University of Texas at Austin

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston

Renowned as FDR’s favorite warship, the cruiser USS Houston faced a bitter battle in the far Pacific after Pearl Harbor. With no hope for reinforcement, its crew saw a deadly rain of fire from Japanese bombers.

James D. Hornfischer (MBA ‘98; JD ‘01) brings to life the terror of nighttime naval battles and the valiant effort of the crew as they miraculously escaped disaster—until their luck ran out in the Sunda Strait. The Houston was finally sunk and its survivors taken prisoner.

Hornfischer’s account doesn’t stop there. Through journals, testimony, and historical documents, he recounts the more than three years the crew spent in the brutal jungle POW camps.

Hornsfischer lives with his family in Austin. His first book, “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” won the 2004 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature.

“Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors” was published by Bantam in 2007.

Reprinted with permission from the January/February 2009 issue of The Alcalde.

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3 Comments to "Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston"

1.  Jonathan Barker, CAPT USN (RET) says

My father, CAPT G.N.Barker , USN, was the C.O. of HOUSTON when President Roosevelt embarked in her for the cruise to the Galapagos in 1938. I have some photographs from that cruise .
Please contact me if you would like more information.
Jonathan Barker

October 24, 2009


2.  webb warren says

Capt Barker, my Uncle was on Marine detail (presidential detail) on that cruise. I have some documents and photos of that cruise. I would love to have more information if you have it.

November 2, 2010


3.  webb warren says

Capt Barker, also, I have a signature from your father on a certificate.

November 2, 2010


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