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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
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The story of USS Houston's service as Asiatic Fleet's flagship when America entered the war has only been told once before with any competence (E.P. Hoyt's "The Lonely Ships") -- but not with the detail provided by Hornfischer. More importantly, the story of USS Houston's survivors, as they worked on the Burma-Thai death railway, and in at least one instance, as slave labor in a Japanese shipyard, and the endurance, resistence to Imperial Japanese Army sadistic brutality, and the prisoners' acts of defiance has never been told before.
This is Hornfischer's second widely available entry exploring the courage and valor of men of the US Navy in WW2 who, in some circumstances, faced very long odds and survived. Those who have read Hornfischer's "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" will be pleased with this new entry. "Ship of Ghosts" is sure to be another candidate for the Samuel E. Morison award for naval history.
Well, I was wrong! This IS an epic story, more involved than the bks I have on the Indianapolis, Juneau or Bismark, written in an easy-reading style,(different than most of my WWII books) full of human interest stories & personal experiences - I read it in 10hrs in 2 sittings. 100pgs of the 530 are notes, but it incls the crew list, so it's a good value for your $18 - not like that new Midway book 'Shattered Sword' which is half technical info. I'm going to get this authors other 'Last Stand' bk.
And hey - if you're going to review these books, don't go on & on w/ all the details/contents like some of these guys - why bother reading it. You'd think these guys are writting their own book!
Hornfischer's second effort deals with the heavy cruiser USS Houston, the flagship of the rag-tag Asiatic Fleet. Given orders to intercept the advancing Imperial Japanese Navy in the early days of the Pacific war, the small Asiatic fleet had little chance of survival. The Japanese held a massive superiority over the Allies in all types of ships. It was only a matter of time before the Japanese succeeded in destroying the plucky little Allied fleet.
Despite these overwhelming odds, the Asiatic Fleet fought bravely, though in the end, the Japanese prevailed. The Houston and the Australian cruiser HMAS Perth were sunk in the Java Sea while attempting to sneak by the Japanese fleet and reach safety in Australia.
Several hundred crewmen of the Houston and Perth were captured by the Japanese and dispresed to various POW camps in Southeast Asia. This began a three-year ordeal for the survivors, who were forced to deal with the constant brutality of their captors. Beatings were a common occurance, and the Japanese informed the POWs that escape was futile. Some men were sent to Japan to work in mines or shipyards, and some were sent to Burma and Thailand to construct a railway for the Japanese. Glamorized in the movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai", these men labored without the aid of machines to build a railway consisting of tracks, bridges, tressels, and tunnels. It was an engineering miracle that these starved and decimated men were able to accomplish such a feat.Read more ›
A great book, very thorough, will definitely add to your understanding of the Pacific war and the men who fought it. I hope America is still producing men like this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well written, exhaustively researched drama of extreme suffering at the hands of a depraved WWII Japan. Fitting, supreme tribute.Published 17 days ago by David B. Smith
Not as good as his other books, but Mr. Hornfischer's details are phenomenal. My favorite is still The Last of the Tin Can Sailors.Published 20 days ago by D. Michael Sanford
Amazing history of allies captured by Japanese in Southeast Asia.Published 1 month ago by Robert M. Agans
This is an author who did his homework. Great book! I sat with my father-in-law (survivor from the Houston) and many other survivors as James spent days getting their stories. Read morePublished 1 month ago by G. Messier
James D Hornfischer knows how to write and present a true story which puts you there watching and listening to what is happening. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dennis Keesee
A hauntingly well written and carefully presented history of these WWII S. Pacific sailors and their fate building the Japanese - Burmese Railway. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sharon Sadler
A great saga of the crew of the USS Houston, a U.S. Navy heavy cruiser that was lost at sea in a battle with the Japanese Navy near Indonesia during WWII. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joe Metro