[Review] The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour by James D. Hornfischer

Publisher and Publication Date: Bantam Books. 2005 for the paperback.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Naval History during World War II in the Pacific. Military.
Pages: 499.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
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.

My Thoughts:

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.


[Review] Clark and Division, Japantown Mystery Number One by Naomi Hirahara

Publisher and Publication Date: Soho Crime. 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, romance.
Pages: 312.
Format: E-book.
Source: Library.
Audience: Readers of World War II era with an interest in Japanese Americans in America.
Rating: Good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

Link @ Goodreads for Naomi Hirahara’s author page. And the link for the website.


Aki (pronounced Ah-key) Ito and her older sister, Rose, live in Los Angeles, California with their parents. After World War II, the Ito family along with other Japanese people living in America are placed in internment camps. The round-up and relocation for them began in 1942. Rose is the first member of the family to be released. She moves to Chicago to work. Later, the rest of the family are released and move to Chicago. Rose secures an apartment for her family before they arrive. The year is 1944.

Soon after arriving in Chicago, the family is shocked to hear about Rose’s death. What they are told about the circumstances of her death, Aki does not believe. Aki becomes her sister’s advocate.

My Thoughts:

I love the overall storyline.

I love learning about the history of the Japanese who came to America, and the further generations. Issei is the 1st generation. Nisei are the further generations. I dislike how they were treated during World War II, but I am thankful to read and learn about their plight. I don’t believe there have been many books written about this people group and history.

I love reading sister stories. This is a sad story, but there are strong themes of commitment, loyalty, steadfastness, and honor.

Romance is a theme, but it is not a dominant part of the story. I like this.

The pace of the story is good.

The secondary characters are well-written and varied with both males and females.

The Ito parents are secondary characters and are often quiet characters present in the room. Aki is the main character, but even she is reserved. Aki is a resilient and intelligent person. She is persistent. To honor her sister’s memory with the truth is her hope.

Prejudice and segregation in a people group that we hear little about is a strong bonus for this book.

The mystery reveal shows that the people we thought trustworthy are sometimes not.

Quote of the Week

“Look for the stars, you’ll say that there are none;
Look up a second time, and, one by one,
You mark them twinkling out with silvery light,
And wonder how they could elude the sight!”

“Calm Is the Fragrant Air” by William Wordsworth [1832]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.

Published by Little, Brown and Company, 1955. Page 412.

To read the poem in entirety: Bartleby.com.

Photo image from Unsplash. Photo by Greg Rakozy, 2015.

[Review] Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation, read by Dion Graham

Publisher and Publication Date: Mission Audio. 2013.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Length: 51 minutes.
Format: Audiobook.
Source: Library.
Audience: Readers with an interest in Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s life and mission.
Rating: Excellent.

Link for the audiobook at Audible.


Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was in a Birmingham, Alabama jail in the spring of 1963 when he wrote this letter addressed to fellow clergyman. It is an open letter though, which means it is intended for publication.

He states to whom and why he has written this letter.

The letter reminds me of an opening statement given in a courtroom by an attorney addressing the history of the struggle of race and segregation, the current circumstances and concerns, various feelings in the black community, the response of the larger Christian community (white), and his hopes for the future.

My Thoughts:

My first thought while listening to this letter read: Is this letter read and studied in school? It should be. It is a travesty if it is not.

The following words are all going to be brief in my thoughts about this letter. They are words that he mentioned or came to my mind while listening.

“Unjust laws.”
“Out of harmony with the moral law.”
“Why are colored people treated as weak? Humiliated? Called names?”
“People of ill will have used much more time effectively than the people of good will.”
A call to rise up.
“Non-violent efforts and protests.”
The words time, lift, create, and active are used often.
Disappointed with the white church response.
Love. The agape love.

This is a brilliant audio recording of a phenomenal letter, and by a man who was and still is in his legacy a person of conviction and strength and vision.

Quote of the Week

Photo by Mary Rosales on Unsplash

“I have been here before,
But when or how I can not tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.”

“Sudden Light” [1881] Stanza 1.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1828-1882]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955. Page 640.

To read the poem in its entirety: Poetry Foundation.