-martialled for the sinking of his ship. Twenty years after the Indianapolis went to the bottom, tormented by the experience and the resentment of many of the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster, he took his own life. Those who also survived maintain that there was thing he could have done to prevent the disaster, and continue to campaign to clear the captain's name. This book is also his story.
Doug Stanton lives in Michigan, and has worked as a creative writing and English teacher and at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan as writer-in-residence. He has also worked as a commercial fisherman, a caretaker of Robert Frost's house and travelled extensively as a contributing editor for Esquire, Men's Journal and Outside magazines. He has an MFA from the celebrated Iowa Writers' Workshop. In Harm's Way began as a lead feature story in Men's Journal which led to more letters to the editor than any other piece in the magazine's history.
Shortlisted for WH Smith Book Awards (General Knowledge) 2002.
Transworld Publishers Ltd
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Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)