Publisher and Publication Date: Simon & Schuster. July 10, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Naval history. World War II.
Audience: Readers of World War II history.
Link for the book @ Simon and Schuster.
Link for the book @ Amazon. At this time, this book is included in Kindle Unlimited. The hardcover is $12.31.
Goodreads author page for Lynn Vincent.
Goodreads author page for Sara Vladic.
Lynn Vincent is a U.S. Navy Veteran, and the author of several history books.
Sara Vladic is a documentary film maker, and a leading expert on the history of the USS Indianapolis.
From the opening line: “She was born from soil as American as the men who sailed her.”
This is one of the best opening lines I’ve read!
The USS Indianapolis was christened in 1932 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
It was a Portland-Class Heavy Cruiser.
The USS Indianapolis in the final days of World War II had transported a secret that was hoped to end the war. Soon after delivering the secret, the ship is hit with two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine. It sank. Most of the men, both Navy and Marine, were able to get off the ship before it sank. Only 316 survived after five nights and four days in the Philippine Sea.
Indianapolis tells the entire story of the ship and its military men. From the time it was built and christened, to the sinking and survival of the men, the aftermath of those who survived the rescue, the trial of the captain, and the investigation and perseverance to exonerate him.
I have a personal connection to the story.
A woman who my mother was friends with starting in 1942 when they both worked at the Houston, TX Telephone Company as switchboard operators, her husband either died on the Indianapolis or in the water. She does not want to know the details of his death. They were childhood friends who fell in love, and they married in 1944. Thelma was a widow at age 18.
It’s been a few years ago, but on Memorial Day, I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon information about the USS Indianapolis group. They have a goal to have a photograph of every Navy and Marine Veteran who was on the Indianapolis. I contacted Thelma, and she and her daughters put together pictures and information to send the Indianapolis group. It was planned to fly a flag in honor of her husband at their memorial museum. Thelma was presented with a flag. This is the first time she had been presented with a flag after his death.
I feel humbled that I was able to help Thelma connect with this group and honor her husband.
There was no funeral for him. There was nothing but a couple of telegrams for her to read.
I don’t know if these are the right words to use, but there is a sense of comfort, dignity, and peace for her in this act.
Thelma is still living at age 96. She later married and had children, but she did not forget her first love, and possibly her great love.
My Thoughts of the book:
This is the second book I’ve read about the story of the USS Indianapolis. The first book is In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton.
Indianapolis is a difficult book to read. I knew what happened. But there is such a feeling of sadness and loss. But also, a feeling of…. I’m at a loss for words.
After reading the last page. I closed the book and sat in my chair for a long time. It is overwhelming what these brave men endured.
They too at times are at a loss for words. The horrors they saw are unspeakable, but as best they can, they try and give their testimony of what happened.
Much of this book is a survivor record of the events that unfolded. How they felt. What they saw. And also looking at the event in retrospect.
Vincent and Vladic form the structure of how the book is laid out. They share the background information. For example, the history of the ship. The battles it had taken part in. The recording of the survivor’s accounts.
The Bibliography is 65 pages in length.
The book is heavily researched by the writing team.
Before the prologue, there is a two-page spread of the USS Indianapolis. It is a diagram or map showing all the areas of the ship.
65 photographs are included. Most are in black and white.
The story also includes information from the perspective and memory of the Japanese commanding officer on the submarine, Mochitsura Hashimoto.
This is a must-read book if you are a military reader, Veteran, or a person who reads World War II history.