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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour Paperback – March 29, 2005
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
When I read the book for the first time I was back in time to October, 1944, when I was an eighteen year old kid, ready to take on the world, including the Japanese Navy - not realizing that I would soon have that opportunity. Hornfischer's accounts of the battles from the standpoint of each of the ships are wonderfully done. His stories of what it was like to be on life rafts with dying shipmates, sharks and unbelievable thirst, still bring tears to my eyes.
To gain a real understanding of what it was like to be a part of that Battle Off Samar, and in fact to be a sailor in World War II, read this book.
One of the saddest truths about the turn of the new Millennium is the realization that the veterans of the so-called "Greatest Generation," those who defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, are now rapidly passing into history. As such, it has become even more important that the stories of their heroism and sacrifice be written down for posterity while the heroes themselves are still around to tell them. With his new book, "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors," literary agent and author James D. Hornfischer has documented one such lesser-remembered World War Two tale with a reverence befitting the brave men who fought and died for America's freedom.
The events of the book take place during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which stands as the largest naval engagement in world history, and was fought between the Japanese and American navies in the vicinity of the Philippines as General Douglas McArthur's forces were invading to take the archipelago back from the Japanese. The Leyte Gulf campaign has been well documented in other books about the Pacific war, so Hornfischer focuses most of his attention on one particular engagement off Samar Island. There, a small task force of American escort carriers and destroyers (the "Tin Cans" of the title), held off a far superior enemy fleet of battleships and cruisers with a combination of near-suicidal bravery and spectacular seamanship coupled with a healthy dose of sheer good fortune.
"Tin Can Sailors" is exhaustively researched, which gives the narrative the kind detailed nuance that elevates it above the level of mere reportage into inspired storytelling.Read more ›
Three small destroyers dashed into harm's way and leveled mortal blows before they succumbed to withering, overpowering -- but often inaccurate -- Japanese fire. While some would flinch at calling these acts 'suicidal' against cruisers and battleships, the sense of purpose and patriotism, combined with the small chance that a good offense is the best defense seemed to drive these men to heights of fury and fight against the thunderstorm of Japanese ships.
Storms actually played a positive role in this fight, hiding both the smaller American ships, sometimes at lucky moments, as well as those pesky American fighter planes darting in and out of the clouds. But what really seems to have mattered was accurate firing, productive -- if incomplete -- intelligence, good leadership, and the absolute audacity of the crews aboard the American ships and planes.Read more ›
James Hornfischer didn't just find a great story to tell, he crafted it with a very skillful narration. A writer of non-fiction who can capture a reader and pull him into his story is rare and the author does this very well. He had me cheering as Ernest Evans led the Johnston on the attack against the entire Japanese fleet. He left me horrified by the effects of the pounding that the Tin Cans took and stunned by the heroism and sense of duty of those who manned their posts until the very end.
The book gives a nice overview of the Pacific Theater until the point of this battle. Hornfischer clearly explains what has happened so that you can understand the context of the Battle off of Samar. He does this without going too far in depth and losing the reader. The explanations of the development of the Navy and Naval Aviation were clear and concise. I learned quite a bit about the planes that were used and the men who piloted them. The same can be said for his explanations of the different naval vessels and what made them unique.
If you like books told from numerous first-person accounts that personalize a story and let you get to know those involved, then this book is for you. It is an honorable salute to those who survived and the heroes who did not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An epic story of courage and determination revealing how three US Navy destroyers and one little destroyer escort turned the tide in the largest naval engagement in history. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by John H. Evans
Great story of some heroes in one of our country's most important albeit less well-known battles.
Great book. The author really understands the Navy.
Another masterwork by Hornfischer. As good as Neptune's Inferno, a detailed account of a remarkable naval engagement off Samar Island. Very highly recommended.Published 4 days ago by sunny
My Dad was one of the Tin Can Sailors of WWII and he is enjoying this book.Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book was recommended to us by a friend and we read it and it was great! Very sad in parts but the real deal.Published 21 days ago by Gloria Hayes
"Bravo Zulu" - to memories and to be a model of virtues to forward the true course.
ALL WELL. WELL DONE. ALL WILL WELL.
Second book I've read by this author great reading about the real sailors. Gave it to my father to read who was on the same type of destroyers in the Korean war. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Scott Bloom
I gave this book to my brother for his birthday, being a Navy veteran and a book lover I figured he would enjoy reading it. Read morePublished 27 days ago by advilla