In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors

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Modern Age

In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
Author: Stanton, Doug
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1945
Geographic Area: South Pacific
Country: Japan, United States
Topics: WWII
Genre: Non Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Book
Published: 2003

World History > Modern Age > WWII

A harrowing, adrenaline-charged account of America's worst naval disaster -- and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived.

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died. The captain's subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive?

Interweaving the stories of three survivors -- the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine -- journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless. The definitive account of a little-known chapter in World War II history, In Harm's Way is destined to become a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage.

Doug Stanton has appeared as an USS Indianapolis historian on PBS's 2017 "USS Indianapolis-From The Deep," The Today Show, CNN, Fox, Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, History, A&E, and in hundreds of radio and print interviews. Stanton's writing about the USS Indianapolis has appeared in Naval History magazine, and In Harm's Way was included in the U.S. Navy's required reading list for naval officers.

In Harm's Way spent more than six months on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated in multiple languages. In 2017, the unabridged audiobook edition was the winner of an Audie Award in the History category.

"Stanton not only offers a well-researched chronicle of what is widely regarded as the worst naval disaster in U.S. history, but also vividly renders the combatants' hellish ordeal during the sinking, and the ensuing days at sea as well as attempts to cope with the traumatic aftermath. Stanton's omniscient narrative shifts among the individual perspectives of several principal characters, a successful technique that contributes to the book's absorbing, novelistic feel." --Publisher's Weekly

"Drawing on extensive interviews with survivors and rescuers and on government files that have only recently been opened to view, Doug Stanton has rendered a public service by providing the first complete account of the tragedy of Indianapolis... This is a grim, poignant story that needed to be told fully and honestly. With painstaking research and an unerring eye for detail, Stanton has set down a riveting, eloquent tale of great power." --World War II magazine

"Superbly crafted, [In Harm's Way]... benefits from sympathetic research on the Indianapolis survivors, the horrors of their experiences, and their courage in surviving." --Booklist

"A thoroughly researched, powerfully written account of a nightmare at sea, one of the most poignant tragedies and injustices of World War II. I was struck throughout by the extraordinary heroism of the marines and sailors who survived, all the more remarkable because they do not see it on themselves." --Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968

"[In Harm's Way] fully deserves the acclaim it has received." --National Review

"A haunting story of valor, iniquity, and young men in peril on the sea. Once the Indianapolis steams into the crosshairs of the Japanese submarine I-58, In Harm's Way is impossible to put down. Doug Stanton's account of the Indy's sinking and the harrowing aftermath is as infuriating, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking as any tale yet told of the great war in the Pacific." --Rick Atkinson, author of The Long Gray Line and The Liberation Trilogy

"Doug Stanton has done this country a service by bringing the incredible yet almost-forgotten story of the USS Indianapolis to heart-pounding life. Do yourself a favor. Read In Harm's Way." --James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers

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