Offering a naval history of the entire Pacific Theater in World War II through the lens of its most famous ship, this is the epic and heroic story of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and of the men who fought and died on her from Pearl Harbor to the end of the conflict.
Award-winning author Barrett Tillman has been called "the man who owns naval aviation history," and Enterprise is the work he was born to write: the first complete story of "The Big E", incorporating oral histories and the author's own interviews with the last surviving veterans who served on her through the major battles of the Pacific war.
America's most decorated warship of World War II, Enterprise was constantly engaged against the Japanese Empire, earning the title "the fightingest ship" in the navy. Her career was eventful, vital, and short. Commissioned in 1938, her bombers sank a submarine just 10 days after the Pearl Harbor attack, claiming the first Japanese vessel lost in the war. It was the auspicious beginning of an odyssey that Tillman captures brilliantly, from escorting sister carrier Hornet as it launched the Doolittle Raiders against Tokyo in 1942 to playing leading roles in the pivotal battles of Midway and Guadalcanal to undergoing the shattering nightmare of kamikaze strikes in May of 1945. This is the definitive history of the ship whose aviators claimed 911 enemy aircraft and 71 ships, a saga of seemingly ceaseless heroism.
Barrett Tillaman is a widely recognized expert on air warfare in World War II and the author of more than 40 nonfiction and fiction books on military topics. He has received six awards for history and literature, including the Admiral Arthur Radford Award. He lives in Mesa, Arizona.
©2012 Barrett Tillman (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Military historian Tillman documents life and death aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise...Throughout the seagoing drama, Tillman fires off successive salvos of descriptive battle action, the result of exhaustive research." (Publishers Weekly)
"Veteran military historian Tillman comprehensively delineates the history of the legendary USS Enterprise.... A commendable history of a significant ship that also commemorates the economic might unleashed to supply the fighters in WWII." (Kirkus Reviews)
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"Great Bio of a Truly Remarkable Ship"
The author has assembled a wonderfully detailed account of the life of one of the greatest warships in all recorded history. Surely there are not many other ships that can place themselves at or near so many of the key junctions in the stream of human events.From its almost being at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, to its launching aircraft that struck decisive blows at Midway and the Philippine Sea, to its role as the only functional carrier in the South Pacific for much of the later part of 1942, this book recounts the contributions made by the ship and her crew, as well as the sacrifices required of them.
Though the narration is very welll done, it bears mentioning that this is not a novel. It is a narrative history that on occasion takes on the meticulous tone of an after action report, letting you know what was going on where with sufficient precision to leave you potentially lost in the details. This can be particularly true when discussing flight operations involving numerous air crews, though that specific circumstance is hardly something one can blame on the author or narrator.
All throughout, one will find interesting details about life on the carrier, night fighter doctrine and tactics, the different command mentalities of the ship's various captains, and the difficulties endured by those who fought the war from the decks of flattops and the cockpits of the planes that flew from them. Anyone with an interest in World War II should find much to interest them here. A more general knowledge of the Pacific War going into this story might be helpful, as well as basic knowledge of the region's geography.
I myself was most intrigued by coverage of the ship's early life, from its birth as part of FDR's economic recovery efforts to its peacetime cruises leading up to Pearl Harbor, as well as the heartbreaking details of its final days. This truly is an engrossing story of a good ship's life and times.
I'm sure the print version has loads of pictures -- I missed having these to look through.
There's plenty of books I have read about ships and their histories - "The Terrible Hours" about the USS Squalus, "Assault on the Liberty", "Duel between the Ironclads," to name but a few. There are several other books about aircraft and their crews - "Dauntless Helldivers", "Fork-Tailed Devil", "Lady be Goode", "A Missing Plane." I'm ignoring the books that covered entire campaigns. Probably some others that I'm forgetting.
The character of "Bulk Head", though brief, was memorable. There were plenty of other characters as well, but I can't name them. (I listened to the book several months ago.)
I thought I knew a lot of the history of the ship & crew and wanted to fill in the blanks. I was vastly mistaken -- there was a ton that I did not know.
Excellent book. If there is a way to add digital pictures to the recording, this would vatly increase the overall listening experience.
I am driving. Don't make me type while I am at the helm. Steady as she goes!
"Makes you feel like you're really on the ship"
I loved the details of the lives of the crew of the ship. Few history books can make you feel like you're living alongside the characters; this is one of them. The light, funny moments, the sudden tragedies, the intense excitement of the battles - I've almost never felt so immersed in a piece of the past.
It felt so real, and yet was an amazing story without the need for embellishment.
The induction of the new crewmen into the ship's community was so absurd, and yet so sad, since you realized that many of these silly people would soon be dead.
If you read only one book about American naval history, you could do far worse than to read this one.
"What a remarkable ship!"
Yes. This ship seemed to have a divine hand putting it in the right place at the right time. Anyone who has read Flashman will have the same feeling of "you're kidding me right" as the Big E heads into yet another major battle much like Flashman accidentally being at the the Charge of the Light Brigade.
The ship. It had a soul of its own.
Several. Whenever the Enterprize took a big hit, you hold your breath which is silly seeing as you know she survived. But, that is the gut feel.
No. It did remind me that sometimes life is tooooo coincidental to be mere coincidence.
Overall a very good history of the 'Big E', but way too much filler with bios of and side histories. I recognize the methodology as I've used it myself when I've come up short for material on the primary subject! Smooth narration.
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