IN HARM'S WAY: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors

Doug Stanton, Author, Doug Stanton, Afterword by IN HARM'S WAY: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-6632-6

Given the stringent precision of the U.S. Navy and military during wartime, how could a WWII battleship carrying over 1,000 men be torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sink, leaving the survivors to bob in the Pacific Ocean at the mercy of elements and predators, without anyone realizing the loss for more than four days? 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 documents the facts of the case, embellishing his story with lurid details gleaned from interviews with survivors. Though the ship's captain would become the first and only in U.S. naval history to be court-martialed for the loss of his ship, Stanton offers a solid body of evidence to justify the survivors' partially successful efforts to exonerate him. 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. Readers, of course, must trust Stanton and his research in order to be truly consumed, but the authority of his voice should win over all but the most obsessive skeptics. Illuminating and emotional without being maudlin, Stanton's book helps explain what many have long considered an inexplicable catastrophe. (May 21)

Forecast:Following on the heels of the bestselling Abandon Ship, recently resurrected by Peter Maas, this book is unlikely to be ignored. A $150,000 marketing campaign includes a nine-city author tour, national print advertising, and target marketing to the military and naval market.

Reviewed on: 04/09/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
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