The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland

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A century after it sank to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the ruin of the Empress of Ireland has remained one of the most devastating tragedies in maritime history. Logan Marshall’s vivid and detailed reportage was the first account of the disaster and has endured as a classic chronicle of what happened that fateful night.

On May 28, 1914, the grand ocean liner, the Empress of Ireland, left Quebec on the St. Lawrence River, bound for an Atlantic crossing to Liverpool, England. At a few minutes before two o’clock on the morning of Friday, May 29, the Empress sighted the Norwegian collier, Storstad, at the same time as a heavy fog bank was descending. Despite warnings and evasive maneuvers, the Empress was struck on the starboard side by the Storstad, which penetrated its hull by twelve feet. The captain and crew had less than fifteen minutes to save their passengers before the ship slipped under the waves. Of the 1,475 aboard, 1,078 perished in a matter of minutes. It remains the worst peacetime catastrophe in Canadian history.

In addition to his unforgettable account of the sinking, Logan Marshall also presents a gripping retelling of the Titanic disaster, as well as other maritime tragedies. For decades, Marshall’s account of the Empress of Ireland has remained the definitive version, comparable to Walter Lord’s chronicle of the Titanic sinking, A Night to Remember.

CENTENNIAL EDITION: INCLUDES PHOTOS AND A NEW AFTERWORD UPDATING THE STORY
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About the author

Logan Marshall was a pseudonym for Logan Howard-Smith, an editor at the John C. Winston Publishing Company. He wrote a number of books, including Sinking of the Titanic and Other Sea Disasters and Horrors and Atrocities of the Great War. He died in 1936.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 1, 2014
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780698151321
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
History / Maritime History & Piracy
History / Modern / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “GRIPPING…THIS YARN HAS IT ALL.” —USA Today * “A WONDERFUL BOOK.” —Christian Science Monitor * “ENTHRALLING.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) * “A MUST-READ.” —Booklist (starred review)

A human drama unlike any other—the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.

Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, days after delivering the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war, USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the center of the Philippine Sea when she is struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The ship is instantly transformed into a fiery cauldron and sinks within minutes. Some 300 men go down with the ship. Nearly 900 make it into the water alive. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, the men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive.

For the better part of a century, the story of USS Indianapolis has been understood as a sinking tale. The reality, however, is far more complicated—and compelling. Now, for the first time, thanks to a decade of original research and interviews with 107 survivors and eyewit­nesses, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic tell the complete story of the ship, her crew, and their final mission to save one of their own.

It begins in 1932, when Indianapolis is christened and launched as the ship of state for President Franklin Roosevelt. After Pearl Harbor, Indianapolis leads the charge to the Pacific Islands, notching an unbroken string of victories in an uncharted theater of war. Then, under orders from President Harry Truman, the ship takes aboard a superspy and embarks on her final world-changing mission: delivering the core of the atomic bomb to the Pacific for the strike on Hiroshima. Vincent and Vladic provide a visceral, moment-by-moment account of the disaster that unfolds days later after the Japanese torpedo attack, from the chaos on board the sinking ship to the first moments of shock as the crew plunge into the remote waters of the Philippine Sea, to the long days and nights during which terror and hunger morph into delusion and desperation, and the men must band together to survive.

Then, for the first time, the authors go beyond the men’s rescue to chronicle Indianapolis’s extraordinary final mission: the survivors’ fifty-year fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Captain Charles McVay III, who is wrongly court-martialed for the sinking. What follows is a captivating courtroom drama that weaves through generations of American presidents, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and forever entwines the lives of three captains—McVay, whose life and career are never the same after the scandal; Mochitsura Hashimoto, the Japanese sub commander who sinks Indianapolis but later joins the battle to exonerate McVay; and William Toti, the captain of the modern-day submarine Indianapolis, who helps the survivors fight to vindicate their captain.

A sweeping saga of survival, sacrifice, justice, and love, Indianapolis stands as both groundbreaking naval history and spellbinding narrative—and brings the ship and her heroic crew back to full, vivid, unforgettable life. It is the definitive account of one of the most remarkable episodes in American history.
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