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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.
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By Jean on 09-23-17
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.
55 of 56 people found this review helpful
By Gillian on 02-26-18
Heroic Story; Less Than Heroic Narration
Even though I have SEVERAL audiobooks on naval life and naval battles during WWII, I have to admit that I'm less than obsessively drawn to the wars of the sea as opposed to war on land. But Tin Can Titans promised to be more about the men than about the ships--the more human and personal aspects of war. So I'm THERE--if it smacks of bio/memoir, even a tad, that's what interests me.
And there are plenty of colorful, wholehearted characters/individuals in Tin Can Titans to keep you listening, keep you interested. These are stories that'll make you scowl, make you cheer.
What keeps this from being a stellar book is that there's a certain dryness of text that is totally exacerbated by Robertson Dean's less than stellar narration. While he does dialogue well, the rest of the book is delivered in such a one-note style that it's almost a monotone of a delivery. This does not make the action riveting, the consequences emotional.
Still, I love WWII stories, and Tin Can Titans made me proud of all the men and their acts, the way they treated each other.
It's just unfortunate that R. Dean made me sorry I used a whole credit on it. Listen well to the audio sample before purchase; if you can handle it, you're in for a jolly decent time, even though it's not a cover-to-cover listen
46 of 50 people found this review helpful
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By Anonymous User on 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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful