Customer Reviews for

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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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    This is the most complete account yet of the USS Houston, her sinking in 1942, and the fate of her surviving crew members as Japanese prisoners.

    The USS Houston was flagship of the US Asiatic Fleet at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in December, 1941. She survived the Japanese assault on the Philippine Islands and led the fight against Japan until finally sunk by overwhealming Japanese Navy forces near the Sunda Strait in early March, 1942. The Japanese claimed to have sunk her on several occasions prior to that time so she acquired the nickname "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" -- thus Ghost Ship.

    This book is divided into three parts -- service prior to World War 2, the war against Japan, and the fate of her crew. The Houston was fitted as a flagship and served as President Roosevelt's personal yacht on several occasions while assigned to the Atlantic fleet in the 1930's. In 1940 she was transferred to the Philippines to serve as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. After Pearl Harbor she steamed thousands of miles through the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, and Australian waters fighting Japanese forces. She was severely damaged by air attack on February 4, 1942, but continued to fight until sunk by Japanes ships on March 2, 1942. The last part of the book tells what happenned to the suvivors.

    This story has been told before but never in this much detail. The author's research is outstanding, uncovering and connecting much new information. He interviewed all available survivors of the ship and researched all the records made available since World War. The Houston survivors are a closeknit group and continue to meet today (2009). There is a great bibliography and several appendices including one listing the fate of every crew member at the time she was sunk. If you are interested in history or tales of human survival this is a great book!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Lest We Forget...

    Mr. Hornfischer has done it again with a well-written, stirring narrative of the sacrifice made by those who served in USS Houston, the 'Lost Battalion', and others serving in this particular theater of war during the early period of U.S. involvement in WWII. 'Ship of Ghosts' fills an information gap compared to the more publicized operations. In the aftermath of the sinking of the Houston and HMAS Perth, the grueling POW experience in Thailand & Burma is vividly recounted with a real feel of the anguish that had to be encountered. This account is much more than just a normal history book with dull chronology. As with his 'Last Stand' book, this is a must read not only for history lovers, but for all those that need a refresher course as to the sacrifices of the 'Greatest Generation'.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    Another gem

    Mr. Hornfischer has done it again. This excellent book is a worthy companion to his "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors." Both recount periods of incredible heroism and human drama, yet both are relatively little known to the general public. This book would make a great TV miniseries, a la The Pacific or Band of Brothers. A great read, it details the harrowing battles of the Battle of Java Sea and Sunda Strait, the sinking of HOUSTON, and the ordeal its survivors underwent as POW slave workers for the Japanese. I'll never watch "Bridge Over the River Kwai" again without considerable skepticism and disdain. Read this book. The men of HOUSTON deserve history remember them for their valor and sacrifice.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2008

    This should be a movie

    A wonderful story of heroism, history and the USS Houston. This gripping story reads like a novel but, at at the same time shows a richness of research that does any history book justice. It should be a movie!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Excellent

    A well written book about the travesties of war and why we should exhaust all means to never let it happen again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Savannah im in

    The book called the lore of the ghost ship
    China

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    An almost unknown story of American heroes

    This history relates an almost unknown story of the crew of this warship and the unspeakable conditions and tortures they were exposed to in Japanese prison camps. Most of the WW II veterans will be gone soon , but America must not be allowed to forget their sacrifices that allow this and future generations to live in this great country.

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Excellent World War II documentary

    I thoroughly enjoyed Hornfischer's World War II documentary about the missing sailors from the cruiser, USS Houston and the soldiers from the lost battalion. Together (U.S. sailors and soldiers) they were forced to built a rail line over an area that should be been forgotten long ago. And of course Hollywood made it seem like the American prisoners of war were delighted to help the Japanese built their railroad. Hornfischer also gave us a tiny view of what it was like to be held prisoner by the ruthless and barbaric Japanese.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Excellent book about survival under horrible conditions.

    A detailed review of the crew of the a ship caught in the opening days of WWII. Few survived the sinking, survival at sea, life in prison camps. Hornfischer is a first rate historian.

    The only fault is the Nook version lacks the maps and photos of the hardback version. So go for the hardback if you want to track the action and people involved in more detail.

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  • Posted August 3, 2014

    True story of the sinking of the USS Houston and the imprisonmen

    True story of the sinking of the USS Houston and the imprisonment of her survivors as POWs during WW2. Very well written. A must read  !!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    A must read for those interested in WW11 history

    This book is a stark reminder of the cruelties that a race of people can and will commit on a another. Looking at the Japanese race today a person could not imagine the horrors committed against their fellow man. I very good read for history buffs, well written, informative, and well researched.

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  • Posted July 27, 2014

    I just finished reading "Ship of Ghosts" which is an e

    I just finished reading "Ship of Ghosts" which is an excellent documentary of what happened to the crew of the Houston and the lost battalion in the West Pacific during WWII. The japs were notorious savages and should still be paying for the for their war crimes

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

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    Posted February 22, 2011

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    Posted February 18, 2011

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    Posted August 16, 2014

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    Posted April 13, 2013

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted December 21, 2008

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    Posted December 24, 2013

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