All the Drowned Sailors Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of All the Drowned Sailors

On July 30, 1945, four days after the USS Indianapolis delivered the first operational atomic bomb to the island of Tinian (and exactly a week before that bomb would be dropped on Hiroshima), the unescorted heavy cruiser was torpedoed on its way to the Philippines by a Japanese submarine. The Navy never noticed that the ship did not reach its destination; 300 sailors went down with the ship, and 900 others floundered in the water for four days -- starving, drowning, and attacked by sharks, before being accidentally spotted by a passing bomber. Only 316 members of the original 1,196-man crew survived. Several books have been published about the hapless ship and how the Navy courtmartialed and blamed its captain so that he died a broken and alcoholic man (and Quint, the crusty sea salt played by Robert Shaw, claims to be a survivor and recounts the basic tale in the movie "Jaws"). This is the only one I have read, so I don't know how it compares (and since Capt. McVay has only recently been officially rehabilitated by Congress, I gather the book is being republished in 2001 as _The Tragic Fate of the USS Indiapolis_), but it's competently written and the tale is irresistable. Some of the images make indelible imprints on the mind: "The doctor [Lt. Cmdr. Lewis Leavitt Haynes] continued to pronounce men dead. He would remove their jackets, recite the Lord's Prayer, and release the bodies. The water was very clear, and Doctor Haynes remembered the bodies looking like small dolls sinking in the deep sea. He watched them until they faded from sight."
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of All the Drowned Sailors

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Kind Of History

Time of history:    -   1940's History of military?    -   Yes Armed Forces:    -   Navy History of disaster/tragedy?    -   Yes Kind of disaster:    -   Boat/Dicaprio event Nationality?    -   American--General Specific war?    -   World War II

Subjects of this Historical Account

Is the portrayal sympathetic?    -   Sympathetic From a certain profession/group?    -   naval soldiers


Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Pacific Islands Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   warship    -   drowning    -   lifeboat    -   lost at sea    -   feeding sharks

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   4 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   4 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Book makes you feel...    -   depressed/sad How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses mostly on history of key players How much romance?    -   1 () Minor characters feature lots of:    -   military Length of book    -   300-350 pages

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Raymond B. Lech Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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