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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors | [James D. Hornfischer]

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

Told from the point of view of the men who waged this steel-shattering battle, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors captures Navy pilots attacking enemy battleships with makeshift weapons and sacrificial valor, a veteran commander improvising tactics never taught in Annapolis, and young crews from across America rising to an impossible challenge.
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Publisher's Summary

Told from the point of view of the men who waged this steel-shattering battle, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors captures Navy pilots attacking enemy battleships with makeshift weapons and sacrificial valor, a veteran commander improvising tactics never taught in Annapolis, and young crews from across America rising to an impossible challenge. It takes us into the heart and mind of an iron-willed, self-made executive officer leading his men throughout a sea of carnage and two hellish days and nights clinging to survival amid oil, blood, sharks, and madness. And it dramatizes how the overmatched U.S. force, enduring the loss of five gallant ships and nearly a thousand brave men, turned a certain crashing defeat into a momentous victory that would lead to the final surrender of America's ruthless imperial foe.

Filled with riveting detail and based on the author's extensive interviews and correspondence with veterans, unpublished eyewitness accounts, declassified documents, and rare Japanese sources, this is war at sea as it has seldom been presented before. It is an unforgettable narrative that captures the essence of heroism, the power of loyalty, and the way in which the unadorned truth is more stirring than legend itself.

Also, this audio program contains excerpts of exclusive interviews with Navy veterans conducted by the author.

©2004 James Hornfischer; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Readable from beginning to end, this popular history magnificently brings to life men and times that may seem almost as remote as Trafalgar to many in the early twenty-first century....One of the finest World War II volumes to appear in years." (Booklist)
"One of the finest WWII naval action narratives in recent years....reads like a very good action novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"Hornfischer is a powerful stylist whose explanations are clear as well as memorable....a dire survival-at-sea saga." (Denver Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (382 )
5 star
 (221)
4 star
 (113)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
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Overall
4.6 (194 )
5 star
 (135)
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1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (196 )
5 star
 (112)
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 (65)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Mike Greer, SC, United States 06-10-10
    Mike Greer, SC, United States 06-10-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    32
    8
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    "excellent war story"

    Excellent book! I had heard the story of this event but not the details. It is fascinating. It also is the best description of a battle aboard a ship that I have ever read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Rancho Mirage, CA, United States 02-04-10
    Thomas Rancho Mirage, CA, United States 02-04-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    19
    8
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    "highly recommend"

    Very glad I read this book and very glad it was written. I had little idea this sea battle was one of the greatest in US Naval history. First heard about it on the History Channel. I liked the narrator too. Excellent prose save the story from the recitation of simple cold hard facts. The technical details are informative yet not belaboring. Thank you James Hornfischer and Barrett Whitener

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cortlandt Atlanta, GA, USA 09-21-09
    Cortlandt Atlanta, GA, USA 09-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    "Incredible story"

    This audio book puts you in the middle of this harrowing event.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 09-21-09
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 09-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    33
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    Overall
    "Better than Fiction"

    The only thing wrong with this book is it's too short. You won't want it to end. This is a riveting David and Goliath story set in a corner of a much larger story in the Pacific war in World War II. This book has all the elements of a brilliant fiction novel but the story is of real people facing impossible odds in a great test of courage.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max R Bales 05-28-09
    Max R Bales 05-28-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    52
    16
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    1
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    Overall
    "Great book"

    It read like a really good novel, but the it was well researched and very accurate

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 04-16-09
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 04-16-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    6
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    0
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    "Great Book; not so great narration"

    This was a great audiobook; but the narration was not done well. When I first started listening I thought I was not going to be able to put up with the narration. I stuck with it; and I would say that the greatness of the book outweighed the lack of great narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johannes SibrandabuorrenNetherlands 02-18-09
    Johannes SibrandabuorrenNetherlands 02-18-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    86
    5
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    0
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    Overall
    "Very good"

    I loved this one and hated it when it ended. The exceptional story of the Destroyers in the Leyte Gulf naval battle is told whith all its horrors and heroism. The story is balanced (american vs americans, officers vs seamen) and well build up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory J. Snyder USA 07-26-08
    Gregory J. Snyder USA 07-26-08 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    2
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    "Absolutely Incredible."

    Truly Incredible historical account of American exceptionalism. The narrator did a good job too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Liberty, SC, USA 04-23-08
    David Liberty, SC, USA 04-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    This book was outstanding! While a number of reviews denounced the description of the crew and their lives, I thought that it brought life to the work. The description of the battle of Taffy Three was riveting, and their time in the water is heartbreaking.
    Initially I had a bit of problem with the readers drone and mispronunciation of words, but I got use to it.
    It's hard to believe that this generation of heroes is slipping away and many young people have no idea or appreciate the sacrifice these men made for our freedom.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    I4ucy IL 04-19-15
    I4ucy IL 04-19-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Start at chapter 13, little character development"
    Any additional comments?

    I felt chapters 1-12 are a history book with so many names, dates, and events that are talked about, but with little detail, they are barely rememberable. However, chapter 13 forward is a narrative, exciting, heroic story of the Battle of Samar. The heroism of the boys and men on the ships will touch your heart and make you forever grateful of the sacrifice all of them made. What was strange was the editing of the book -- a few ships sank a couple times, the chronology, and the author's bias.

    In regards to the narrator, he spoke normal the first half of every sentence and then "tinny" and robotic the second half of each sentence. It was annoying and took several chapters to get use to. I would not recommend the audiobook. Many of the other reviewers gave high recommendations, but they were readers of the book. My mistake assuming the book reviews meant this might be a good audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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