“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
When I came across this title and read its synopsis I was surprised that I'd not heard about the story of the USS Houston before. As someone with an interest in naval history it piqued my curiosity as to why such an epic tale was not already known to me.
The story of the crew of the Houston is one that somehow has largely escaped the attention of the world. We've all heard about the major naval and wartime incidents of the second world war such as the sinking of the Bismarck, the attack at Pearl Harbour, the battle of Midway and many other such often told stories, so it will amaze you as it did me that this story isn't amongst the more popular ones we know of.
The story told here is truly amazing, harrowing and sometimes funny. The book details the brief history of the Houston and then proceeds to describe the key naval engagements she participated in gripping detail. We then follow the various groups of survivors from that vessel and the accompanying HMAS Perth as they struggle to survive Japanese captivity over more than 3 years. There are so many incidents covered her with respect to the many and varied characters that leaves one with a sense of awe and respect for the endurance and determination of these brave men. This is the sort of story that could be made into a 10 part mini-series such as the recently acclaimed 'The Pacific' and probably still have to leave things out.
It is enough to say that 'Ship Of Ghosts' is an incredible story that will leave an impression on the reader for a long time.
Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser ...
James D. Hornfischer
No preview available - 2007
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.
The Griffon is not the only ghost ship said to roam the Great Lakes by a long shot. What would be a ?Ghost Fleet? without more to join its ranks? One of the most famous ghost ships of the Ghost Fleet?s ranks is the Bannockburn, a Canadian registered steel hulled freighter which disappeared on on November 21, 1902 without a trace, along with a crew of 21 and a cargo of wheat. The Bannockburn?s final voyage began at a place called Fort William, with the ship captained by a George R. Wood. Sometime after the ship?s departure, a Captain James McMaugh, aboard the freighter the Algonquin, reported seeing the Bannockburn several times off of Isle Royale, but suddenly and inexplicably lost sight of the large ship. The befuddled McMaugh allegedly just chalked it up to a heavy fog that had descended upon the area at the time. A storm began to brew that night, and another ship, the passenger steamer the Huronic, also reportedly passed by the Bannockburn churning along in the foul weather but no distress signals were received and so they thought nothing of it.