Book review – In Harm’s Way

by thoughtfulconservative

In Harm’s Way (full name: In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors) is Doug Stanton’s telling of the last voyage of the USS Indianapolis and the aftermath of the torpedo hit she took.

Beginning with the suicide of the unjustly condemned captain, the book takes us back to that final voyage; the loading of the atomic bomb and it’s delivery, the return voyage, the torpedoing and sinking, and the stories of the survivors.

It was the stories of the survivors that took up the bulk of the book and was the most riveting.

Of the nearly 1200 men that set sail on the Indianapolis, only 317 survived. Two hundred alone were lost to shark attacks that came at morning and evening. The suffering from the sun, the water and their wounds are unimaginable.

Captain McVay received a court-martial because of the incident. He later committed suicide. His men fought for his conviction to be overturned and, although the Navy exonerated him, his record has not yet been expunged [Ed. Note--As noted by Captain Toti in the comments, this last statement was incorrect. In the "Afterword 2001" Mr. Stanton notes that on July 13, 2001 the court martial was removed from Captain McVay's record. My apologies for this oversight and my thanks to Mr. Toti for pointing it out.]

2 Comments to “Book review – In Harm’s Way”

  1. Your last statement is not correct. I am the Navy captain (now retired) referred to in the epilogue of Doug Stanton’s book. I was involved both in the exoneration of McVay, and I personally entered the exoneration language into McVay’s service record. When I turned his record back in for filing, it had no reference to the court martial entered. Hence, his record has been expunged.

  2. Thank you for your correction, Mr. Toti. I see in the “Afterword 2001″ that it was expunged. I apologize for the error and will correct it in the post.

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