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Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors Paperback – August 28, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 379 ratings

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Frequently bought together

  • Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors
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  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
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  • The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ship of Ghosts would be an unforgettable book if only for its brilliantly wrought account of the massive, chaotic sea battle that destroyed the USS Houston. But that is only the beginning of a story that grows more harrowing with every chapter, and that finally leaves the reader amazed at what human beings are capable of achieving and enduring.” —Stephen Harrigan, author of Challenger Park and The Gates of the Alamo

"On sea and on land, these intrepid sailors endured enough for a thousand lifetimes. In this riveting account, Hornfischer carefully reconstructs a story none of us should be allowed to forget."—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers

“Hornfischer has produced another meticulously researched naval history page-turner in Ship of Ghosts. He manages to fuse powerful human stories into the great flow of historical events with a singular story-telling talent.”—John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy, author of On Seas of Glory

“Hornfischer has done it again. His narrative is fine-tuned and always compelling but where he truly excels is in his evocative, often lyrical descriptions of combat at sea. Those who enjoyed his previous best-seller will love Ship of Ghosts—military history at its finest.”—Alex Kershaw, author of The Bedford Boys and The Few

“Masterly…[the] description of the huge and terrifying naval engagements are as overwhelming a stretch of historical writing as I have ever come across…. Beautifully written and heartgripping.”—Adam Nicolson, author of God’s Secretaries

“Recounts perhaps the most devastating untold saga of World War II in piercing detail.”—Donovan Webster, author of The Burma Road

 “Hornfischer is quickly establishing himself as doing for the Navy what popular historian Stephen Ambrose did for the Army…. So great is the drama of the Houston and its survivors that this story seems to tell itself.” —Rocky Mountain News

“With vivid and visceral descriptions of the chaos and valor onboard the doomed Houston…the author penetrates the thoughts and fears of adrenaline-pumped sailors in the heat of combat…. Hornfischer masterfully shapes the narrative…. breathing life into an unforgettable epic of human endurance.” —USA Today

“Hornfischer has painted a compelling picture of one of the most gallant ships and one of the grimmest campaigns in American naval history. He has a positive genius for depicting the surface-warfare sailor in a tight spot. May he write long and give them more memorials.” –Booklist, starred review

“What kind of yarn is Ship of Ghosts? Put Stephen Ambrose aboard the cruiser once known as ‘the Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast.’ Next, bring Patrick O’Brien for nautical detail and high seas drama. Then factor in Joseph Conrad for tales of men under stress in exotic climes…. Naval history of the highest order.” –Metrowest [Boston] Daily News

About the Author

James D. Hornfischer is an award-winning naval historian. He is the author of The Fleet at Flood Tide, Neptune's Inferno, Ship of Ghosts, and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers and selections of the U.S. Navy Professional Reading Program, maintained by the Chief of Naval Operations. A native of Massachusetts, he lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
379 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2017
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Top international reviews

Mac1937
4.0 out of 5 stars Ship of ghosts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 1, 2018
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sidneywilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2018
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Edgar R Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of the USS Houston
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 2, 2011
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Wayne Kurr
3.0 out of 5 stars A good history flawed by some cliche, simplistic and American centered views of history.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 5, 2010
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