The authors of “Indianapolis – The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man,” Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, will gave a presentation at the Frankfort Community Public Library on Monday, July 23, at 6 p.m. The first 10 guests will receive a free copy of the book, courtesy of the Friends of the Frankfort Library. This event is free and open to the public. Additional copies of their book will be available for purchase.
This summer, Simon & Schuster is proud to be publishing a big, exciting work of World War II history: INDIANAPOLIS: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by #1 New York Times Best Selling author Lynn Vincent and National Geographic Historian Sara Vladic. You may be familiar with the story of the USS Indianapolis sinking, but this is the first time, thanks to years of original research and extensive interviews with 107 survivors, that the complete story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history has been told. Notably, INDIANAPOLIS includes the 50-year fight to exonerate the ship’s captain after a wrongful court martial, among other ground-breaking revelations.
Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, days after delivering the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war, the USS Indianapolis –the flagship of the WWII Pacific fleet – is sailing alone in the center of the Philippine Sea when she is struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The ship is instantly transformed into a fiery cauldron and sinks within minutes. Some 300 men go down with the ship. Nearly 900 make it into the water alive. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, the men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive.
Because of meticulous research and survivor relationships cultivated over the last 17 years, Vincent and Vladic are able to take the reader into the action like never before. They give a visceral, heart-rending, moment-by-moment account of the chaos on board the sinking ship and the first moments of shock as the crew plunge into the sea. They reveal the untold stories of the crew left adrift for five days in the Philippine Sea, as terror and hunger morph into delusion and desperation, as well as those of the heroic rescuers, many of whom were only teenagers. Vincent and Vladic also chronicle the top-secret mission by an Army spy to shepherd the core of the first atomic bomb, Little Boy, aboard the Indianapolis; and the hidden history of the Top Secret ULTRA program that could have saved the ship.
Finally, the authors go beyond the men’s rescue to tell the story of the Indianapolis’s extraordinary final mission: the survivors’ 50-year fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Captain Charles McVay III, who is wrongly court-martialed for the sinking. What follows is a captivating courtroom drama that weaves through generations of American presidents, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and forever entwines the lives of three captains—McVay, whose life and career are never the same after the scandal; Mochitsura Hashimoto, the Japanese sub commander who sinks Indianapolis but later joins the battle to exonerate McVay; and William Toti, the captain of the modern-day submarine Indianapolis, who helps the survivors fight to vindicate their captain.
A sweeping saga of survival, sacrifice, justice, and love—unfolding against the larger war and the historic actions of titans of the era—INDIANAPOLIS stands as both groundbreaking naval history and spellbinding narrative. It is the definitive account of one of the most remarkable episodes in American history.