Indianapolis, Backstory

Story Behind the Story

In 2011, Lynn began praying that God would provide her with an opportunity to write an iconic World War II story. In 2012, Sara Vladic called.

Sara, a young filmmaker, had by then built a decade-long relationship with the living survivors of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the United States Navy. She had written a screenplay for an Indianapolis limited television series, in the vein of Band of Brothers. As a prelude to producing the series, Sara bow wanted to write a book.

Prayer. Answered.

Because of other projects and well, lifegetting in the way, it took three years from that point to even get started. Three times Lynn suggested that maybe Sara would like to work with someone else—Lynn didn’t want to hold her up. But Sara, too, is a person of prayer, and each time Lynn suggested that she team up with another writer, Sara said that, no, she’d wait.

Lynn is so glad she did, as Indianapolis has been one of Lynn’s most rewarding projects ever.

The authors faced several humbling tasks.

  • To write an accessible and human naval history that placed the ship in her proper historical context, reminding today’s readers that Indianapolis is far more than a sinking story. 
  • To range out and show the Japanese point of view. Though they were enemies at the time, Lynn and Sara wanted to show that men like kamikaze commander Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and submarine skipper Mochitsura Hashimoto acted with sincere conscience and conviction.
  • To share with readers for the first time the inside story of how a super-spy boarded Indianapolis to shepherd the world’s first atomic bomb to its launch point.
  • To tell the full story of the exoneration of Indianapolis’s skipper, Captain Charles B. McVay III—another first.

Photos below, L-R, Captain Charles B. McVay III, skipper of USS Indianapolis, The Trinity Test, July 16, 1945, Lieutenant Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto, skipper of the Imperial Japanese submarine, I-58


Stories like that of Indianapolis are necessarily told by survivors. Lynn and Sara wanted to tell their stories while also focusing deeply on men who were lost at sea, developing them as full human beings so that readers could experience what it must have been like to lose them.

There are so many other acts that unfold in this epic tale: the drama of rescue…tragedy and triumph on the homefront…intrigue in the halls of power…and a vulgar injustice that persisted for half a century—and would still persist if not for another band of brothers, one that refused to give up.