Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis

Marc Tyler Nobleman
For ages 9 to 12
Compass Point Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0756520311

The USS Indianapolis came into service in 1932. She was built for speed, having less armor than other cruisers of her kind and she became "a symbol of American strength" in the pre-war years. By the time the war began the USS Indianapolis was no longer a state of the art ship but she was put to work nevertheless.

After the war in Europe was over and on the same day that the first atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico, the USS Indianapolis was loaded with two containers and it began a ten day journey to Tinian Island in the Pacific. The containers held parts for "Little Boy," the first of the two atomic bombs which would be dropped on Japan. After making the delivery the cruiser set off for the Philippines where it was to stand by to await the planned invasion of Japan.

For the journey the USS Indianapolis was not given the customary protection, a destroyer which would sail with it. Nor was the captain warned that at least one Japanese submarine was in the area. Instead the captain sailed towards the Philippines not knowing that his ship was in grave danger.

In this very moving account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis the author not only describes what happened to the ship but he also does a great job setting the record straight. For years the captain of the cruiser was blamed for its tragic loss. Here the author shows his readers that the captain did what he was supposed to do. The same cannot be said for other officers who were involved with the USS Indianapolis.

Well written and with numerous photographs throughout, this "We the People" title offers readers a fascinating picture of the past.