In Harm's Way Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of In Harm's Way

The story of the USS Indianapolis, misplaced by the Navy and torpedoed by a Japanese sub just before the end of World War II, so that its crew floundered in the Pacific Ocean -- drowning, going mad, eaten by sharks -- for more than three days, has been told before (and not just by Captain Quint in the movie "Jaws"). It's a story one cannot hear too many times, though, and Stanton adds a bit to previous narratives by such writers as Richard Newcomb and Raymond Lech by filling in more of the background, from details about on-board life (what and how much the sailors consumed) to physical conditions (the nature of shark behavior, the degradation of body temperature over time when one is continually in the water, the mortal threat sea water itself poses to the human body). The author manages to get in a lot of detail without ever slowing a narrative that is crisp and reads swiftly. Although Congress finally passed an amendment exonerating the ship's captain, Charles McVay, in October 2000, the Navy has yet to expunge the conviction on his record for a disaster not of his making and in which he behaved honorably. A stunning tale, well told.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of In Harm's Way

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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


Ice Caps/Sea?    -   Yes Where?    -   Ocean Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   warship    -   swimming on    -   drowning    -   lost at sea    -   feeding sharks

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   4 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   7 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Book makes you feel...    -   in awe How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses on brief history of a lot of players How much romance?    -   1 () Is book humorous?    -   Yes How much humor?    -   2 () If humorous, kind of humor    -   Dry-cynical Minor characters feature lots of:    -   military Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A significant amount Maps necessary?    -   Necessary maps provided Length of book    -   250-300 pages How much emphasis on small details?    -   4 ()

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