Friday, March 2, 2012

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer

A while back, I read about the incredible efforts of foot soldiers in the Pacific Theater of WWII. At that time, it seemed to me that the sailors had the easy part while the soldiers suffered unbelievable hardships. In The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, James D. Hornfischer made me realize how wrong I was about the sailors. Their efforts were as difficult and as important as the soldiers slogging through the mountains and swamps.

Most of the action is in the Samar, Philippines region. The battles seemed hopeless, but the Navy pilots and sailors pulled off an extraordinary feat, defeating the Japanese Navy. The story also details the hardship of the personnel who survived the sinking of four American ships. These brave men spent three days floating in shark-infested waters dodging Japanese ships. Another very interesting facet is just how important technology was in WWII naval warfare.

Last Stand reads more like a novel that history. It is exciting and moving. It is a great audio book, although Barrett Whitener isn't my favorite reader.

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