The dramatic account of one of America's most celebrated - and controversial - military campaigns: the Doolittle Raid.
In December 1941, as American forces tallied the dead at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered with his senior military counselors to plan an ambitious counterstrike against the heart of the Japanese Empire: Tokyo. Four months later, on April 18, 1942, 16 US Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel the enemy's factories, refineries, and dockyards and then escape to Free China. For Roosevelt the raid was a propaganda victory, a potent salve to heal a wounded nation. In Japan, outraged over the deaths of innocent civilians - including children - military leaders launched an ill-fated attempt to seize Midway that would turn the tide of the war. But it was the Chinese who suffered the worst, victims of a retaliatory campaign by the Japanese Army that claimed an estimated 250,000 lives and saw families drowned in wells, entire towns burned, and communities devastated by bacteriological warfare.
At the center of this incredible story is Doolittle, the son of an Alaskan gold prospector, a former boxer, and a brilliant engineer who earned his doctorate from MIT. Other fascinating characters populate this gripping narrative, including Chiang Kai-shek, Lieutenant General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and the feisty Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, Jr. Here, too, are indelible portraits of the young pilots, navigators, and bombardiers, many of them little more than teenagers, who raised their hands to volunteer for a mission from which few expected to return. Most of the bombers ran out of fuel and crashed. Captured raiders suffered torture and starvation in Japan's notorious POW camps. Others faced a harrowing escape across China - via boat, rickshaw, and foot - with the Japanese Army in pursuit.
Based on scores of never-before-published records drawn from archives across four continents as well as new interviews with survivors, Target Tokyo is World War II history of the highest order: a harrowing adventure story that also serves as a pivotal reexamination of one of America's most daring military operations.
©2015 James M. Scott (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
This book goes behind the scenes to tell the story behind the Doolittle Raid. The eagerness of these brave flyers to volunteer for a dangerous mission they knew absolutely nothing about was due to their desire to strike back at the Japanese who seemed beyond reach and their chance to fly under the great Doolittle. It was so sad to learn of the unspeakable horrors and endless days that awaited many in Japanese and Russian prison camps. Would many in today's America have been up to this challenge?
Narrator was fine, but I have heard many better.
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
With all the war movies out there, I'm deeply surprised and disappointed that the only modern day film that addresses the Doolittle Raid is Pearl Harbor and after reading this book, most of that part of the film seems apocryphal.
The Doolittle Raiders are truly American Heroes who really set off on America's only Kamikaze style raid (i.e., they really didn't think they would be coming home) only to actually survive the raid; some who survived probably wished they hadn't. However, the Pearl Harbor sucker punch had to be answered regardless of other circumstances and it seems Jimmy Doolittle was destined to be the man to introduce Japan to American ingenuity, technology, tenacity, and retaliation.
I knocked down the 'story' rating to 4 stars because I felt the technical aspects of training weren't really there. It was more like a quick overview of the birds. Additionally I felt some backstory to the volunteers would have been pertinent toward the beginning. You do get some of this but inserted throughout the narrative and then mostly at the end when discussing the aftermath of the raid on Tokyo.
Overall this account superseded my expectations and feel that both the author and narrator did a great job with this book.
James Scott once again brings a cast of characters to life in a thoughtful, gripping and heart-breaking story. I thought I knew something about the Doolittle raid... I was wrong. This book spans the globe, visits small town America and frozen Siberia, via a daring and controversial raid on Tokyo - and is as surprising as it is packed with detail.
By coincidence, local newspaper today, April 19, has syndicated AP story: "Their inspirational story 'will live on' " with photo of Thatcher & Cole; last two living survivors. Started Target Tokyo yesterday and just finished today . . . April 19 !!! How spooky/real.
I was a little unsure diving into a 20 hour long book. My fear was that the book was going to be full of many unnecessary and an uninteresting points. This was a powerful and at times hard story that was very well told.
Born in Ohio, lived in California, Alaska, and now Texas
I love listening to accounts of amazing historical feats, and the WWII raid of Tokyo led by Jimmy Doolittle is right up there with some of the best of these stories. There is no way that any of the 80 airmen should have survived the raid (for one thing they didn't have nearly enough fuel for the mission) and yet 78 did. A story of courage, faith, and miracles that was critical to the victory over Japan. The accounts of what the Japanese did to the Chinese is also gripping though very troubling.
I'd listen to Target Tokyo again. The author and reader kept the action moving. The author provided a wealth of insight into Doolittle and the others who participated in the raid. I especially appreciated the focus on the fates of the pilots after they ditched their planes, when many fell into enemy hands.
Doolittle was fascinating. I didn't appreciate his early romance with flying or that he earned a doctorate from MIT. He spent his entire life preparing for an opportunity that didn't exist until it suddenly did and the country needed a strategist and leader immediately.
My extreme reaction to this book is that one man could both develop the strategy of the attack (which bombers can we launch from carriers? how must we modify them? when and from how far out do we attack?) and lead the attack (choose the pilots and crew, train them, inspire them, convince them that the plan wasn't crazy, help them understand the potential outcome, etc.).
If you like books like Alvin Townley's "Defiant," Daniel James Brown's "The Boys in the Boat" and/or Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken," you'll probably appreciate this book of courage, determination, teamwork and man's use of his ultimate weapon - his mind - to overcome incredible obstacles.
The details in this book are quite revealing of all the details of what these flyers underwent for training and what happened after their flight was over. It was much more interesting and entertaining than any fiction book I have read or listen to.
Like any good historic account, the book included a lot of backdrop, as well as the many first-hand accounts, with lessons to be learned. It held my interest.
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