Publisher and Publication Date: Bantam Books. 2005 for the paperback.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Naval History during World War II in the Pacific. Military.
Audience: Readers of World War II in the Pacific.
Rating: Very good.
Link at Amazon.
James D. Hornfischer’s Goodreads’ author page.
To read more information about this historical event: National Museum of the U.S. Navy.
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is the story of the battle that took place off the island of Samar on October 25, 1944. Samar is one of the Philippine islands.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was near Leyte, Samar, and Luzon, Philippines, was the larger battle, but the battle near Samar is considered a focal point.
The Japanese were trying to hold on to the areas they’d conquered, and the United States Navy began this tightening grip and offensive.
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers has two sections of black and white illustrations. Some of them are a collage of multiple photos. I love the layout of the illustrations because it gives the book a visual magazine quality look.
The story is told in a chronological timeline of the events when they happened. October 25 is the start of this particular battle at Samar.
The ships involved in this battle are a highlight. The description and history of the destroyers, pilots aboard the ships, personal stories and bios of sailors in regard to their duties, the buildup to the battle, the descriptions of strikes and bombings and explosions, the strafing from the enemy and its damage.
I love the personal bios and memories from the sailors. This includes their families.
I love a side story of a little dog who was a mascot of a ship.
Those who had lost their ship in a sinking and were adrift in the ocean awaiting rescue is sobering, and a reminder of their sacrifice and endurance.
There is a list of those who died in order to honor them.
The story shows the brutality of war, and yet sacrifice and honor.