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Shortly after midnight on July 30, 1945, the Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea. The ship had just left the island of Tinian, delivering components of the atomic bomb destined for Hiroshima. As the torpedoes hit, the Indianapolis erupted into a fiery coffin, sinking in less than fifteen minutes and leaving nine hundred crewmen fighting for life in shark-infested waters. They expected a swift, routine rescue, unaware that the Navy high command didn’t even realize that the Indianapolis was missing. Help would not arrive for another five days.
Drawn from definitive interviews with key figures, Fatal Voyage recounts the horrific events endured as the number of water-treading survivors dwindled to just 316. Each gruesome day brought more madness and slow death, from explosion-related injuries, dehydration, and, most terrifying of all, shark attacks. But the pain did not end when the men finally returned home: The Indianapolis’s commander, Captain Charles B. McVay III, was court-martialed for causing the apparently unavoidable disaster.
With a new afterword chronicling the fifty-five-year campaign by Indianapolis survivors and their supporters to win public vindication for Captain McVay.
"Mr. Kurzman’s description of the Indianapolis…lingers in the memory…[Kurzman] bases his account on Navy records and interviews with survivors...The torpeadoing of the Indianapolis and its remarkably rapid sinking are expertly told...[This is] a well-told–and disturbing–disaster story." -New York Times Book Review
Table of Contents
The Victor and the Vanquished; The Secret Weapon; The Heavenly Mission; Toward the Dawn; The Merchants of Tranquility; An Ordinary Cruise; Revenge of the Samurai; Prelude to Madness; Under No Command; A Way of Life; Back from the Brink; The Price of Salvation; For the Good of the Navy; Toy of Treachery; Notes; Index