Finish Forty and Home

  • by Phil Scearce
  • Narrated by Danny Campbell
  • 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

During the early years of World War II in the Pacific theatre, against overwhelming odds, young American airmen flew the longest and most perilous bombing missions of the war. They faced determined Japanese fighters without fighter escort, relentless anti-aircraft fire with no deviations from target, and thousands of miles of over-water flying with no alternative landing sites.
Finish Forty and Home, by Phil Scearce, is the true story of the men and missions of the 11th Bombardment Group as it fought alone and unheralded in the South Central Pacific, while America had its eyes on the war in Europe. The book opens with Sgt. Herman Scearce, the author's father, lying about his age to join the Army Air Corps at 16. The narrative follows Scearce through training and into combat with his new crewmates, including pilot Lt. Joe Deasy, whose last-minute transfer from training duty thrusts the new crew into the squadron commander's role. Inexperienced crews are pressed into combat with navigational training inadequate for the great distances flown over Pacific routes, and losses mount. Finish Forty and Home takes the listener into combat with B-24 Liberator bomber crews facing the perils of long missions against tiny Japanese-held island targets. After new crews assembled into a squadron on Hawaii, they are sent on a mission to bomb Nauru. Soon the squadron moves on to bomb Wake Island, Tarawa, and finally Iwo Jima. These missions bring American forces closer and closer to the Japanese home islands and precede the critical American invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. The 42nd Squadron's losses through 1943 were staggering: 50 out of 110 airmen killed. Phil Scearce explores the context of the war and sets the stage for these daring missions, revealing the motivations of the men who flew them: to finish forty combat missions and make it home again.


What the Critics Say

"Finish Forty and Home is a treasure: poignant, thrilling, and illuminating." (Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compelling History of the Pacific Air War

What did you love best about Finish Forty and Home?

I loved the many human stories within the over-arching history of the Pacific Air War. My father was a left-waist gunner, radar bomber and flew with the 30th. He completed 40 missions in December of 1944, on the Bird of Paradise. I believe it was the same plane that crashed off Saipan in January 1945. I loved the detailed research and the obvious passion Phil Scearce had for this story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Herman Scearce was a wonderfully drawn character: complex, intelligent and mischievous. He's a guy I'd love to sit down and have a beer with.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were many poignant moments in the book. I was very moved by the loss of some of Herman Scearce's original crew and the loss of the Bird of Paradise.

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

No. I didn't want to rush it. Danny Campbell is an excellent narrator. He brought an easy comfortable tone to the characters and the story.

Any additional comments?

I'm indebted to the author for finally telling this story -- and telling it with respect and compassion.

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- Elyse Douglas

A personal view of the Pacific air-war

What made the experience of listening to Finish Forty and Home the most enjoyable?

The journey is an interesting one for history enthusiasts that want more of a personal view, for a change.

What did you like best about this story?

Sort of reminded me of "Unbroken," which was probably intentional.

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

Somebody else's voice.

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


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- Eric

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio