In Harm's Way:
The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors

Macmillan | 320 pages | 2003


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The definitive account of this harrowing chapter of World War II history—already a bestseller in its hardcover and mass market editions—In Harm's Way is a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage. The unabridged audiobook edition of In Harm’s Way is the winner of a 2017 Audie Award.

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated three hundred men were killed upon impact; close to nine hundred sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they struggled to stay alive, battered by a savage sea and fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time help arrived—nearly four days and nights later—all but 317 men had died. How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And how did these 317 men manage to survive? Interweaving the stories of three survivors—the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine—journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless.

Reviews

“Stellar…Fascinating…a gut-wrenching story of everyday heroes.”
—The New York Post

“Gripping.  Compelling.”
—The Chicago Tribune

“Powerful…one the most poignant tragedies and injustices of World War II.”
—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

Infuriating, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking…impossible to put down.”
—Rick Atkinson, author of The Long Gray Line and Crusade

“The most frightening book I’ve ever read.”
—Stephen E. Ambrose, author of Nothing Like It in The Wind

“A stunning book…one of the most harrowing tales of World War II…Doug Stanton takes you through every terrifying moment in a vivid and utterly memorable account.”
—Tom Brokaw, Author of The Greatest Generation

“A thoroughly researched, powerfully written account of a nightmare at sea, one of the most poignant tragedies and injustices of World War II. I was struck throughout by the extraordinary heroism of the marines and sailors who survived, all the more remarkable because they do not see it in themselves.”
—Mark Bowden, Author of Black Hawk Down

"Doug Stanton has done this country a service by bringing the incredible yet almost-forgotten story of the USS Indianapolis to heart-pounding life. Do yourself a favor. Read In Harm's Way."
—James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys

“Perhaps Stanton’s vivid account of the ordeal of the Indianapolis will compel the Navy to examine the matter again, since the book seems likely to find many readers and stir strong emotions.”
—The Washington Post

“It is nothing less than a monument to courage and triumph of the human spirit.”
Arizona Daily Star

“His work is an engrossing read.”
The Providence Journal

“Stanton writes a riveting account of the USS Indianapolis…and provides a harrowing story of what the survivors withstood.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“In this riveting oral history, Stanton focuses on the personal stories of three survivors.”
The Denver Post

“Accounts of the rescue of those pitiful survivors by the crews aboard the ships that sped to the scene would melt a heart of stone.”
The Richmond Times Dispatch

“Vividly recreates this catastrophic chapter in military history. Weaving together accounts from official records and interviews with many survivors, he has created a war story that is part “Titanic,” part Stephen King nightmare. Stanton has a sharp eye for the story’s awful ironies and telling details.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune