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

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  4,941 ratings  ·  825 reviews
A human drama unlike any other—the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.

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 Phil
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Lynn Vincent Wow, Merry! I'm so sorry to hear that. Your uncle's name appears in our book on page 458, in the Indianapolis Final Sailing List. What else can you sh…moreWow, Merry! I'm so sorry to hear that. Your uncle's name appears in our book on page 458, in the Indianapolis Final Sailing List. What else can you share about him? (I'm sorry I'm just now seeing this...I see that you posted it a long time ago!) -- Lynn Vincent(less)
Amy Bunn Lewis Haynes was ship's doctor, and he was from Manistee. You are probably thinking of a different book, though, as this one was published just this y…moreLewis Haynes was ship's doctor, and he was from Manistee. You are probably thinking of a different book, though, as this one was published just this year. Perhaps In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton? Or Fatal Voyage by Dan Kurzman?(less)

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Start your review of Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
“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
5+++ Engrossing and Informative Stars!

From THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER, 1798: "Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink, Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink."

U.S.S. INDIANAPOLIS - She was an old girl....just back from repairs after sustaining grave damage from a 1944 kamikaze suicide, with a new (very) young and inexperienced, an unescorted, unprotected cruiser (useless against subs) was on the way back from a new mission....a highly classi

Sep 18, 2018 added it
Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man

is the stark reality behind our use of the platitude

Thank you for your service.”

I say this not to admonish anyone who walks up to a Veteran wearing a cap, or any other identification as a Vet at a military event, hospital, or days to commemorate a remembrance of their military service. Yet, these words are easy to say without a thought to just what was sacrificed in t
Steven Z.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
In 1945, the USS Indianapolis was on a covert mission to carry nuclear materials to the Pacific where they would be used against the Japanese. On July 30, the Japanese torpedoed and sank the ship. Hundreds escaped the fiery death trap, only to be stranded for days in the shark infested ocean. Only 316 members of the crew survived. It is the worst maritime disaster in US history. However, the story doesn’t end there….

For over fifty years, the surviving crew members worked to exonerate their c
Michael Ferro
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like many people, my first experience with hearing about the tragedy of the Indianapolis was through Robert Shaw's monologue in the film "Jaws." That speech was haunting, especially for me as a young boy listening to it, and even more so than the shark in the film, it haunted me. Since then, I've always wanted to know more about those fateful days and nights on the water that the survivors endured back in 1945. With this book, all my questions and curiosities—from the morbid to the logistical—ha ...more
Martie Nees Record
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Historical Non-FictionIndy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Pub. Date: July 10, 2018

If you did not see the movie “Jaws” (1975) you missed the actor Robert Shaw’s iconic scene describing the experiences the boys/men endured during WWII when their ship the USS Indianapolis was sunk by enemy fire. They spent four horrific days in shark-infested waters watching each other being eaten alive. The late actor will put more goose bumps on you than my words ever could:
It is not right for one men to bear all the blame for the mistakes of so many others

This is a great book, that not only draws its strength from the vivid and horrific description of the men that were 5 days in the water, but also the quest to exonerate captain McVay, who served as the scapegoat to draw away the attention to the real reason for the sinking: the failure of the navy to warn the Indianapolis of the presence of a Japanese submarine in the area.

After having delivered parts of the atom
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book a fascinating retelling and expansion of the story of the USS Indianapolis. The Indi, as her crew called her, had just delivered the parts to the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and was in transit to Leyte when she was struck by 2 torpedoes fired by a Japanese Submarine. She sank appox 12 minutes and of her nearly 1200 man crew, appox 900 were able to abandon ship.

This narrative is more than a retelling of that disaster. The authors tell the Indi's story from her commissioni
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am ashamed to admit that I knew nothing of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II until I saw a documentary on it during Shark Week on Discovery Channel in 2007. Years of history classes...many on the two world wars....for a college degree....and I knew nothing about the most disastrous sinking in US Naval history. Most stories about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis focus on the sharks that attacked both dead bodies and live sailors in the water after the sinking, but this ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic.

A remarkable work of historical research covering America’s worst maritime disaster of the 20th century. There were no stones left unturned here including vast coverage of the subsequent court-martial of the Captain and interviews with survivors some fifty years later. The portion of the book that detailed the men trying to cling to life in the shark infested waters was very tragic to read and well told.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story of the In
✨Bean's Books✨
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.
Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been s
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Check out all of my reviews at:

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 is one of the most engrossing and riveting nonfiction books I have read. I enjoy reading nonfiction books set during WWII because I truly do believe they were written about an extraordinary generation. This book not only vividly describes the history of the Indianapolis’
Eric Hausman-Houston
This amazing ship and these amazing men who fought for our freedom need to be remembered. INDIANAPOLIS is a captivating retelling bringing new light to this incredibly important moment in history. More than just a riveting, harrowing tragedy, due to such an unlikely series of events so near to the end of the war, it is ultimately a story of survival and redemption. A must read for all!
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, congratulations to the authors Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic for the many, many hours of research, interviews, and patience putting this true full account of the sinking of the ship and the court-martial of Captain Charles McVay.
I usually get tired or worn out reading books that are over 350 pages or so. This one is well over 400 and every bit of it was an adventure for me - a page turner.
This story is well defined about the stuff that took place before, during and after the sinking of th
Doug Phillips
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
This is a book that held me quite interested for the first 60 percent, and then lost me like the title ship was for so many long days.

Other books have covered the ground of the great toll paid by the many sailors of the Indianapolis. The authors here have done meticulous research and it shows. Part of that research is a careful retelling of the court case that reads like a transcript for the ending portion of the book. I admittedly found myself wishing the book would conclude well before the fi
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by John Bedford Lloyd

The subtitle is all the synopsis anyone needs: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man.

I’ve known about the U.S.S. Indianapolis since I was about eleven years old. In 7th grade I became fascinated by sharks and read virtually every book in my public library about them. Many of those books included the story of the Indianapolis sinking and the days at sea that the survivors endured. S
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of Indianapolis by LynnVincent and Sara Vladic courtesy of Net Galley  and Simon snd Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as  I read a couple of other books on the events surrounding the sinkng of the Indianapolis, but this one carried it forward
Brooke Lorren
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Indianapolis is an outstanding telling of the ship that was entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the atomic weapons that led to the end of World War II in Japan... and then was sunk shortly afterwards. It is the story of how the men survived five days in in shark-infested waters while the Navy bumbled about, not even knowing that the ship was missing until some of the survivors were spotted by a passing plane. It is the story of how the captain of the vessel was unjustly blamed for ever ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While there are several books published about the USS Indianapolis, this one is the most complete account of not only the sinking and survival stories, but also of the mistakes by other Navy commands, the subsequent scapegoating of Captain McVay with a court marshall due to failure to zig zag and the valiant attempt to clear his name by a 13 year old boy. No matter what aspect of the story of the Indianapolis intrigues you, pick up this book.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The numbers are just staggering in this largely unknown naval tragedy at the end of World War II. The USS Indianapolis is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on a cloudy night and 300 men go down with the ship while 900 men end up in the water. The elements, lack of water and food, fire and oil, dehydration, and sharks lead to the deaths of nearly 600 more enduring four more days in the water before being discovered and rescued. There were 317 survivors including the Captain who was subsequently “ ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent account of the tragic fate of the USS Indianapolis in the closing days of World War II. It tells the story with incredible attention to detail but is eminently readable. It, in fact, reads like a novel and is a magnificent tribute to the Captain and sailors of this famous ship. Highly recommended.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure words can do this book justice! It's an immaculate portrayal of the history of the USS Indianapolis that was torpedoed and sunk during the end of WW2. What made this story so gripping was the quest of the ship's survivors to clear their captain's name of blame for the sinking. It is truly an inspiring and heroic tale that had my eyes welled up with tears and my ears fuming with steam. It will touch your heart and make you hoppin' mad!!

I'm going to be honest and warn other readers t
Anne Morgan
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During WWII, under a highly classified mission, the USS Indianapolis delivered the atomic bomb. On its return, the Captain and crew were traveling solo in the Philippine Sea when struck by Japanese torpedos. Nearly 900 men went into the water and for five nights and four days each man struggled to stay alive. Desperate for food and water, the dangers only became worse. While many men were succumbing to disorientation due to lack of water, the increasing threat of shark attacks became considerabl ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic have crafted an amazing read in "Indianapolis" that puts you in the middle of a seemingly unbelievable tale of war, loss, brotherhood, victory, faith and determination as they unpack the story of the USS Indianapolis. From the time at sea through the secret journey to deliver components for Little Man to the heart-pounding torpedo attack and sinking of the ship through the survivors time adrift waiting for rescue days later, a clear visual picture is drawn of th ...more
I have a vague memory of reading about the Indianapolis in a children's book in the 1950s. It's the sharks, of course, that stayed in my memory, not all the other fascinating details revealed in this riveting account of the ship's history, the men who sailed it, and the politics that led to its demise. I had forgotten, if I ever knew, the role it played in transporting an atomic bomb for use against Japan. The reversal of the court martial against Captain Charles McVay seems long overdue, too li ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
4.5 STARS.

This is a nonfiction account of everything that has anything to do with this war ship. I loved the way the author organized all of this research. This was fascinating. When I originally looked at the length of the audio (because it is on the long side), I thought there were going to be boring parts. To my surprise.....that never happened.

I liked the details of the men, both personal and professional. They were well done. The author put faces to these men and it added the personal touc
Patricia Romero
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, war
Coming from these two authors, I knew this was going to be a good book. And it was. I don't usually do Military history. But something about this story pulled at me.

A true account of what happened to the ship and crew of the USS Indianapolis. After delivering precious cargo that would effectively end the war with Japan, she has limped on a course to complete the repairs that were not finished before they were pulled for a special top-secret mission. But they never made it. Torpedoed by the enemy
Garrett Getschow
The best book I’ve read on naval history (albeit I have only read a few), and also one of the top 5 books I’ve ever read.

The stories of the survivors of the Indianapolis are both terrifying and heroic; this book is nearly impossible to put down. And the tragedy led to a new development of Naval ship tracking still used to this day.
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