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Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Private John McKinney's One-Man Stand Against theJapane se in World War II Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 340 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Singlehandedly repulsing a Japanese attack in 1945, Pvt. John McKinney won the Medal of Honor for one of America's most heroic wartime feats, and here Johnson (Hour of Redemption) presents the event as a docudrama. Private McKinney was the nearly illiterate son of a Georgia sharecropper who served quietly throughout the New Guinea and Philippine campaigns. With victory assured in the Philippines, his unit was sent to defend a remote spit of land far from the fighting, where no one expected the attack when it came. Recovering from his surprise, McKinney recaptured a machine gun from the Japanese, firing until it jammed, then fought on alone with his rifle (he was a crack shot) and bayonet. Afterward, witnesses counted over 100 enemy dead—so many that superiors wanted a lower number before submitting their report. McKinney died in 1997, leaving no personal papers, so the author relies on interviews and official documents, and also on his imagination. The lurid invented dialogue accompanied by his hero's thoughts (His mouth went dry, his muscles tightened, his heart beat slow and steady...) will leave history buffs gnashing their teeth. (Aug. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Johnson's gripping book tells the story of one of the obscurest but most remarkable Medal of Honor winners of World War II. John McKinney was a Georgia sharecropper's son who had quit school after the third grade to support his family by hunting. The skills he thereby honed stood him in good stead when the Japanese attacked his outpost in the Philippines. Using machine gun, rifle, knife, and bare hands, Private McKinney played a decisive role in braking the attack, killing at least 40 and possibly as many as 100 Japanese. Retiring to the South to live out his life quietly, he never made much of his achievement. Those who owed their lives to him, however, did not forget him. Green, Roland

Product Details

  • File Size: 1589 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Publication Date: August 7, 2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Battle is composed of individual sagas of men, who may have once had high ideals, like love of family and country. Combat reduces all of that to one instinct - destroy and survive."

The above quotation, is from this amazing book, and should be kept in mind as you read it. This is the life story of "CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR" recipient, John R. McKinney. (J.R.). His life story is broken down into basically four segments:

The first segment is his life, from birth to enlistment in the Army for World War II. Some people might have described J.R. as a common man, but I don't think that would be accurate. To me, a common man, is average in education, financial standing, and living environment. I think it would be more precise, to describe J.R. as a poor, rural country boy, with a 3rd grade education. He was the son of a "one-horse" sharecropper. J.R.'s Father's, plan, to have sons, that could help with the farming, hit a bump in the road, when J.R. became sickly, and could not perform the strenuous tasks on the farm. Because of this, J.R. was taught to fish and hunt, for the sole purpose, of feeding his family. A very telling statement made to J.R. by his Father said it all: "Fishing and hunting, is only a sport for rich people " J.R. spent most of his time alone out in the swamps, barefoot, fishing, and hunting with a homemade sling shot. About the only time he wore shoes, is when he went to church. He became so proficient with his sling shot, that he had enough fish, squirrels, and rabbits, so that he could sell some to the local general store. The shop owner, then made a deal with J.R. wherein, he would lend him a rifle for a year, to use, in return for any food, that was over and above, what the family needed. And so, started, J.R.
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Format: Hardcover
On May 11, 1945, at a remote outpost in the Phillipine Islands, approximately 100 Japanese infantrymen attacked a machine gun position. At the time Pvt. John McKinney was comfortably resting. One of the soldiers in the first wave of attackers struck Pvt. McKinney on the head with a saber. The glancing blow served only to awaken McKinney. As McKinney fought off his assailant, his two comrades manning the machinegun left (one soldier dragging off the other who had been wounded).

Left alone, McKinney took on the company of Japanese soldiers in a battle of wills, courage, and heroics that almost defies description, including jumping into the machinegun emplacement to recapture the position (and gun), shooting over half a dozen Japanese at pointblank range, and killing several more with the butt of his rifle.

What ensued next, a running battle by McKinney with the remainder of the squadron of Japanese attackers -- who tried to root him out or kill him with repeated assaults by rifle, machine gun, grenades, mortars, and hand to hand combat -- until he was relieved is almost too amazing to believe.

Indeed, McKinney is thought to have killed over 100 Japanese in less than an hour but, because his story was just too incredible, the actual kills were reduced and his Medal of Honor citation only credits him with killing 40 Japanese soldiers singlehandedly in repulsing this attack.

This book tells the life story of this amazing man. It is excellent reading for anyone interested in World War II, especially the battles in the Pacific.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I give this a 5 for the unbelivable story of courage and a 3 for rather mediocre writing. So this is a four star book for me. Pvt. McKinney was the right person in the right place at the right time and reacted in ther perfect way. The army just doesn't hand out MoHs lightly so you can be fairly sure that this action took place as reported. But it may be the single most amazing individual combat in the Pacific in WWII. It just does not seem possible that one man woken out of a sound sleep by being hit in the helmet with a saber managed to regain his senses and fight off a 150 Japanese soldiers determined to overrun the small outpost. His skills as a soldier and a marksman, his courage against all odds make this a unbelievable story of coolness underfire.

It is almost impossible to believe that after 30 minutes of overwhelming odds that Pvt. McKinney survived with barly a scratch and yet maybe 140 Japanese are dead. Survival in combat requires a cool head and steady nerves, Pvt. McKinney had those in abundence and certainly deserved the Medal of Honor. His life both before and after WWII was uncommon in many ways but when called upon to serve his country he did so instinctly and without hesitation, the kind of soldier that has fought for America whenever called upon. Then all he wanted was to go back to his life and ignore the burden that the MoH placed on him the rest of his life.
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By T. Jones on September 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot and I agree with the positive things already written. I liked the way this book was written, and it's style and content reminded me of Audie Murphy's classic life story, "To Hell and Back". In both stories the pace moves quickly and maintains your interest in every aspect of the man's life before, during and after the war. In both stories they grew up poor and their acquired appreciation for the simplest of pleasures evolved into an unbelievable will to live that produced almost super-human fighting abilities. This book went further than most by sprinkling additional interesting tid-bits of knowledge throughout the book then wrapping up all remaining loose ends so you feel that you know the whole story. I'm no literary expert, but I could hardly put this book down. The author wrote a great story about a great man.
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