She was a ship of destiny. Sailing across the Pacific, the battle scarred heavy cruiser U.S.S. "Indianapolis" had just delivered a secret cargo that would trigger the end of World War II. As she was continuing westward, her captain asked for a destroyer escort. He was told it wasn't necessary. But it was. She was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. In twelve minutes, some 300 men went down with her. More then 900 others spent four horrific days and five nights in the ocean with no water to drink, savaged by a pitless sun and swarms of sharks. Incredibly, nobody knew they were out until a Navy patrol plane accidentally discovered them. Miraculously, 316 crewmen still survived. How could this have happened -- and why? This updated edition of "Abandon Ship ," with a new introduction and afterword by Peter Maas, supplies the chilling answer. Originally published in 1958, "Abandon Ship ," was the first book to describe, in vivid detail, the unspeakable ordeal the survivors of the "Indianapolis" endured. It was also the first book to scrutinize the role of the U.S. Navy in the "Indianapolis" saga, especially in the cruel aftermath of the rescue when Captain Charles Butler McVay III was courtmartialed and convicted of "hazarding" his ship.
The bitter controversy over the Navy's handling of this case has raged for decades, with the survivors leading a campaign to set the record straight and exonerate Captain McVay. Peter Maas, the author of the "New York Times bestseller "The Terrible Hours, reveals facts previously unavailable to Richard Newcomb and chronicles the forty-year crusade to restore the captain's good name, acrusade that started with the publication of this book. He also pays tribute to its author, who dared, ahead of his time, to expose military malfeasance and cover-up, and to inspire a courageous battle to correct a grave miscarriage of justice.