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Publisher's Summary

When Admiral William Halsey selected Destroyer Squadron 21 to lead his victorious ships into Tokyo Bay to accept the Japanese surrender, it was the most battle-hardened US naval squadron of the war.

But it was not the squadron of ships that had accumulated such an inspiring résumé; it was the people serving aboard them. Sailors, not metallic superstructures and hulls, had won the battles and become the stuff of legend. Men like Commander Donald MacDonald, skipper of the USS O'Bannon, who became the most decorated naval officer of the Pacific war; Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller, who survived his ship's sinking and waged a one-man battle against the enemy while stranded on a Japanese-occupied island; and Doctor Dow "Doc" Ransom, the beloved physician of the USS La Vallette, who combined a mixture of humor and medical expertise to treat his patients at sea epitomize the sacrifices made by all the men and women of World War II.

Through diaries, personal interviews with survivors, and letters written to and by the crews during the war, preeminent historian of the Pacific theater John Wukovits brings to life the human story of the squadron and its men, who bested the Japanese in the Pacific and helped take the war to Tokyo.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-23-17

Captivating

So much has been written about World War II that anyone writing about it must come up with a different angle. Wukovits chose to write about the destroyers (Tin Cans) which he says were the workhorse of the war in the Pacific. Wukovits describes the story of Destroyer Squadron 21 (DesRon21). He follows the squadron from 1942 to leading the United States Fleet into Tokyo Bay to receive the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The author covers not only the action, the ships, but also the crews that manned the ships.

The book is divided into three parts, each containing three or four chapters. The first is on the origins of the vessels, then the squadron organization and lastly the campaigns. All sections are about the crews. In fact, the author makes the book read more like a novel than a history book. The book is well written and researched. The author conduced oral interviews of the veterans of DesRon21 as well as read many diaries. He dissected naval archives and reviewed action reports. The book format has photographs and maps. Destroyer Squadron 21 was the most decorated naval squadron of WWII. Anyone who likes to read about WWII will enjoy this book.

The book is almost eleven hours long. Robertson Dean does an excellent job narrating the book. Dean is a multi-award -winning audiobook narrator. Dean is well known to most long-time audiobook readers.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • dw
  • 09-01-17

Gripping Book

This book is a gripping telling of the harrowing lives of those who served on the ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 during World War II. Based on diaries and other writings of the sailors who manned these ships, it provides an amazing array of insights into what it was like to face danger in the battles of the Pacific Theater. Beautifully narrated, I highly recommend this audio book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Starts a little slow, stick with it, you won’t regret it.

The first had battle accounts were amazing, having served in the navy myself they hit close to home for me, the letters home from yeoman Raines are heart wrenching and I’m bummed that the accredited book from which the excerpts were cited is not available in audiobook format. All in all this was a very good book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting but questionable accuracy

The good

The first hand stories from the members of DESRON 21 are very interesting and told well by the author. Worth reading/listening just for that if your a WW2 Pacific buff.

The bad

The author loves destroyers and he wanted to tell a good tale. However, a few omissions in details and questionable “facts” give the uninformed reader the wrong conclusions about the strategic and operational intent behind why events occurred. I think it mostly happened to improve the flow the subject matter. It’s not a major concern if you just into the destroyer men’s stories.

Overall

It was a good read, if a little to enthusiastic for a history book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim
  • Jacksonville, Florida, United States
  • 12-02-17

Great for going to sleep by, that's about it.

Listening to this book by this narrator is like sitting in a WWII Naval history class and listening to a boring professor, with little inflection, read a history book to you. I would set the sleep timer for 15 min. and never recall the app shutting off.

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Kenaikathy

This is one of the best books I have read. Full of adventure and heroism.

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Killer Destroyers Fight Hard in the South Pacific

The little known story of Destroyer Squadron 21 during WWII is terrifically rendered by Wukovits.

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Great book! I'll listen to it again now I think.

excellent book which I will listen to again. Very good epilogue also. really makes you think.

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Great

Great book about the Fletcher class destroyers. I served some time on one during the Viet Nam War. Was a great old lady tin can.

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  • George
  • carrollton, TX, United States
  • 10-22-17

Wukovits , Dean, and The O'Bannon ...

They really nailed it!
It's hard to describe the feeling of even watching a Fletcher class destroyer being refueled in heavy seas.
One minute it is under the water, the next, first the bow is totally out, then the stern and wildly vibrating screws.
To go to war on such a small ship would take a special man.
George Williams...QM2..USS Chipola AO 63 & reserve duty on USS Watts...1961

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-14-17

Classic naval warfare

Wukovits successfully details the progress of the Pacific campaign from meagre but determined resistance to overwhelming superiority by tagging the narrative to the rise of the Fletcher class destroyers. He finds a fine balance between the narrative, the technology and a half dozen or so key officers and men of the ships involved. In spite of familiarity with the topic prior to reading the book, I still learned more and enjoyed the story to its finish.