Ship of Ghosts

  • by James D. Hornfischer
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

James D. Hornfischer, acclaimed author of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, delivers an unflinching account of heroism and honor at the limit of human endurance, and of the unsung warriors who waged one of the most remarkable battles of World War II. Renowned as FDR's favorite warship, the cruiser USS Houston was a prize target trapped in the far Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Without hope of reinforcement, her crew faced a superior Japanese force ruthlessly committed to total conquest.
Hornfischer brings to life the awesome terror of nighttime naval battles that turned decks into strobe-lit slaughterhouses, until the Houston was finally sunk and its survivors taken prisoner.
For more than three years, the war continued for the crew in the brutal privation of jungle POW camps. But the men of the Houston fought back against their dehumanization with dignity, ingenuity, sabotage, willpower, and the undying faith that their country would prevail.
Using journals and letters, rare historical documents, and the eyewitness accounts of the Houston's survivors, James Hornfischer has crafted an account of human valor so riveting and awe-inspiring, it's easy to forget that every single word of it is true.

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What the Critics Say

"A gripping, well-told memorial to Greatest Generation martyrdom." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

interesting read

While I enjoyed this book, I must say that the first 6 hours were somewhat tedious. The author provided information only a Navy man would love - info on ship size and gun capacity, along with details about the longitude and latitude of the battle site. The remaining 12 hours or so were more interesting as he described the POW camps in Burma and Thailand. You need to have a real love of history to want to invest the 18 hours involved in finishing this book.
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- Laurie

forgotten history and misery

Ship of Ghoasts tells the story of the cruiser USS Houston survivors, sunk early in the war. The crewmen who survived were all captured and were used as forced labor. the helped in building the railroad made famous by the highly inaccurate "Bridge on the River Kwai."

It's an interesting story but one that can be hard to follow at times. The author doesn;t limit himself to the Houston survivors but also becomes involved with the crew of the HMAS Perth and members of the US Army's Lost Battaion. The intermingling of the different groups can make the story hard to follow at times.

Still it's a book worthwhile listening too if you have an interest in WW2 naval history.
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- Ron

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-19-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape