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In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS…
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In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary…

de Doug Stanton

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1,1303813,474 (4.19)29
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 struggled to stay alive, battered by a savage sea and fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time help arrived-nearly four days and nights later-all but 317 men had died. How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And 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 this harrowing chapter of World War II history, In Harm's Way is a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage. Now available for the first time in trade paperback, the bestselling account of America's worst naval disaster-and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived On July 30, 1945, after the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine.… (mais)
Membro:jrdavidson
Título:In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
Autores:Doug Stanton
Informação:Publisher Unknown
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors de Doug Stanton

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In July 1945, The USS Indianapolis made a fast, secret trip from San Francisco to the of island of Tinian, in the South Pacific. What they carried and delivered were the parts of Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon to be dropped on Japan. The delivery safely made, the Indianapolis headed for training maneuvers. On July 30th the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, hit twice, the ship went down in 12 minutes. Of 1,195 men aboard, only 317 survived.

Of all the WWII stories I have read, this is probably the most horrific. Not only due to the loss of life, the injuries and suffering the sailors endured. Once again WWII Military minds were in CYA mode and blamed the ships Captain for the "incident". There was a lot of blame to go around and none of it, IMO, should have fallen on Captain McVAy.

Well researched and written. Recommended for those with an interest in history and/or WWII. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
This was my first Doug Stanton book and is my favorite of his 3. I bought and read this in Oki. I read it very quickly and was intrigued by the details of the crucial mission of this ship, how it was sunk, how no one knew they were lost, and the tragedy that fell on the men of this crew while waiting to be rescued. I recommend this book to anyone interested in joining the Navy and any WWII history fan.
  SDWets | Apr 25, 2021 |
Fast and absorbing read. Not particularly suspenseful, since you know how everything turns out. I wasn't particularly convinced by the author's argument, promoted by the survivors, that the captain deserved no blame for the sinking. Perhaps not by today's military standards, where generals fail up—but he pretty clearly was careless in not zigzagging on a clear night.

> when a member of McCormick's radio staff aboard the Idaho received the message, he decoded the name of the addressee incorrectly. Since the message appeared to be addressed not to McCormick but to another commander, the staff member stopped deciphering it altogether. He never decoded the body of the message, which described McVay's arrival, and which had been marked "restricted," meaning it was not a "classified" or high-priority communication. As a result, Rear Admiral McCormick did not know to expect the arrival of the USS Indianapolis at Leyte.

> On board were nineteen oxygen-powered magnetic torpedoes, and six kaitens—kamikaze-like torpedoes piloted by crewmen grateful for the honor.

> They had spent about 112 hours—or more than four and a half days—adrift without food, water, or shelter from the sun. His group of five had drifted the farthest of any of the survivors, an astounding 124 miles.

> Of the 1,196 crew members who had sailed from Guam, only 321 had survived

> The court primarily blamed the sinking and ensuing deaths of the crew on two things: McVay's failure to zigzag in conditions that it considered "good with intermittent moonlight"; and his failure to send out a distress message. McVay himself testified that he doubted a message had left the ship during the short time it took to sink. The testimony of radio technician Jack Miner, who witnessed the SOS message leaving the transmitter during the sinking, was apparently disregarded. … the first captain in U.S. history to be court-martialed for losing his ship as the result of an act of war

> 2000, that war began drawing to a close when Congress passed a resolution exonerating Rear Admiral Charles Butler McVay III. It also recommended a Unit citation for the final crew of the USS Indianapolis, fifty-five years after they came home from their solitary victory parade in San Diego.

> for 56 years, he announced, he'd felt ashamed by the behavior of some of the men in the water. Why had some surrendered and died? Why had others acted less than admirably? It wasn't until he'd read In Harm's Way, he said, that he'd understood why. He was referring to passages describing the devastating effects of salt-water ingestion and exposure on the men.

> During my interviews with survivors, nearly all of them had recalled that, at some point, they had made a vow to themselves: I am going to live. This had always struck me as a startling, existential moment—it had haunted me, and still does. What the men were remembering were those people back on land who had at some point told them—in words or through deeds—"never to give up." I told the reporter that I wondered if I had ever said anything to my own son, to my daughter, to my wife, to any of my friends—to anybody—that would act as a lifeline if they found themselves in a similar situation. ( )
  breic | Aug 22, 2020 |
"As the heat of the day tempered into relative cool, the boys, lying in their rafts, hanging from floating nets, and bobbing in life vests, began to feel things bumping from below – nudges and kicks that they mistook for the touch of their comrades treading water." (pg. 188)

It is widely accepted that the most horrifying moment in Steven Spielberg's classic blockbuster film Jaws is not the opening scene, despite its being accompanied by that famous music, nor the first appearance of Bruce amongst Brody's scattered chum, nor even the eventual destruction of the famously-undersized boat by the relentless beast. It is the moment on the eve of battle when, in the quiet of the boat's cabin in the middle of the night, Quint relates his experience with the USS Indianapolis to Brody and the rapidly-sobering Hooper. Quint may not be real, but the story, unfortunately, is. A ship goes down, torpedoed, and sinks in minutes. No one knows they are there. Four days in the water, exposed to burning sun and coarse salt, no food or water. Eleven hundred men went into the water, three hundred came out, sharks took the rest.

The film quite naturally emphasises the shark angle, and the reality is certainly horrific (on page 285, Stanton estimates that of the approximately 900 who survived the initial sinking, 200 were killed by shark attack – a rate of 50 a day. And that's not counting the already-dead bodies that the sharks feasted on). But what Doug Stanton's detailed factual account In Harm's Way impresses upon you is that the sharks were only part of the horror endured by the forgotten crew as they waited hopelessly for rescue. Alongside the terrifying accounts of shark attack, Stanton also recounts the equally alarming accounts of burns (from the initial explosion and fuel oil slicks), dehydration, drowning, hypothermia, exhaustion and delirium. It's not even a question of endurance; the strongest, most resolute man could choke on fuel oil or see his lifejacket lose buoyancy or have the muscles of his broken arm chewed to the bone by saltwater. Even if he endures all this, there's nothing to stop one of the hundreds of sharks from dragging him away. The horror of the book, aside from your sympathy for these tragic men, is the horror of complete helplessness.

Like Richard Dreyfuss' Hooper, we're completely sobered by the story and locked in to its telling. I thought Stanton's account was, at times, a bit too detailed, particularly in the early stages, but he must have been doing something right because I read the 400 pages of the book in a single day and could easily have read 400 more. It's a simply-written, journalistic account (the book was expanded from an initial feature article in Men's Journal of just 12,000 words) and does justice to the story. I did find myself wanting more insight into certain events (for example, why did Commodore Gillette recall the boats initially sent in response to the Indy's SOS signal?) and in particular I was disappointed the account of the court-martial and post-war inquiry was not of greater depth. Given one of Stanton's stated purposes in writing the book was to exonerate Captain McVay, a more forensic deconstruction of how he was stitched up would have been welcome.

McVay is the only US Navy captain to have faced a court-martial for losing a ship sunk as an act of war (pg. 21) – and convicted, at that, and by a panel including an admiral who was himself perhaps culpable (pg. 294). The government and navy in general wanted to cover up its own culpability in not rescuing the men in the water for four days (and then only after discovering them by chance). As a further insult to a man who had the misfortune to be attacked in a warzone, and had borne the same trials of exposure and shark that the others of the crew had endured, the navy invited the Japanese submarine commander who sunk McVay to testify against him. Only a few months after the war had ended, this must have been a humiliating insult. Even when the Japanese submariner's testimony actually benefits McVay (in that he would have been able to sink the Indy no matter what countermeasures she took (pg. 304)), the inquiry panel finds otherwise. The grubby hands of Admiral King are everywhere (in everything I've read of him over many years as a WW2 history buff, he's always seemed a repellent man) and, as so often in life, the people in charge are choosing where they can safely deflect responsibility. And yet Stanton's account never really delves into King or the Navy scheming, and so does not convey the white-hot anger one should feel at these developments.

Perhaps the best thing Stanton's book does, beyond the justice paid to the survivors and the dead in telling their story respectfully, is contrast the buck-passing and bureaucratic squirming at the top with the understated heroism of those at the sharp end. One of the most affecting anecdotes in In Harm's Way comes on page 266, when the ship's doctor distributes fresh water that has been dropped to them in canisters from a passing plane, to tide them over until the more considered rescue operation can finally begin (four days late). The doctor, assessing the condition of each of the men around him, orders certain men to be given their meagre ration first. A cup of water is passed down the line of men, all of whom have gone four days without a drink and endured much else besides, to each of the targeted men in turn. No one broke under this tantalising test, and each man waited his turn. The doctor still marvels in telling the story to the author decades later. The contrast to the self-serving squirmers and the cruelly bureaucratic might be unintentional, but it is there. The book makes you realise, starkly, just how precious basic humanity can be. In a modern world where sports stars can be heroes for playing well and people who regret a one-night stand twenty years ago can be survivors, we can read true stories like In Harm's Way and think in horror and wonder at what men can endure.

"More than a few of them didn't have life vests. They were half dog-paddling and half drowning, heroically supported by comrades who themselves were close to giving up. The boys supporting these swimmers had enormous sores on their hips from the chafing of their heavy loads. Yet none of them wanted to let go of their charges. They were clinging to them as if saving themselves." (pg. 232) ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | Apr 30, 2020 |
Simply outstanding, riveting listening the whole way through. ( )
  danhibbert | Sep 9, 2019 |
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FOR
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Died October 25, 1944
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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 struggled to stay alive, battered by a savage sea and fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time help arrived-nearly four days and nights later-all but 317 men had died. How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And 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 this harrowing chapter of World War II history, In Harm's Way is a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage. Now available for the first time in trade paperback, the bestselling account of America's worst naval disaster-and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived On July 30, 1945, after the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine.

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