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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Filled with riveting detail and based on the author's extensive interviews and correspondence with veterans, unpublished eyewitness accounts, declassified documents, and rare Japanese sources, this is war at sea as it has seldom been presented before.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 (398 )
5 star
 (231)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.6 (208 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (210 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Craig 05-05-15
    Craig 05-05-15
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    "Last Stand"

    WOW!! Absolute must for not just WW2 naval warfare enthusiasts, but any period. Can't wait to get Neptune's Inferno. Hornfischer rocks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    I4ucy IL 04-19-15
    I4ucy IL 04-19-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    "GREAT STORY!"

    One of the greatest tales of valor and human sacrifice, during one of the largest naval battles of WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Virginia, United States 11-12-14
    Rob Virginia, United States 11-12-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Outstanding"
    Would you listen to The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors again? Why?

    A fabulous, glorious yet tragic heroic WW2 moment not nearly well known enough; worthy of the next Spielberg/Tom Hanks Project!


    What did you like best about this story?

    A fabulous, glorious yet tragic heroic WW2 event that should not have been (due to fumbled senior command decisions) that has received nowhere near the attention, credit, and homage deserved.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Charge of the Tin Can Sailors


    Any additional comments?

    Most worthy of the next WW2 (Private Ryan-like) Spielberg/Tom Hanks Project!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Gergen 09-18-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "You have to be a battle buff."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The only reason for the low review is that I am not a "blow-by-blow" battle fan. I prefer the personal view and "what-makes-'em-tick" stuff. Well written, and I'm sure accurate, just not my style.


    Would you be willing to try another book from James D. Hornfischer? Why or why not?

    Possibly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GT Doc Memphis, TN 03-13-14
    GT Doc Memphis, TN 03-13-14 Member Since 2011

    Professor of Civil Engineering, eclectic, scifi, history, and Joseph Campbell buff, Pratchett buff.

    ratings
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    5
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    "Valor personified."
    Where does The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was an exceptional listen for me. A story I thought I knew well but only knew the surface. This gave the details of the men on both sides of the battle and how they reacted to the situations as they unfolded.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors?

    When the decision was made by the smallest ships in the force to face the largest ship in the world. The bravery of the men came through the telling with gusto.


    Have you listened to any of Barrett Whitener’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me respect the Greatest Generation even more. These men went into harm's way and proved themselves to the world. The tragic fate of so many of them pushed a dent into my heart.


    Any additional comments?

    Great read for any WWII history buffs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Art SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 11-04-13
    Art SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 11-04-13 Member Since 2012

    I like me!

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    74
    7
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    "it just needs the pictures"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors to be better than the print version?

    No , the print version has extra things like pictures and extra blurbs. None the less still good.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is not one of those books that you should have a favorite character.


    What does Barrett Whitener bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Emotion. I thought this book would be hard to listen to from the little that i read the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes , i did not however.


    Any additional comments?

    As others have said the audio book is hard to follow , its not told linearly so if you dont remember names you may get confused as it jumps around the timeline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory United States 06-11-13
    Gregory United States 06-11-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    11
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    "Wow - Men at Work"

    Seemingly well researched, a compellingly told tale of heroes and heroism. A tale known, to some extent, by many, but a tale which should be known by all. Before they're all gone, we should stand and salute the men of Taffy 3.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed United States 09-10-12
    Ed United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2010

    soregon45

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    "An amazing story of courage and sacrifice."
    Where does The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Unstinting sacrifice


    What does Barrett Whitener bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    For those who enjoy 'listening', it was a treat.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    All the above


    Any additional comments?

    You don't see people like this outside the military, and doubt that there is the material in our culture these days who could do what these men did.. I tried to tell a friend about the 'charge of the escort destroyers into certain death' and chocked up - I had to stop. It was a very moving episode in American naval history..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Pearce Charlotte NC 08-11-12
    B. Pearce Charlotte NC 08-11-12 Member Since 2003
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    "A Good Story"

    This is a really well-told story, but should be coupled with other books about this battle so that the listener can get a big picture overview of what happened. The author made several jabs at different admirals (Halsey, for instance), but was unwilling to pass his own judgment. Instead, the author attributed the criticisms to others. Enough time has passed and enough details are public where the author should have been willing to pass judgment and critique the big picture of fleet strategies and execution of tactics.

    A key weakness of the audio book is that the battle descriptions cried out for printed maps, something not currently available from Audible. (HINT, HINT, Audible -- how hard would it be to provide supplemental material such as maps? The hardware that we use to listen is significantly better than it was 5 years ago.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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