The Corner

Culture

‘The Immortal Indianapolis’

I wrote today about the story of the USS Indianapolis, which never loses its ability to astonish:

The worst disaster in the history of the United States Navy only began with the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

Three hundred men died in the initial catastrophe on July 30, 1945, then the survivors cast into the sea suffered unimaginable horrors, abandoned for days without food or water in shark-infested waters.

The new book Indianapolis is a best-seller, a testament not just to its novelistic style, but to the enduring fascination with the tragedy.

Another book published about 15 years ago, In Harm’s Way, also was a best-seller. A feature film was released about the doomed ship two years ago. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen spearheaded an expedition in August 2017 to discover the wreck at the bottom of the Pacific, and PBS aired a special of underwater footage of the majestic graveyard shortly thereafter.

As long as tales of the sea move human hearts — which is to say, approximately, forever — the story of the Indianapolis will shock and inspire.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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