The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
Simon & Schuster, 9781501135941, 544pp.
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
For the first time, thanks to years of original research and new reporting, two acclaimed authors deliver the riveting and emotionally wrenching full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history: the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II--and the fifty-year fight to exonerate the captain after a wrongful court martial. Although the USS Indianapolis was the victorious flagship of the largest fleet ever to sail the face of the earth, her story has been reduced to a sinking tale. Now, though, #1 New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist Lynn Vincent has teamed with documentary filmmaker and National Geographic historian Sara Vladic to tell the complete story for the first time. This sweeping saga of survival, justice, love, and sacrifice weaves through generations of American presidents, from Roosevelt and Truman in 1945 to Clinton and George W. Bush in the modern day, culminating in backroom deals in the halls of Congress. Indianapolis and her crew led the WWII Pacific fleet from Pearl Harbor to the islands of Japan, notching an unbroken string of victories in an uncharted theater of war. When the time came for President Harry Truman to deal Japan the decisive blow, Indianapolis answered the call, delivering the world's first atomic bomb to the Pacific in the most highly classified naval mission of the war. Four days later, two Japanese torpedoes sank her. Indianapolis's story then became not only an epic tale of survival for the 1,196 men aboard--only 317 would live--but also the tale of three captains whose lives would be forever entwined: Charles McVay, who was wrongly court martialed for the sinking; Mochitsura Hashimoto, the Japanese sub commander who sank Indianapolis but later joined the fight to exonerate McVay; and William Toti, captain of the modern-day submarine, Indianapolis, who helped the survivors win their fight to vindicate their captain. Based on new primary sources and interviews with 108 survivors, Vincent and Vladic reveal the untold stories of the crew left adrift for five days in the Philippine Sea as they battled dehydration, sharks, insanity, and each other; the Army spy who shepherded the bomb aboard Indianapolis; the hidden history of the Top Secret ULTRA program that could have saved the ship; and the survivors' fifty-year fight for justice. In this powerfully emotional account--unfolding against the larger war and the historic actions of titans of the era--the USS Indianapolis and its heroic crew come to full, vivid, unforgettable life.