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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Elyse Douglas on 01-27-12
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Robert on 02-01-13
I enjoyed this book; it has historical importance; but it wasn't as well done as I would have liked. What made this book especially compelling was that there was a tie in with another really excellent book: Unbroken. There is a reference fleeting reference to the day, and the plane that is the focus of "Unbroken". If for some reason you can only get one book on the subject of B-24's "Unbroken would be the one to go with; it's an amazing story well told. All that being said this book is good. There's a lot of information on B-24's and the men who flew them. The performance by the reader was good as well. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the air war in the Pacific during World War II.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful