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Comment: 2011 Univ. of North Texas Press hardcover, with dust jacket. No writing or highlighting!Tanning on page edges. Great otherwise!
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Finish Forty and Home: The Untold World War II Story of B-24s in the Pacific (Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Series) Hardcover – July 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Series (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press; Book Club Edition edition (July 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574413163
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574413168
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Phil Scearce’s Finish Forty and Home is a triumph of intimate history, following the author’s seventeen-year-old airman father as he goes to war in a forgotten but fiercely contested corner of World War II. Through meticulous research and lyrical prose, Scearce captures the grim grind of the Pacific war, life and death in a battered bomb squadron, and the tumultuous experiences of a B-24 radioman and his crew. Finish Forty and Home is a treasure: poignant, thrilling, and illuminating.”—Laura Hillenbrand, best-selling author of Unbroken and Seabiscuit

“This book will help those who wish to gain a real insight to the personal and human aspects of the air war over the Pacific. Sgt. Scearce's story will surprise no one who was there, and everyone who was not.”—Dr. James A. Mowbray, Professor of Strategy, Doctrine, and Airpower, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base

“Scearce does a very good job of depicting the helter skelter of air combat or the sometimes prolonged fight to keep an aircraft in flight. The thing that comes across most clearly—a point essential to understanding the experience of fighting in World War II—is that the war was not a series of battles (they were highpoints) but an endless process of violence that extracted physical and psychological damage like a kind of water torture. There were so many different ways to die. Consequently, life was cheap.”—Eric M. Bergerud, author of Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific and Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific

“This history brings back memories of the dear friends who gave their lives in this war and is a tribute to them and to all those, like Sergeant Herman Scearce, who laid their lives on the line and were blessed to survive. It is a comfort to know that this record has been written in remembrance of these patriots and of this part of our war in the Pacific.”—Colonel Jesse E. Stay, U.S. Air Force (ret)

"Finish Forty and Home draws upon exhaustive research to bring both the rigors of the mission and the deadly shock of battle to life. Highly recommended."--The Midwest Book Review

"[D]uring the early stages of the air campaign, completing forty missions was virtually an impossible task, and it was not until later when improvements in equipment coupled with the allied advance provided crews the opportunity to do so. . . . Scearce's book is a salute to his father's service and an excellent tribute to those with whom he served. The reader will find the book difficult to put down and lament finishing it once completed."--Johannes R. Allert, H-WAR/H-NET Reviews

"This is the rare volume filling in a glaring gap in American combat aviation history. . . . The author strongly relates in the words and memories of the participants the gut-wrenching sense of loss and the frustration over the slow mission counts. . . . The author, through his extensive work in tracking down and interviewing those who trained and flew with his father--his commanders, pilots, fellow crewmen, ground personnel--has delivered a work of art, as well as a strong commemoration. . . . Highly recommended."--The Journal of America's Military Past

"The elder Scearce's tour of the Pacific begins with a mission on which every bomb misses a Japanese-occupied island entirely. It ends with pinpoint placement of 2,000-pound mines while flying a hundred feet above blazing enemy warships. In between, the detail is high resolution."--Air & Space Magazine

"Like Hillenbrand, Scearce convincingly shows that flying a B-24 was a difficult, high-risk occupation . . . . Phil Scearce's dramatic style of writing captures the feelings of flight crews in life-threatening situations as they flew to targets over ocean expanses, dropped their bombs, fought off Zero fighters, and frequently returned to their bases in damaged or mechanically malfunctioning ships. . . . With its vivid narrative and thirty-nine well chosen photographs, many from private collections, Finish Forty and Home will appeal strongly to a general public interested in World War II personal experiences as well as to professional military historians."--Michigan War Studies Review

About the Author

PHIL SCEARCE is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 2009 graduate of the Middle Tennessee State University Writer's Loft Program. He is a member of the Tennessee Writer's Alliance. Phil resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. COLONEL JESSE E. STAY commanded the 42nd Squadron in the Pacific.

More About the Author

Phil Scearce is the son of Sgt. Herman Scearce, a World War II Pacific War veteran. Phil grew up listening to stories about his dad's experiences during the war, and it became apparent to him that this was a story that hasn't been told--about the men and missions of a B-24 Liberator unit in the Pacific.

Phil is a 2009 graduate of the Middle Tennessee State University Writer's Loft Program and a member of the Tennessee Writer's Alliance. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina and has numerous professional designations. Finish Forty and Home is the 2010 Mayborn Literary Non-Fiction Conference First Place Winner for Literary Excellence, awarded by Village Voice Media.

When not writing, Phil works in insurance and enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and five cats.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Well done, well researched, well told.
Edward Ellis
For history buffs of World War II, this is a great story that is often overlooked as most of the air campaign books focus on Europe.
Steve Deighton
Really made me realize and appreciate the true sacrifices that my father's generation made.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Tne Consolidated B-24 was the main USAAF bomber in the Pacific during World War II. Yet surprisingly, few books have been published on B-24 PTO ops. To redress the balance, we now have Phil Scearce's FINISH FORTY AND HOME, THE UNTOLD WORLD WAR II STORY OF B-24s IN THE PACIFIC, which traces the combat career of Scearce's father who served in the Liberator-equipped 42nd BS, 11th BG. It's an appealing story well told.

A combat tour in the Pacific for USAAF aircrew was 40 missions. Herman Scearce, who enlisted at the age of 16(!), logged his 40 missions from February 1943 to March 1945, an unusually lengthy tour. In part, this was due to the limited combat his squadron saw in 1943 and the fact that it also served as a training squadron in early 1944. Scearce served as a radar operator and gunner.

Using much material from former 42nd BS personnel and other B-24 vets, Phil Scearce
has fashioned an excellent, appealing and sometimes saddening chronicle of young men at war. FINISH FORTY AND HOME provides a rare, up-close-and-personal look at the unique war waged by 11th BG crews. Scearce's dad and the other men of the unit really come alive in this evocative book.

Short and sweet: FINISH FORTY AND HOME is one of the best books I've read on the B-24. Highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By G. Heilman on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Your library on WWII is INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THIS BOOK. The Pacific Theater is often refereed to as the Forgotten War, except by those who fought and died there. Phil has written on one of the GREATEST Air Corp Units of the Second World War.

The 11 TH BGH and its' Four Squadrons were awarded the Marine DUC by their Naval Commander in 1942/43. Their own Commander, the HIGHEST ranking Native American and the FIRST AMERICAN GENERAL LOST IN WORLD WAR TWO was lost LEADING HIS UNIT IN MIDWAY. General Clarence Tinker did not send me into Battle HE LEAD them!!

This was NEVER DONE BEFORE THE 11 TH BGH and its Four Squadrons the 42 nd, the 431 ST, the 26 and 98 were presented with this extreme Honor.

This Honer was followed by A Presidential Unit Citation as well.

The book covers the era of the NEW B-24 bombers that came to replace and continue the war against the evil in the Pacific and no one did it better. I have waited and waited for this book.

I purchased three, two are going to 2 men who fought in this VERY 42 Squadron.

The Forgotten War is only forgotten by some individuals who thought the world was flat. Ask Lou Zamapini about his time as a POW, or the Australian Pilot whose friends had their livers cut out and eaten by Japanese Commanders.


God bless you and your book, I am guessing it will HAVE TO BE A BEST SELLER, here and in Japan.

Unless this book is not on your library shelf or at your own home library shelf you history of World War Two and the ARMY AIR CORP/FORCE IS INCOMPLETE. AGAIN WELL DONE!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Finish Forty And Home" is a remarkable book, one that a great many Americans, particularly children should read.

It is written by the son of a man who served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. It is a biography of a father written by a clearly loving son and, at the same time, a portrait of what America's youth were once willing to do to protect the United States. It is an inspiring story.

Herman Scearce was but 16 years old when he lied about his age to an Army recruiter and joined up in the first days after he Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor. A few months later, Scearce had been trained as a radio operator and gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator bomber and shipped out to the Pacific Theater Of Operations. The B-24 was the most produced heavy bomber of WWII, with more than 18,000 being built.

Early in the war, an airman had to complete 25 combat missions to qualify for removal from combat and rotation back to the United States. Initially the attrition rate among bomber aircrews was mortifyingly high, especially in Europe. As air combat became relatively "safer", the mission requirement crept upward to 40 combat missions - and not every mission involving the dropping of bombs or mines was not considered a combat mission.

Phil Scearce's writing style is a bit rough around the edges and the editing could have been a bit sharper.

But these aren't really flaws in that they heighten the feeling of this book as an expression of love for and pride in his father's achievements, along with those of the entire 11th Bombardment Group and, by extension, the United States, which fought for freedom, not the aggrandizement of its territory.

Scearce and his unit are moved from one Pacific Island to another.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rita from Rhode Island on June 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly recommended! This book about Sgt. Scearce and his fellow airmen in the Pacific is extremely valuable particularly because the author did so much research regarding the facts and chronological detail of these great servicemen -- from utilizing the National Archives in Washington, DC to contacting the veterans themselves or their family members of those men who are no longer with us.

I am very proud to say I am one of the nieces of a pilot in this book, Lieutenant Charles F. Pratte, who was one of the pilots serving with Sgt. Scearce and later became missing in action after his plane crashed into the cliffs of Chichi Jima on a mission on January 22, 1945. I thank the author and his father for including my uncle and others in his very well written account of events.

I feel not all books are written with such research and are sometimes just written (and embellished) for a good "story" based on the account of only 1 or 2 people with hardly any verification being done.

"Finish Forty and Home" is a true book of history that anyone, especially with a World War II interest, should be proud to own!

My highest compliments to the author and his Dad!
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