The First Heroes is the story of this extraordinary mission, a moment in history that is surprisingly unfamiliar today. To give these heroes their due, Craig Nelson interviewed 20 of the surviving participants and researched more than 40,000 pages of archival documents.
Here is a true account of great personal courage and a powerful reminder that ordinary people, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, can rise to the challenge of history.
©2002 Craig Nelson; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
While the pilots of the Doolittle Raid flew at treetop level, the author Craig Nelson tells their stories from 30,000 feet, far too high to get into the B-25 bombers with any of the crew members who took part in this historic mission. The story reads like a history lesson, and includes long passages about the Pearl Harbor and Midway battles before and after the Doolittle Raid to put the mission into historical context, rather than getting personal with the men of the mission itself. The reader will come away with a good overview of the mission, and it's importance, but in the process learn very little of the 80 men on the 16 B-25 bombers who took part in the mission. The narrative bounces around from crew to crew so frequently, without connecting to any individual crewmen, that it never touches any of them deeply. This is made far worse by a narrator who reads this book like one run-on sentence, far too often without as much as a pause as the author changes from crew to crew. The narrator reads this book as if he's in a race to get to the end of it, which unfortunately comes without ever really learning who these amazing men of the Doolittle Raid really were.
...its's tough to deal with parts of the story that were new to me. "B-26 Marauders" became "B-26s and Marauders", or getting the Japanese code for Midway wrong (it was 'AF', not 'AH'!)...that mixed in with the mispronunciations, and I was pretty disappointed.
Mispronunciations were very troubling.
I really enjoyed this book, both for the history as well as for the detailed information on the men from the raid. It made me want to learn more about the Raiders and their association after reading through it. The mispronounciations were bad at times, but the book itself was excellent. Good read, but long.
I really liked this book. It was very informative and enjoyable to listen to. It was a little hard to read all of the details in the story but how can you tell a story like this with discussing the characters in detail. If you enjoy WWII books, you must read this one.
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