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Abandon Ship!: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster
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Abandon Ship!: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  384 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Sailing across the Pacific, the battle-scarred heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis had just delivered a secret cargo that would trigger the end of World War II. Heading westward, she was sunk by a Japanese submarine. In twelve minutes, some 300 men went down with her. More than 900 other spent four horrific days and five nights in the ocean with no water to drink, savaged by...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1976)
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Abandon Ship tells the story of one of the most heartbreaking incidents in WWII, the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis in the last weeks of the war, and the ordeal of the survivors, who suffered four days and five nights in the waters of the Pacific, waiting for rescue. Newcomb’s account of the ship’s top-secret voyage, the terrible incident, and the subsequent military trial is detailed and fascinating. Originally published in 1958 by the decorated WWII naval correspondent, this is...more
OK, where do I begin? First off, the Indianapolis should have had a Destroyer escort, being since it was an older ship and did not have any submarine detection devices. People in the loop knew that enemy sub activity had been reported and verified in the very path that the Indianapolis was to take. Yet, she was not sent with an escort. That's one thing. Secondly, the other half of the debacle should never have occurred either. The men were in the water for 4 days and 5 nights, even though they s...more
Good stuff. This covers everything surrounding the delivery of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and the ship that brought it half-way around the world. After it delivered the bomb the ship, USS Indianapolis, was sunk by a Japanese sub just after 12 a.m. 1,100 men went into the water and only 300 came out. They spent close to 100 hours bobbing in the water, day and night, while the sun opened their skin during the day and they shivered at night. A good deal died at the mouths of sharks, b...more
Bill Subalusky
One of the best military books I've read. Well written, without much of the military jargon that usually fogs up such a book, it's a captivating story with three elements: incrible details on what the crew experienced as the ship took a torpedoe hit and then sank; an equally detailed description of the several days the survivors spent in the shark infested waters of the Pacific, where more died than did in the sinking; and the court room proceedings and follow-up that reflect the determination o...more
I personally would have enjoyed this book more if it had been more about the actual story of the Indianapolis and less about the attempt to assign blame. There is no doubt that the account of the court martial afterwards, the letters if reprimand, and the new Navy regulations certainly shed light on the entire story, but personally was much more interested in the story of what happened between the time the ship was struck by torpedos and when the crewmen finally reached dry land again than the a...more
In July 1945 the cruiser USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Pacific. More than 900 sailors spent four days in the water, under scorching sun amidst swarms of sharks with no water or food. No rescue planes searched for them. A Navy patrol plane accidentally discovered them. Ultimately only 316 men survived. Richard Newcomb provides a well researched account of the sailors’ ordeal and the military blunder. Peter Maas’ afterword adds facts which were previously unavailable to...more
Mary Jane
As an American, I felt somewhat obligated to read this account of the sinking of the Indianapolis. The actual event was horrific; the subsequent handling by the Navy was inexcusable.

It appears to me that the sinking of the ship and the 4 day aftermath can be likened to the perfect storm. So many seemingly inconsequential - and some very prominent - events had to occur for this tragedy to unfold.

I am always grateful to our servicemen and women. More so, after having read this.
This was an excellent book about a very tragic, but true story. I thoroughly enjoyed the historic information but the book was a little choppy in the factual writing of the details. I'm sure it was difficult for the author to introduce so many characters and how they were was just a little tricky to follow at points. I found myself re-reading a page or two here or there so I could better understand what exactly was going on. Great story in spite of this-
This book took me into WWII and kept me there - I was angry at the way the captain of this ship was treated and sorry for all involved.
An excellent read. It plugged a lot of holes, and answered a lot of questions I have always had. Every TV documentary I have ever seen has glossed over what was important and just concentrated on the men in the water and the sharks. Glad to see justice was finally done, even if it was too late for some.
Susan McDaniel
A gripping story from the first page to the last. As a high school English teacher, I require my students to read certain genres throughout the year. One of my students chose this book and told me he could not put it down once he started it. That fact that a high schooler would read it from beginning to end speaks volumes of the author's style and expertise as a storyteller. I would highly recommend this book.
A difficult true story of survival at sea amidst shark attacks. The USS Indianapolis had jsut finished delivering the atomic bombs to Tinian. Because of the secrecy required, not even the naval pacific fleet was aware of Indianapolis location. When sunk in a random Japanese sub attack, nobody knew where they were and the 900 survivors spent over 4 days at sea. Only 315 survived the sharks and were rescued.
Despite some rather clumsy prose, this was a fairly quick read. The author was apparently not fluent in naval matters, so the book is a straightforward narrative of events with little real insight into the organizational peculiarities of the Navy, especially with regards to the courts-martial and letters of reprimands that followed the disaster.
Robert Luebke
Abandon Ship is a very interesting historical account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The mission this ship accomplished in helping end World War II and the tradegy that followed is a must read for all World War II history buffs and all Americans who honor the sacrifice these sailors endured.
I don't think this was a great book but I could not put it down either. I had always wanted to learn more about the Indianapois and I think this book did a pretty good job. Anyone who is a fan of WWII or Military History (or Jaws, yes, the one with the big shark) should read this book.
Jaime Contreras
This was a riveting naval tale that actually happened. The style and depth with which the author writes adds to the addiction to the book. This was a wonderful book about the war in the Pacific during the last months of the war.
Monica Perez
This was one of the saddest stories I have ever read, if not the saddest. About the sinking of the uss indianapolis and the loss of over 800 men in the final days of wwII. A horrible miscarriage of justice on so many levels.
The most fascinating part of this story is not the disaster itself, but the legal and personal aftermath, even fifty years after the fact. A good break from more think-ish reading.
Don't want to say too much and spoil the book, but a sad story that had my eyes wet several times. It really angers you how this was treated. Read it and find out what I mean.
I have been meaning to read this book forever! One of my old neighbors was a survivor, Woody James. This just increased my respect and awe for his survival. He was a great man!!
Fredrick Danysh
The USS Indianapolis tansported the atomic bombs to Titian Island. On its return voyage it sank and the navy was unaware of its loss. This is the story of that incident.
Mark Cooper
[Audio] Amazing true story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in WW II and the horrifying ordeal of the survivors as they waited for four days for rescue.
All the more amazing because it is true. This is the story that Quint menitons in Jaws and it is far scarier than that film.
Read of the tragety of the USS Indianapolis, the ship that carried the A-bomb to Tinian to be used on Japan in WWII.
I was drawn to the story of the USS Indianapolis by the famous scene from "Jaws." This is a great piece of history.
Keith Slade
Great true life story of survival during WW II. The story by the Capt. in "Jaws" is about it!
David Quinn
Excellent story that moved quickly. The writing felt a bit dated at times.
katen moore
could not put down and I don't even like war books
Richard York
Great tragic true story.
Liked it very much.
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