[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.

[Review] The 60s: The Story of a Decade, The New Yorker by various authors

Publisher and Publication Date: Random House. 2016.
Genre: Nonfiction. Magazine articles. Essays.
Pages: 720.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Library.
Audience: History readers with an interest in the 1960s.
Rating: Good.

Link @ Amazon.


The 60s: The Story of a Decade is a collection from various authors sharing the history of the times of the 1960s. For example: music, culture, books, poetry, movies, deaths, and wars.

Nine parts holding 92 chapters.

My Thoughts:

First of all, I have a new computer and I’m learning to use it. I’m learning to use it along with writing a review! I’m so glad to have a new one because the old one literally had screws popping out and the some of the keys were sticking and the fan was going out on it. So, I feel blessed to have a nice new computer!

I was born in 1964.

My four older siblings were all teenagers during the 1960s. A first memory is the music of that decade. Each of my siblings had their favorite singers and bands. My sister JoAnn loved the music of the early 1960s. My sister Frances loved the Beatles. My brother James loved The Doors, Cream, and Black Sabbath. My brother Bobby loved Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and many others.

I grew up in the generation of people who watched television while eating supper. I remember the news broadcasting the events of the landing on the moon and the Vietnam War.

I’d not been interested in reading about the history of the 1960s until recently. I have watched a few documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime about this time period. When I saw this book at the library, I had to read it.

This book, The 60s: The Story of a Decade, shares essays and snippets from articles. For example, Truman Capote wrote the series that first appeared in The New Yorker, In Cold Blood. What is included in this book is a later chapter from the book which whet my appetite to read the full book in which I’ve already written a review.

This book shares a broad pen stroke of the writings that appeared during the 1960s giving the reader a general idea the world as printed in The New Yorker.

I love it that other world events outside of America is included. For example, the war between Israel and the Palestinians.

Not all chapters were of interest to me, so I speed read portions. I did not ignore them. I read them quickly.

My favorite chapters: In Cold Blood, The Village of Ben Suc, Silent Spring, Views of a Death, Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Assassination of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Cassius Clay, Sgt. Pepper, Joan Baez, Twiggy, and Bob Dylan.

The chapter on Bob Dylan is an interview. This is a wonderful chance to get to know him from that era. It’s an excellent interview.

Illustrations are not included.

There is an alphabetical list of authors who wrote the articles with brief bios.

[Review] Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

Publisher and Publication Date: Simon & Schuster. July 10, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Naval history. World War II.
Pages: 578.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of World War II history.
Rating: Excellent.

Link for the book @ Simon and Schuster.

Link for the book @ Amazon. At this time, this book is included in Kindle Unlimited. The hardcover is $12.31.

Goodreads author page for Lynn Vincent.

Goodreads author page for Sara Vladic.

Lynn Vincent is a U.S. Navy Veteran, and the author of several history books.

Sara Vladic is a documentary film maker, and a leading expert on the history of the USS Indianapolis.


From the opening line: “She was born from soil as American as the men who sailed her.”
This is one of the best opening lines I’ve read!

The USS Indianapolis was christened in 1932 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It was a Portland-Class Heavy Cruiser.

The USS Indianapolis in the final days of World War II had transported a secret that was hoped to end the war. Soon after delivering the secret, the ship is hit with two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine. It sank. Most of the men, both Navy and Marine, were able to get off the ship before it sank. Only 316 survived after five nights and four days in the Philippine Sea.

Indianapolis tells the entire story of the ship and its military men. From the time it was built and christened, to the sinking and survival of the men, the aftermath of those who survived the rescue, the trial of the captain, and the investigation and perseverance to exonerate him.

My Thoughts:

I have a personal connection to the story.

A woman who my mother was friends with starting in 1942 when they both worked at the Houston, TX Telephone Company as switchboard operators, her husband either died on the Indianapolis or in the water. She does not want to know the details of his death. They were childhood friends who fell in love, and they married in 1944. Thelma was a widow at age 18.

It’s been a few years ago, but on Memorial Day, I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon information about the USS Indianapolis group. They have a goal to have a photograph of every Navy and Marine Veteran who was on the Indianapolis. I contacted Thelma, and she and her daughters put together pictures and information to send the Indianapolis group. It was planned to fly a flag in honor of her husband at their memorial museum. Thelma was presented with a flag. This is the first time she had been presented with a flag after his death.

I feel humbled that I was able to help Thelma connect with this group and honor her husband.

There was no funeral for him. There was nothing but a couple of telegrams for her to read.

I don’t know if these are the right words to use, but there is a sense of comfort, dignity, and peace for her in this act.

Thelma is still living at age 96. She later married and had children, but she did not forget her first love, and possibly her great love.

My Thoughts of the book:

This is the second book I’ve read about the story of the USS Indianapolis. The first book is In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton.

Indianapolis is a difficult book to read. I knew what happened. But there is such a feeling of sadness and loss. But also, a feeling of…. I’m at a loss for words.

After reading the last page. I closed the book and sat in my chair for a long time. It is overwhelming what these brave men endured.

They too at times are at a loss for words. The horrors they saw are unspeakable, but as best they can, they try and give their testimony of what happened.

Much of this book is a survivor record of the events that unfolded. How they felt. What they saw. And also looking at the event in retrospect.

Vincent and Vladic form the structure of how the book is laid out. They share the background information. For example, the history of the ship. The battles it had taken part in. The recording of the survivor’s accounts.

The Bibliography is 65 pages in length.

The book is heavily researched by the writing team.

Before the prologue, there is a two-page spread of the USS Indianapolis. It is a diagram or map showing all the areas of the ship.

65 photographs are included. Most are in black and white.

The story also includes information from the perspective and memory of the Japanese commanding officer on the submarine, Mochitsura Hashimoto.

This is a must-read book if you are a military reader, Veteran, or a person who reads World War II history.

[Review] In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage International Edition/Knopf Doubleday. 2012. First published in 1965.
Genre: Narrative nonfiction. True crime.
Pages: 352 printed pages.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of true crime.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

Link for the book @ Barnes and Noble.

Link for the book, which is a link to Penguin Random House: In Cold Blood.

Truman Capote. 1924-1984.

Capote is pronounced Kapotee.

Links on Truman Capote:



A less than 6-minute fascinating interview.


In the wee hours of the morning, Sunday, November 15, 1959, four members of the Clutter family were murdered in their home. They lived in a farming community, and near the town of Holcomb, Kansas.

Thanksgiving would be the following week.

The older two Clutter daughters did not live at home.

The family members were Herbert “Herb” Clutter a prominent farmer. Bonnie Fox Clutter, wife to Herb and the mother of their four children. Eveanna, Beverly, Nancy, and Kenyon. Only Nancy and Kenyon were living at home.

Nancy was 16 and Kenyon 15 at the time of their deaths.

The murderers were Perry Edward Smith and Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock.

Truman Capote shares several things in the writing of this true crime story: short bios of the Clutter family members, longer bios of Smith and Hickock, the time leading up to the murders, the night of the murders is chronologically told, the following morning after the murders-how they were found and by whom, the criminal investigation, the capture and imprisonment of Smith and Hickock, the trial, the psych evaluations of both young men, the time spent on death row, their executions, and the aftermath of the murders for the neighbors and friends of the Clutter family as well as the families of Smith and Hickock.

In Cold Blood was first published in a series of articles in the New York Magazine in 1965. The book form of the story was published in 1966.

This link is to read various articles in the New York Times about Truman Capote and his work.

This link is to read a first part article written about the crime in the New York Magazine, from the September 25, 1965, issue.

My Thoughts:

I have a library book on articles from the 1960s that New York Magazine published. Of course, not all their articles are included, but those that are pivotal and reflect that decade. I’m currently halfway through it.

In this library book is an excerpt of In Cold Blood. It is from a later point in the book, when Smith and Hickock are in the small jail that housed them until after the trial. Reading this snippet whet my appetite to read the full story.

It’s been a few summers ago that I read several true crime nonfiction books. Those books are on the Golden State Killer, Charles Manson, the Zodiac killer, Ted Bundy, the BTK killer who is Dennis Rader, and Charles Manson. What I find the most fascinating is reading their psych profiles. The methodical and devious and vile and evil planning and murders are beyond difficult to read. It is not something I can wrap my mind around. They are books I don’t forget. They are troubling and menacing.

One of the scariest books I’ve read is written by a man who was working on his doctorate in criminal behavior. He worked in a lockdown unit of the facility that housed only those considered the most violent murderers. That book is frightening!

A problem I have with In Cold Blood is that I’ve read Capote’s story is not 100% accurate. Specifically, the portrayal of the mother of the Clutter family. This makes me wonder how many of the other true crime nonfiction books I’ve read that have inaccuracies.

I watched the film, Capote, that cast Philip Seymour as Capote. Capote’s interviews and research and writing of In Cold Blood is a big part of the film, but this film shares Capote’s relationship he had with Perry. It shares how this writing project impacted Capote. It is not a film only about the murders as is the book. There is a film that was made in 1967 that is titled In Cold Blood. It is considered accurate to the book.

The background story of In Cold Blood is a story itself. I’m referring to the research and writing of it. All the interviews Capote did. His writing project partner, Harper Lee. Going out to the house where the murders took place. The several years of work on it. The impact of this experience.

If you are a true crime reader, In Cold Blood is a necessary read. It is one of the first printed stories and films about true crime.

In most, if not all, the true crime books I’ve read, there is a heavy cloud of expectancy and anxiety about the stories of murders that take place in the books. A very interesting point about In Cold Blood is Capote’s writing style is both matter of fact and calm. Think about the word calm in reference to a book about serial killers, murders, and horror. It is hard to compute. This makes the book easy to read and yet hard to read. It is the later part of the book that dissects the murderers with psych evaluation results and the impact of the people.

The book is not about Capote’s relationship with the murderers.

Capote is the voice in the story unless he lets the people who were interviewed speak.

The last point I’d like to mention is I read that after In Cold Blood was published, and after Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, their relationship ended. Harper Lee was Capote’s assistant in research and interviewing for In Cold Blood. Capote dedicated the book to her and his partner, Jack Dunphy. He did not mention Lee in the Acknowledgements section.