This is "one of the untold stories of the Second World War": the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, in fact the last ship sunk during the conflict. Torpedoed by a Jap sub, it went down in a matter of minutes. Of the 1,200 men who went into the water, only 321 were to survive. What happened to them over the next five days makes up the subject of this book. The physical and mental hardship of those who remained, left floating without supplies and at the mercies of sharks make gripping reading. The book is also the story of one man in particular, Captain Butler McVay, who was held responsible for the loss of his ship and court-martialled - the only naval captain to be so disciplined. Years after the events, tormented by guilt, he took his own life. Stanton's book is part historical account, part survival story, and part reappraisal of McVay's culpability, leading to a revisionist view of events. It utilises recently released government documents and can be recommended.
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is one of the great untold stories of the Second World War; a future classic of war writing that offers a privileged insight into the extremes of human experience.
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