In mid-1943, Snelling Robinson joined the crew of the Fletcher class destroyer USS Cotten as a newly commissioned ensign. The Cotten sailed to Pearl Harbor in time to join the Fifth Fleet. Under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance, the Fifth Fleet participated in the invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima and several naval battles in the Philippine Sea and the Leyte Gulf. Robinson writes from the perspective of a young naval officer and integrates this with the background of the larger conflict, including the politics of command.
©2000 The Kent State University Press (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
Already read the print version once. Now listening to the audio book. The first person narration makes it an even more enjoyable experience and I can be doing other things at the same time.
The author served aboard the Destroyer USS Cotten in WW 2. (Ship named after a Navy Captain, not the plant ) The Cotten was a Fletcher-class destroyer, built in 1943. It’s purpose was to protect America’s new carriers from Japanese aircraft and submarines. This is a well written and fascinating story of his three years aboard the ship. Robinson and the Cotten survived some of the greatest and bloodiest naval battles in history -- the forcible amphibious assault landings at Tarawa, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, and the enormous fleet engagements in the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. I've read quite a few such books but, in my opinion, this is the best of the lot, written by someone who was actually there. To quote another review of the printed version, “Few authentic veterans have ever done a better job portraying life at sea on a small man-of-war. His narrative is crisp, informative, authoritative.” I heartily agree. I think this book should become required reading for any future naval officer, if it isn't already.
There were many of them. The scenes where they were trying to deal with the Kamikaze pilots were especially riveting.
The author and, of course the Cotten.
I read the print version some time ago and am now in the middle of the audiobook. I am taking a brief pause to write this review. The narrator is doing an excellent job and, thank goodness, is familiar with Navy terminology. Little things like saying “zero-eight hundred” for the time, instead of the Army way of “Oh-eight hundred hours.” Things like this and the correct pronunciation of the many areas the ship visits, is making it obvious the publisher and the narrator took the time to make an excellent print book into an equally excellent audio book. Highly recommended.
I'm a bit of a World War 2 buff and have read many first person accounts. Some are good. Some are mediocre and some poorly written. This one is good – in fact one of the best I've come across.
The book is an honest, personal recollection of the way things were during the author’s tour of duty during the latter part of World War 2. It shows both the good and the bad of being aboard such a Destroyer. In addition to the many battle scenes and tactical descriptions, I liked the way Robinson expressed his opinions honestly, the two biggest examples being his obvious contempt for “higher ups” who were quite lauded at the time, in particular Admiral Halsey and General MacArthur. As he saw it, they both seemed more interested in their own glory than efficiently getting the job done and often put soldiers and sailors in danger when it was not necessary. In hindsight, history now seems to back his opinions.Robinson managed to incorporate history, geopolitics, and strategy into his descriptions of fleet-level movements and battles and all this was well balanced with the more individual-level narrative. Something else I liked about the book was that the quality of the writing is quite good, much better than average for this sort of personal memoir.
The narration is quite good. The reader takes a “back seat” and lets the story tell itself. It’s read intelligently but without over dramatization. I like this style of narration but some may not. I suggest you listen to the sample.
The author and...the Cotten
I really enjoyed the section on the post-war occupation, especially the tales about the visits to geisha houses. This may not have been politically correct but it was certainly honest and refreshing. Robinson was a very young man at the time, but his attitude toward his duty and attitude toward the Japanese during the occupation was very mature. All in all a refreshing and honest first person account. Five stars to both the book and the narration.
To experience what it was like to be on a Destroyer during WW II was an incredible experience. Learned a lot about tactics used, the heroism needed to succeed and...what the common sailors thought of the men in charge.
Can't think of any that compares with this.
Great pacing. Very clear. Good voice. Helped to bring out the drama when needed but without overdoing it...just let the story tell itself.
The author, of course.
These were incredibly brave but also very young men, as was certainly shown by their "antics" during the occupation. Sailors will be sailors, I guess. :)
Yes. Never would have had the time to read print version. Listened during daily drives.
Occupation of Japan.
no. Too long.
Fascinating Real life story. Well read, too.
My vision isn't what it used to be. Audiobooks are the way to go for me know.
My husband was in the Navy during the war but never talked about it much.
This is a bit like a wonderful look into his past.
Very nice job.
Both...laughter mostly at the end during the occupation. Boys will be boys, I suppose.
I enjoyed this book immensely. One of the little perks about getting old is I'll probably forget most of it in a few months, and then can enjoy it again!
I would recommend this book to historians with deep interest in World War II, and the actual mechanics and daily life aboard a Fletcher Class destroyer. 200,000 Miles recounts the three year service period of author C. Snelling Robinson in factual, straightforward detail, virtually devoid of drama or emotion found in similar works. Even when the author broaches subjects such as battle, death, or war time love, he does so in a septic, dry manner; providing the reader with factual details of the incident but little in the way of flowery language or adornment. I found the book fascinating in terms of the great wealth of information Robinson provides about the daily goings-on aboard the Cotten. A book that reads and sounds exactly as if written by a Navy junior grade lieutenant copying his daily events in a log.
The ending of this book follow the format of the entire book, factual information related in a straightforward manner. You will not find any plots twists, surprise turns or "gotcha" moments.
I believe James Killavey conveyed a sense of the austerity, manner, and personality of the author through a monotone reading of the material. Killavey's peformance does little to enhance the language of the book, but I really think the material requires no adornment or enhancing. I don't believe most readers of this book expect a story couched in innuendo or oblique meaning. 200,000 Miles factually recounts Snelling's adventures during WWII and Killavey plays it straight.
The author's factual recount of his history, combined with the narrators monotone performance resulted in a smooth seamless autobiographical narrative that turns even battle scenes into checklists of casualties, equipment losses, and strategic objectives gained or lost. No moment in particular stood out in the narrative; with the exception, maybe, of Snelling's recount of casualties aboard several destroyers caught in a wild Pacific storm. In the end though, even that scene comes across as matter-of-fact. If possible, this book is the very personification of a WWII naval officer, mannerly, dutiful, factual and honest!
Yes...if the friend was interested in World War 2 history and/or the Navy
The occupation of Japan. Great way to end the book. Showed the the "real people" of Japan were quite nice...and peaceful. Unfortunately their crazed leaders caused such incredible tragedy. And the visits to the Geisha houses certainly showed the human side of young men being well...young men.
Felt like I was listening to the story first hand..from the author himself. Very good grasp of Navy terminology. Excellent job overall.
Title sounds fine to me.
Yes...but not for a while. It's just a fascinating book.
Yes, and as usual he did a very good job. I felt like it was the author talking to me.
Original name sounds fine to me.
The is one of the best audio book I've heard...and I've heard a lot of them.
The sense of Immediacy ... felt like I was there.
The Wrong Stuff, which was about bombers in WW II but was also a very well written first person "You are there" type narrative.
Read it well without getting over emotional. Kept "in the background" and let the author's words speak for themselves. This is the kind of narration I like. The narrator reads well and intelligently while keeping the focus on the story not on his "performance."
No way...too long.
A very enjoyable and enlightening listening experience.
Yes - for anyone who wants to understand what life was like aboard a destroyer in WW2.
Details. It's unlike most first-person accounts of sea duty during WWII. There are details of seamanship that don't usually make into these accounts. As a former Naval Officer, I appreciate that.
The Chapter on the occupation and the visits to the Geisha houses. Boys will be boys, especially Navy boys!
Both, depending on the Chapter and the scene. Some of the stuff during the occupation chapter was hilarious.
Narrator did a very good job. I have added him to my list of favorites.
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