Read Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent Online

Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man

Instant New York Times BestsellerA human drama unlike any otherthe riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.GRIPPINGTHIS YARN HAS IT ALL. USA TODAY A WONDERFUL BOOK. Christian Science Monitor ENTHRALLING. Kirkus Reviews (starred review) A MUST-READ. Booklist (starred review)Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, days after delivering the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war, USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the center of the Philippine Sea when she is struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The ship is instantly transformed into a fiery cauldron and sinks within minutes. Some 300 men go down with the ship. Nearly 900 make it into the water alive. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, the men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive. For the bet...

Title : Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
Author :
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ISBN : 9781501135941
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 592 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man Reviews

  • Susan

    This book was hard for me to read at times. Not because it was boring but because the author was able to make the reader feel like they were there. The hardest part to read was how the Navy treated Captain Charles B. McVay III was unbelievably cruel. I don't understand why the Navy did that. He was a remarkably strong man but he was beaten by the anger he encountered not just from the Navy but from the families of the victims.

    The four days from the sinking of the Indianapolis till the time they
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  • Steven Z.

    A few days ago, I was sitting on the beach with a few friends and we began discussing the 1970s film “Jaws.” Someone referred to Robert Shaw’s crusty performance and a monologue he gave about the disaster that befell the USS Indianapolis at the conclusion of the World War II. Since I was familiar with Doug Stanton’s work, IN HARMS WAY written in 2003 about the sinking of the ship it immediately peaked my interest. When I returned home I saw an advertisement for a new book on the worst naval disa ...more

  • Rachel

    How do you review a book like this? Where do you even begin? I originally received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, but knew within just a few pages of this beautifully written non-fiction account of the USS Indianapolis's history that I HAD to own a finished copy. I was unable to finish my ARC before the publication date, but the week it was published, I bought my hard copy. Let me say that the physical book itself is just as gorgeous as the prose within.

    Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic hav
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  • Joyce

    5 stars

    A wholly American ship, she was built between 1930 and 1932. She first sailed in 1932 and was christened the USS Indianapolis. By 1945, the Indianapolis became master of the seas from Pearl Harbor all the way to Japan. The end of the Pacific War was fast coming when she was tasked with a top secret mission at the end of July to deliver the core of the bomb that was to fall on Hiroshima. Her commander was Captain Charles B. McVay. Four days later, the Indianapolis was struck by two Japanes
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  • Steven Hull

    The loss of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) has been chronicled many times since it’s sinking just after midnight on July 30, 1945. This latest book by Vincent and Vladic, however, does several new things. It takes into account the latest information related to the sinking, it leverages and collates information from the previous histories and accounts of the sinking, and it weaves a tale that includes the history of the ship from its launching to sinking, and the subsequent nearly three quarters o ...more

  • Anne Morgan

    Most people today know the story of the Indianapolis, if they know it at all, from the movie Jaws. While hunting a great white shark, boat captain Quint tells Hooper and Brody of being on the Indy (as she was known by the crew) when she sunk, sharks circling until the men were pulled from the water after delivering "the bomb". The full story, told here for the first time, is much more complex, dramatic, and heartbreaking. Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic do full justice to the story of the Indy, her ...more

  • Matt

    “So, eleven-hundred men went into the water. Three-hundred-sixteen men come out. The sharks took the rest. June the 29th, 1945.”

    - Robert Shaw, as Quint, in Jaws (1975)

    “The Japanese Type 95 torpedo carried a huge explosive payload designed to mortally wound battleships and cruisers. The initial pressure blast was meant to buckle the ship’s skin and weaken her internal framing. The warhead’s second effect was to punch a cavernous, temporary hole in the ocean beneath the target. These first- and se

    Indianapolis was designed in 1930 with a single “through deck” along wich one could pass from bow to stern without having to climb up and down ladders and make a circuitous route using multiple decks. This design made it impractical to operate completely buttoned up, with maximum watertight integrity – a condition known as “Material Condition Affirm” – since the ordinary duties of sailing necessitated free movement of personnel up and down the length of the ship. Further, Condition Affirm would shut off all ventilation to interior spaces. On a ship without air-conditioning operating in the steamy South Pacific, that could kill a crew as quickly as the enemy.


    The sinking itself is rendered impeccably. Writing narrative non-fiction is hard, but there is a simple rule that is often ignored. Specifically, you need to deal with both the forest and the trees. Vincent & Vladic do this. As the ship is going down, they jump to all those individuals to whom we have been introduced, describing their efforts to escape. It is visceral and ground-level and often confusing. Every so often, though, they pull back, to give you an overview of big-picture happenings, putting all those personal stories into an overall context. The balance Vincent & Vladic strike is nearly perfect.

    Their coverage of the hellish aftermath in the sea is just as good. Vincent & Vladic did a ton of interviews with survivors, and it is clear they earned their trust, because some of the information they turn up is dark. One young officer told a group of swimmers that he was going to try to make it to land. So he gathers up some of the healthiest sailors, commandeers a raft and supplies, and then paddles a mile away, in order to avoid the dehydrated and oft-hallucinating masses. The authors also unearthed a deadly pact, made between a group of lucid sailors, in which they would kill those of their shipmates who started going mad. Those men, hallucinating and thrashing, posed a danger to others (and also, I suspect drew unwanted attention from the sharks). According to these accounts, kept anonymous, some of the lucid sailors actually murdered their shipmates to preempt the danger they posed.

    Vincent & Vladic relate this without commentary. Theirs is a no-judgment zone, the implication being that attempting to overlay normal moral constructs on young, shipwrecked sailors in a shark-infested sea is not fair or appropriate. There were times, though, when I thought the authors were a bit too passive. They tell, for instance, of sailors sexually assaulting other survivors. This kind of beggars the imagination. When you have a bunch of sailors fighting for their very lives, you don’t expect them to have the energy or inclination to act like it’s their first night at Shawshank Prison. But Vincent & Vladic just sort of drop this bombshell and walk away.

    (At this point, I should mention that the endnotes contain a lot of very interesting and substantive information. However, the authors do not use superscript references to tell you when to head to the endnotes. This sort of drives me nuts. I wish that footnotes would make a comeback).

    In terms of sheer writing style, the prose is incredibly evocative of the suffering these sailors endured:

    [A]ll the seawater drinkers died painful deaths. A lack of fluid intake increased salt levels in their bodies, triggering the natural response of greater thirst. When they took in no fluid to decrease the salt levels, water rushed out from their cells to do the job. Brain cells tore loose from their rightful locations, impairing judgment just enough to cause the men to seek poisonous release. Thirst begged their hands to administer water to dilute the salt that was poisoning their bodies. They obliged with seawater, introducing more salt and increasing their thirst to the point of mindless lust. Blood vessels tore and fluid built up in the brain, causing seizures and insanity. They vomited and foamed at the mouth. Some died of kidney failure. Others’ brains short-circuited violently, as when a tree branch hits a high voltage power line.


    This is the kind of thing you read with ice water close at hand.

    The aftermath of the sinking, including McVay’s court-martial, is also engrossing. I especially appreciate that Vincent & Vladic quoted extensively from the transcripts.

    Eventually, though, Indianapolis (which weighs in at 448 pages of text) runs out of steam. This is due to the unnecessarily exhaustive coverage of the quest to exonerate Captain McVay, who was found guilty in his court-martial, and eventually committed suicide in 1968. Though the quest was meaningful to the participants, especially the survivors, it starts to feel a bit quixotic. McVay, after all, did not end up going to jail. Instead, he lost 200 points on the promotion list. Even then, Admiral Nimitz set the punishment aside, and McVay retired as a rear-admiral. In terms of what others lost – their lives – McVay’s experience tends to pale.

    Part of the reason the endgame drags is because focusing on McVay shows an uncharacteristic lack of perspective. No, what happened to McVay wasn’t fair. But where does fairness figure into any of this? A submarine fires a torpedo over here; a ship blows up over there. A bomb is dropped; a city disappears. Nine hundred U.S. sailors die in the open sea; two-hundred thousand Japanese burn in their homes. Forgive me if I’m not really that interested in Captain McVay’s reputation.

    There is an impulse, on display here, to “fix” the past, as though slipping a paragraph into a dead man’s service jacket makes everything better. It does not change anything, but it has the potential to distort. In the process of remembering, we may be destroying the memory. ...more

  • Paul Pessolano

    “Indianapolis, The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man” by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, published by Simon and Schuster.

    Category – Naval Military History Publication Date – July 07, 2018.

    In the Armed Service the best is considered “outstanding”, in the literary world “must read”, this book fits both categories.

    Few people know what happened to the USS Indianapolis and its crew on July 30, 1945. This book tells the horri
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