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Tin Can Titans: The Heroic Men and Ships of World War II's Most Decorated Navy Destroyer Squadron Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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"An inspiring story of courage, duty, sacrifice, and devotion to country in the most trying and dangerous of circumstances. It's an epic story about decisive actions in a large Pacific war. But it's mostly a story about American sailors at war...most of them civilians who donned uniforms for the duration when their country needed them, and who went back, those who survived, to their civilian lives when the shooting stopped...Destroyers were workhorses in the Pacific, and elsewhere. It's right that their story is told too, as it is so well in Tin Can Titans. These are ships and Americans that should not be forgotten."―The American Spectator
"Tin Can Titans is history with humanity, and should be of interest to any current student of Americana, and to any of the fading generations who still have close ties to our last great war."
―Curled Up with a Good Book
"A story of valor, sacrifice, and endurance and one that is well told...The author is a well-known military historian with vast experience on the Pacific war, and this expertise shines through in his latest book...The clear writing and thorough research combine to make a readable and enjoyable volume."―WWII History
"[Wukovits] interviewed former squadron members and mined the letters and diaries of the crews to present the Pacific War through their eyes."―Seapower
"A lively and briskly written account of destroyer squadron operations...Anyone interested in destroyer operations in general or those of the USN in particular will find this title worth consideration."―Warship International
"An excellent narrative of the blue-collar destroyers...Wukovits keeps the reader engaged with interesting stories and nonstop action."
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.26 pounds
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0306824302
- ISBN-13 : 978-0306824302
- Product Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.13 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Da Capo Press; Later Printing Edition (March 14, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #177,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As you read about the exploits of of DesRon 21, you'll not only learn about the horrors of naval combat in the Pacific, but you’ll learn about the brave men who came from all parts of the U.S. to serve their country. The book is filled with small vignettes from a variety of men who served, and these stories are woven nicely into the greater narrative. Some ships didn’t see much action as they joined at later dates or had shorter lives than their counterparts, but nearly all are represented in some depth at one point.
The book does a great job of discussing the growth of the U.S. Navy from its shoestring days off Guadalcanal through the end of the war when it was the mightiest navy to ever sail the oceans. Along the way there are changes in commanders, tactics and weapons which helped make the final victory possible, although sometimes the changes didn’t always work out for the best.
This book will really give you a feel for life about a destroyer and makes a great companion of Wukovits’ other works on naval combat. Definitely worth picking up!
This book gave a nice overview of the operations of a group of American destroyers in the Pacific in WW2. The writing is a tad melodramatic, but tolerable to this reader. If I could score it using half stars, this narrative history of a Destroyer Squadron 21 would be a solid 3 1/2; since I can't, I'll rate it a 3. Why not higher? Two reasons.
First, while the book goes into detail on a number of surface actions involving the destroyers of Desron 21, the only maps are 2 general maps, one of the Solomon Islands and one of the Pacific as a whole. The surface actions get zip. Pull out Morison if you want to understand them.
Second, I found numerous, mostly minor, errors and omissions in the sections describing the actions in the Solomons. None are major but cumulatively they were aggravating. For example; The Fletcher class DD (all the ships in the squadron were from this class)AA armament claimed on p13 is what the ships might have carried in 1945, certainly not 1942; IJN BB's used at Guadalcanal only had 14" main guns, not 12" and 14" (p.28); the "Tokyo Express" IJN DD's were not escorting transports to Guadalcanal every night, they were the ones transporting the Japanese troops and supplies (with very rare exceptions)(p.35); the IJN did not inflict an unbroken string of naval defeats on the USN prior to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal(p.51)-Admiral Scott beat them at Cape Esperance just a month earlier; the IJN BB Hiei could not have hit the USN's DD O'Bannon with 8" rounds (p.55) for she didn't carry weapons that size; the USN lost three DD's in the second night of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, not 4 (p.64-and curiously the author correctly reports that the IJN lost 2 ships that night but fails to mention the key point that one of them was the BB Kirishima, whose loss ended Japanese efforts to knock out Henderson Field by naval bombardment.). There were more, but this gives you an idea. Gaffes like these bug me.
When the fighting broke out on Guadalcanal in August, 1942, the American Navy was still short on larger ships, such as cruisers and battleships. The industrial might of the United States was beginning to stir, but hadn't yet kicked in to high gear. As a result, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey had to utilize his destroyers as a means of fighting the Japanese on the sea. Desron 21, which included the USS Fletcher, USS O'Bannon, and USS Nicholas, provided support for merchant ships, shelled enemy positions ashore, and attacked Japanese ships, including battleships and cruisers.
These "tin cans" helped the American Navy hold the line until the larger battleships and cruisers started making their way to the Pacific theater. The men aboard these ships were young; many in their teens and early twenties, but they soon formed themselves into well-rounded and deadly crews. These men were at general quarters for hours on end with little or no rest, but they fought with great tenacity. The men and ships of Desron 21 fought for the Solomons and Guadalcanal, New Guinea, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and led the American Navy into Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender. Several of the cans of Desron 21 earned Presidential Unit Citations for their heroic actions.
John Wukovits has written several fine books about the Pacific War, and I've read each of his earlier works. "Tin Can Titans" continues with his excellent manner of discussing battles of the Pacific War. The book is loaded with great information, including testimonies from the sailors who actually fought aboard these destroyers as well as letters and diaries of the men. Many of the preeminent battles of the Pacific War are discussed, and a fine epilogue tells about the men post-war. Highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
The author picks great subject matter once more, describing this time the operations of Desron 21 from their early operations in and around the Solomon Islands right up to their arrival in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender in 1945.