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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Coverage of a forgotten episode in American naval History.

After hearing of this book, I was intensely interested; because, I spent 30 months as an officer aboard the 2nd USS Johnston, a WW-II Gearing class destroyer. The first Johnston was a Fletcher class destroyer which was sunk during heroic action in the Battle off Samar d...
After hearing of this book, I was intensely interested; because, I spent 30 months as an officer aboard the 2nd USS Johnston, a WW-II Gearing class destroyer. The first Johnston was a Fletcher class destroyer which was sunk during heroic action in the Battle off Samar during the larger battle of Leyte Gulf. A synopsis, of the 1st Johnston's role in the action off Samar, was kept in our wardroom. Every officer aboard practically knew it by heart. The captain of the 1st Johnston, Cdr. Earnest Evans, was our idol.

The book was the most comprehensive treatment of the Battle off Samar that I had ever read. As the author points out, the story of the battle was sort of swept under the rug by high-level naval commanders, mainly because of Adm. Halsey. Indeed, the Battle of Leyte Gulf revealed Halsey as myopic in battle. Like Robert E. Lee, at times Halsey had one tactic, CHARGE! Halsey's focus on, and pursuit of, the Japanese carriers to the north of Leyte could have resulted in the naval equivalent of Lee's disasters at Antietam or Gettysburg. However, in both cases their foes failed to take advantage of vulnerability and failed to deliver the coup de grace. Halsey's butt, and the entire US landing operation at Leyte, was saved by the intrepidity of the destroyermen, the tin can sailors, and airmen of the small US force engaged in the Battle off Samar. This book is important for shedding light on that otherwise forgotten heroic episode in US naval history. It is an episode of which all Americans, the American navy, in particular US navy destroyermen, should be aware and proud.

Unfortunately, the author was not himself a navy veteran. To such a veteran, the author's occasional misuse of naval terminology is somewhat annoying; e.g., reference to a ship in battle being hit in the "quarterdeck." A ship's quarterdeck is a ceremonial area, the area of access to and egress from the ship in port. It can be located practically anywhere on the main deck or even on the second deck of large ships. So, where was the ship hit? I also found the human interest snippets excessive. I wanted to know who (name optional, rank or rate) did what and when during the battle. Information about families and what individuals did in civilian life I found distracting. There are also a few peripheral historical inaccuracies, which can generally be ignored since the reader's focus should be on the action off Samar.

I recommend this book. A nonveteran of the navy will probably not be bothered by what annoyed me.

posted by Bumpa on February 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

A wondefull story! Should be read, BUT!!!

The NOOK version does NOT contain the Photo Insert. This is an outrage, I spent nearly the full cost of the book and I did not get inmportant historical material that would have enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I think that really stinks, especially since BN says not...
The NOOK version does NOT contain the Photo Insert. This is an outrage, I spent nearly the full cost of the book and I did not get inmportant historical material that would have enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I think that really stinks, especially since BN says nothing about this omission in their ad for the book. My apologies to the author of this great historical narrative but come on BN, how shoddy.

posted by leeper on June 15, 2012

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    A wondefull story! Should be read, BUT!!!

    The NOOK version does NOT contain the Photo Insert. This is an outrage, I spent nearly the full cost of the book and I did not get inmportant historical material that would have enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I think that really stinks, especially since BN says nothing about this omission in their ad for the book. My apologies to the author of this great historical narrative but come on BN, how shoddy.

    18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 9, 2011

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    Posted July 20, 2012

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    Posted January 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

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