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Target Tokyo

Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
Length: 20 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (621 ratings)
Regular price: $39.95
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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Vengence is Mine, Thus Sayeth Doolittle

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great characters headline a little known story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't put this down

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

What a story. I have listened to this book two times and am still in awe of the bravery and fortitude of these men. Definitely one of my favorite top 5 books I have listened to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I clung to every minute of this book

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Courageous Men Perform Amazing Feats

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great

Excellent story of history well written well narrated. Does not cover up the fact that many Chinese died as a result of the Tokyo raid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

This is an outstanding. The best book I have had on the Dolittle Raiders. It covered the whole story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I Felt Like I Was in the Middle of the Action

Would you listen to Target Tokyo again? Why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

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

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.).

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Phenomenal book, phenomenal achievement

[Some spoilers ahead.] This is perhaps the best World War Two book I've ever read. A profoundly human story - alternately gripping, shocking, humorous, and deeply inspiring - it's evident that Mr. Scott has put his whole heart into this work. It's also abundantly clear that he invested unimaginable effort, meticulous labor of every kind, in order to bring to life the overarching story as well as the individual stories of many of Doolittle's Raiders. The back-home scenes and mood of America are also wonderfully captured. It's difficult for people like myself, whose parents were then children, to understand the emotions of a nation at war, and how all-consuming it was in the day-to-day. This book shed revealing light.

This was also a tremendous job of narration by the narrator, L. J. Ganser, who was very compelling. I made the mistake of listening to some of the details of the treatment and experiences of POW's, including their letters, while driving to work. I was wiping my eyes for many miles.

Don't be daunted by the 20-hour length of the audiobook. If you have more than a passing interest in World War Two or American history, you will wish it were longer. Highest recommendation.