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On April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the On April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the tide of the war. But it came at a horrific cost: an estimated 250,000 Chinese died in retaliation by the Japanese. Deeply researched and brilliantly written, Target Tokyo has been hailed as the definitive account of one of America’s most daring military operations.


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On April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the On April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the tide of the war. But it came at a horrific cost: an estimated 250,000 Chinese died in retaliation by the Japanese. Deeply researched and brilliantly written, Target Tokyo has been hailed as the definitive account of one of America’s most daring military operations.

30 review for Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    “[Signal Officer Edgar] Osborne watched the Hornet’s bow so as to release [Colonel James] Doolittle just as the carrier began to dive down the face of a wave. The time required for a B-25 to traverse the flight deck meant that the bomber would reach the bow on the upswing, catapulting the plane into the air. Osborne dropped the flag and Doolittle released the brakes. The bomber roared down the flight deck at 8:20 a.m. ‘The scream of those engines, the excitement and urgency, made an incredible s “[Signal Officer Edgar] Osborne watched the Hornet’s bow so as to release [Colonel James] Doolittle just as the carrier began to dive down the face of a wave. The time required for a B-25 to traverse the flight deck meant that the bomber would reach the bow on the upswing, catapulting the plane into the air. Osborne dropped the flag and Doolittle released the brakes. The bomber roared down the flight deck at 8:20 a.m. ‘The scream of those engines, the excitement and urgency, made an incredible sight. I was lying face down on the wet deck, clutching the tiedown plates to keep from being blown by the terrific wind. When Doolittle’s B-25 began to move, it seemed unreal,’ [Ross] Greening later wrote. ‘I had chills running up and down my spine…’ Doolittle’s left wheels hugged the white line that ran down the deck. He passed fifty feet, then one hundred. Then two hundred. ‘He’ll never make it,’ someone shouted. The bomber charged toward the end of the flight deck and then appeared to vanish…” - James Scott, Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor On the last night of his life, American airman Billy Farrow wrote a series of letters, the last of which was meant for his girlfriend of two years, Elizabeth Sims. The letter is simple, graceful, and shockingly free of bitterness, considering that Farrow had been sentenced to death by the Japanese military. “You are to me the only girl that would have meant the condition of my life,” he wrote. “I have realized the kind of life being married to you would have meant to me and to both of us, and I know we would have found complete happiness.” And then, in a line that perfectly encapsulates the smallness of human life in the midst of cataclysmic world war, he continues: “It is a pity we were born in this day and age.” Farrow was one of “Doolittle’s Raiders.” He and 79 of his companions, under the command of famed aviator and daredevil Lt. Col. James Doolittle, had launched a surprise bombing raid on Tokyo in retaliation for the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid had been audaciously conceived and recklessly executed. Sixteen Army Air Force B-25 Mitchell bombers, each with a five-man crew and four bombs, took off from the carrier U.S.S. Hornet. The plan (concocted by a naval captain) was for the bombers to take off from a carrier, drop their payloads over Tokyo and other Japanese cities, fly to China where they’d land at emergency airfields in occupied-territory, refuel, and then push further inland. A B-25 bomber struggles off the deck of the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942 Things went awry when Japanese picket boats spotted the American convoy heading towards the mainland, some 200 miles before the launch point. Doolittle went ahead anyway, knowing that his men wouldn’t have the fuel to make it to the Chinese landing strips. The planes all launched successfully from the Hornet, caught the Japanese air defenses by surprise, and got away safely. That is when the real odyssey began. This story, and much more, is the subject of James M. Scott’s magisterial Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor. I will be very honest in saying that this is a book I almost did not pick up. The title alone is a turn-off, like something from an RKO Pictures film. I feared this would be a Father’s Day kind of book. A simplistic tale of heroism and vengeance and American exceptionalism. I don’t have much interest in rah-rah jingoistic paeans. If I want propaganda, I’ll look at an old war bonds poster. The only thing that caught my attention was the prodigious length: 480 pages of text, exclusive of endnotes and index. Nearly 500 pages on a mission that is a mere footnote in the larger course of World War II? Something had to be going on, I thought. This is the work of an obsessive, and I dig obsessives. The Doolittle Raid has been covered before, most famously by pilot Ted W. Lawson, who lost his leg following the crash landing of his plane, the Ruptured Duck, and wrote the celebrated Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, which later became a pretty good movie. It also featured in Michael Bay’s execrable 2000 film Pearl Harbor, appended as a feel-good tag to a picture otherwise focused on a notable American defeat. I feel comfortable saying that this is the last book that needs be written on the subject. Scott covers this material from every angle and perspective. Target Tokyo is comprehensive, exhaustive, and beautifully written. Scott begins in the shadow of Pearl Harbor. America is reeling from the loss of four battleships (two permanently), nearly 200 planes, and over two thousands men. The Philippines are under attack. Wake Island has been captured. President Roosevelt wants to hit back, if for no other reason than to lift the flagging spirits of his country. Enter Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders. Famed aviator and Hennessy connoisseur, James Doolittle Scott covers the conceptualization of the raid, as well as the training. His account of the bombing mission itself is insanely detailed. It is literally a bomb-by-bomb account that tells you which plane’s bombs hit which targets, what kind of damage that caused, and how many people died. There are moments when he connects individual Japanese casualties to the bomb from the plane that killed them. This makes for an incredibly intimate description of an otherwise lethally indiscriminate mode of warfare. The bulk of the narrative is spent on the escape of the Raiders. Of the sixteen planes, fifteen crash-landed and one disobeyed orders and flew to Russia. (While allied with the U.S. against Germany, the U.S.S.R. was – at this point – scrupulously maintaining neutrality with Japan). The story of the aircrew interned in Russia makes for pretty good black comedy. It’s Sartre viewed through the prism of Heller. For the other 75 men, it was a vastly different experience. Doolittle Raider Robert Hite is blindfolded and led into captivity Three men died during the crash landings. Most of the rest escaped, aided by Chinese soldiers and civilians, who later paid a heavy price for their efforts. Eight men were captured, and their tale comprises the most fraught sections. At one point, they were taken to the infamous Bridge House jail in Shanghai. The conditions were near unendurable: Prisoners broiled in the summer heat and froze throughout the winter. A starvation diet of watery rice and a few ounces of bread caused fillings to fall out of teeth, and some inmates suffered vision loss. One Chinese prisoner starved to death after going twenty-five days without food. Filth was a constant. There were no baths, no haircuts, no shaves. Prisoners filed down their fingernails by rubbing them against the concrete walls. The Japanese guards refused to provide females with sanitary napkins, leaving them with bloodstained legs and dresses that served as a source of endless amusement for the guards. Fleas, lice, and centipedes swarmed the cells, and rats often tugged at the hair of sleeping captives. Disease was rampant, from dysentery and tuberculosis to leprosy. The communal latrine forced others to witness the horrific and untreated venereal diseases some prisoners suffered. The Doolittle Raiders were mistreated, tortured, and forced to sit through a sham trial that convicted them all of war crimes. Three, including Billy Farrow, were executed by firing squad. The aftermath of the raid, including the plight of the captives, is Scott’s true focus. He devotes space to the propaganda campaigns run by both the Japanese and the United States. He follows the Raiders once they return home, the ex-P.O.W.s suffering from what we’d now recognize as PTSD. He even takes us to the party Doolittle threw in 1947 at a Miami hotel where – according to a memo written by the hotel’s night manager, which Scott helpfully excerpts – there was women, booze, and a swimming pool. This party, promised by Doolittle from the start, grew into a yearly tradition. Doolittle even donated a bottle of 1896 Hennessy cognac (from the year he was born) to be drank by the last two surviving Raiders. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that Scott closes this book with the last three survivors opening up that cognac and drinking their toast. In a typical book, that final gesture would have been the culmination of a theme. The old heroes tossing one back to fallen comrades. This is not a typical book. In its latter half, Target Tokyo forces you to question the necessity of a mission that has become a cherished hallmark in U.S. military history. He takes us back to China, where the Japanese retribution – which the U.S. knew was coming – fell hard on the villages that assisted Doolittle’s men. An estimated 250,000 Chinese men, women, and children were killed, making the Nazi vengeance at Lidice look like a schoolyard game of bombardment. There are times when a number gets so large that it loses meaning. It’s far easier to empathize with the seven named Raiders who perished than with the quarter-million nameless Chinese who represented the collateral damage. Scott isn’t able to identify them, but he gives a searing portrait of the Japanese rampage through their lives. It was, in short, a reprise of the Rape of Nanking. Villages leveled. Mass executions. Biological warfare. All this, for what amounted to a propaganda coup. A raid of no material consequence. Sixteen planes and 64 bombs. Later in the war, LeMay would hurl as many as 500 B-29s at Japanese targets, each with five times the payload of Doolittle’s B-25s. Perhaps the raid goaded Yamamoto into the Midway campaign. Perhaps. But the cost in lives seems disproportionate to its achieved goals. Scott never makes an argument either way. He gives you every scrap of information he’s unearthed and threads it into a narrative that is structured to leave you asking the question yourself. Without being blatant, he overlays an ethical framework over the unrestrained hell of World War II. By the end, Target Tokyo becomes more than a story of a gutsy raid by nerveless airmen; it turns into a deep mediation on the moral choices inherent in war.

  2. 5 out of 5

    happy

    Mr. Scott has written a very readable, exhaustively researched look at the U.S.'s first strike on the home islands of the Empire of Japan in World War II. The author tells the story from its genesis in a comment FDR made shortly after Pearl Harbor that he wanted to strike the Japanese home islands to the final release of the raiders that Japan had captured after the war had ended. This book could well be subtitled, “Everything you wanted to know about the Doolittle Raid, but were afraid to ask” Mr. Scott has written a very readable, exhaustively researched look at the U.S.'s first strike on the home islands of the Empire of Japan in World War II. The author tells the story from its genesis in a comment FDR made shortly after Pearl Harbor that he wanted to strike the Japanese home islands to the final release of the raiders that Japan had captured after the war had ended. This book could well be subtitled, “Everything you wanted to know about the Doolittle Raid, but were afraid to ask” to paraphrase a famous title from the '60s. In telling of the raid, Mr. Scott also tells James Doolittle’s story. He looks at where he came from, his qualifications to both lead the raid and decide on the aircraft to be used, what modifications the aircraft needed, select the aircrew to fly on the mission etc. Contrary to common understanding, the people selected to fly the mission were not the best of the best. Almost all of them came from one bomb group, the 17th. That group not elite in any way and just happened to be the only one flying the B-25 at the time. In telling the story the author also includes various tidbits that I found fascinating. For instance when the carriers were discovered by Japanese picket boats, one of the accompanying cruisers, the USS Nashville, was tasked to sink it with naval gunfire. Much to the embarrassment of the Nashville’s skipper it took more than 800 rounds of main gun ammunition to accomplish this task. The author also tells Doolittle’s reaction when he realized that all of the B-25s had been lost on the raid. He felt that he would be court martialed and dismissed from the service – if he was lucky. He was given a pep talk by his crew chief and returned to the U.S. to a promotion to Brigadier General and a Medal of Honor. The author also includes quite a few pages on the Japanese preparations for an air attack and the schism between the Navy and the Army. The leader to the Navy, Adm Yamamoto, was concerned about the possibility and did what he could to prepare in face of the Army’s almost total disregard of the possibility. This included stationing picket boats well into the Pacific. The raid itself occurs about half way through the narrative. The rest tells the story of two crews that fell into Japanese hands and the one crew that diverted to the Soviet Union and the Japanese reaction to the raid. I found the story of the crew the diverted to the USSR really fascinating. To say they weren’t treated as heroes is an understatement. They were interned by the Soviets and kept in deplorable conditions and moved several times. Finally they were moved close enough to the Iranian border, they escaped to Iran in 1943. The author felt that they were allowed to escape to let the USSR off the hook with the US gov’t. The story of the 8 captured crewmen is also told in detail. 3 were eventually executed for war crimes, 1 died in captivity and 4 were eventually released after the war. In some ways their story is the hardest to read. All four of the men who survived had trouble adjusting to a freedom and one of them had such a hard time he returned to the United States in a strait jacket! In telling the story of the prisoners, Mr. Scott also tells the fate of the Japanese commanders who were in charge of them. 4 were prosecuted for war crime and convicted – though there sentences were fairly lite. Finally in telling the story, Mr. Scott also tells of the fate of the Chinese who assisted the Raiders. The Japanese reaction in some ways made the Rape of Nanking look like minor misunderstanding. The Japanese were absolutely ruthless in dealing with the Chinese populations in areas they controlled. They killed an estimated 250,000 Chinese in retaliation. All in all this is an excellent look at the Raid, it’s political beginnings, the actual nuts and bolts on how it was carried out, the effect on morale in both the U.S. and in Japan and finally he takes on the question of "Was it worth it?" considering the Japanese reaction and the lack of military results that were inherent in the such a minor raid - A definite 5 star read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Very enjoyable and informative read about the Doolittle raid on Japan. Growing up and studying history in school I knew about Jimmy Doolittle but after reading this book I learned how little I really knew. In December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered his senior military staff to plan an ambitious counterstrike against the heart of the Japanese Empire ... Tokyo. “The president was insistent,” Arnold recalled, “that we find ways and means of carrying Very enjoyable and informative read about the Doolittle raid on Japan. Growing up and studying history in school I knew about Jimmy Doolittle but after reading this book I learned how little I really knew. In December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered his senior military staff to plan an ambitious counterstrike against the heart of the Japanese Empire ... Tokyo. “The president was insistent,” Arnold recalled, “that we find ways and means of carrying home to Japan proper, in the form of a bombing raid, the real meaning of war.” Jimmy Doolittle, son of an Alaskan gold prospector, a former boxer, daredevil pilot, and a graduate from MIT volunteered to lead the mission. The story follows the process on the decision of which bombers to use, how many bombers, the training, and the targets. When they took off from the deck of the USS Hornet it was a one-way mission. They would drop their bombs on Japan and then head for Free China. Maps were poor, as was the weather, and fuel was tight. This isn't just the story of FDR, Jimmy Doolittle, Lieutenant General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. In this story you meet the pilots, navigators, and bombardiers who raised their hands and volunteered for a mission from which few expected to return. Most of the bombers ran out of fuel and crashed. Several of the raiders were captured and suffered torture and starvation in Japan's notorious POW camps. Those who were not captured had to escape across China ... on foot, rickshaw and boat with the Japanese army in pursuit. I have read about the atrocities committed by Japan during the war but was not aware of the impact on the people of China. In a retaliatory campaign the Japanese Army killed some 250,000 people. Women from 10 to 65 were raped. Families were drowned in wells. Entire towns were burned, and communities were devastated by bacteriological warfare. The barbarism of the Japanese Army was unfathomable. It was said that the only barbarism not committed was cannibalism. The raid was a propaganda victory for Roosevelt: "the Roosevelt administration, desperate for positive press, deliberately deceived the American people about the mission’s actual losses" "The Doolittle mission promised a potent tonic to the frustration brought on by Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam, and now Bataan." As difficult as it was to read about the horrors of war and the suffering I came away with a new admiration of Jimmy Doolittle and the men who volunteered for this mission. And I learned a lot that I hadn't known before. If you enjoyed Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand I believe you would enjoy this book too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stefania Dzhanamova

    Even before rescuers could remove all the dead from the oily Hawaiian waters following Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, American war planners started work on an ambitious counterassault, a strike against the heart of the Japanese Empire: Tokyo. This raid led by Army Forces Lt. Col. and famous stunt and racing pilot Jimmy Doolittle tested American ingenuity and gambled the precious few warships in the Pacific Fleet's battered arsenal, but also boosted American morale and jolted the Japane Even before rescuers could remove all the dead from the oily Hawaiian waters following Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, American war planners started work on an ambitious counterassault, a strike against the heart of the Japanese Empire: Tokyo. This raid led by Army Forces Lt. Col. and famous stunt and racing pilot Jimmy Doolittle tested American ingenuity and gambled the precious few warships in the Pacific Fleet's battered arsenal, but also boosted American morale and jolted the Japanese out of the mistaken belief they were immune to attacks on their home soil. Sixteen Army bombers crewed by eighty volunteers eager to work alongside the legendary Doolittle and specially trained in carrier takeoffs thundered into the skies over Tokyo and key industrial cities, bombing refineries, factories, and dockyards, and then escaped to China. In the USA the mission derailed questions over the government's failure to deter the raid on Pearl Harbor, and Jimmy Doolittle came to personify the counterattack's success, his grinning image plastered nationwide on war bond posters. Postwar records and interviews revealed that Doolittle's audacious raid had achieved far more, convincing the reluctant Japanese military leaders of the need to extend the nation's defensive periphery and destroy America's aircraft carriers to prevent possible future strikes. The plan would focus on the capture of a Pacific atoll, one the Japanese knew America would risk its precious flattops to protect, and would culminate in the Battle of Midway, which would end in utter defeat for Japan and become the key turning point of the war, setting the stage for the Navy's offensive drive across the Pacific that would overwhelm Emperor Hirohito's empire. Yet, declassified records in both nations together with long-forgotten missionary files show a more nuanced history. Japanese documents reveal that the raiders – albeit unintentionally – bombed private homes and a school, and killed civilians, including women and children. Records also demonstrate how Roosevelt's administration, desperate for positive press, deliberately deceived the Americans about the mission's actual losses and even the capture of some of the airmen, sparking a propaganda warfare between the USA and Japan. In one of the story's uglier chapters, General Douglas MacArthur's chief of intelligence secretly protected the Japanese general who allegedly signed the death order of some of the captured bombers, considering him too valuable a postwar asset to be prosecuted in the war-crime trials. The worst part was, however, Japan's brutal retaliatory campaign of rape and murder against the Chinese, triggered by the brazen raid that had humiliated the Japanese leaders. Enemy troops reduced whole cities, towns, and villages to rubble; they cut the ears and noses off people, set others on fire, raped all women between 10 and 60 years of age, and drowned entire families in wells. Especially cruel they were to those villagers who had sheltered Doolittles's airmen after the raid on Tokyo. Seeing a souvenir left by them in one house, the Japanese made the owner's wife set him on fire herself. The heinous slaughter that claimed the lives of as many as a quarter million Chinese had been anticipated by senior American leaders even before Doolittle's raid. Target Tokyo is a highly compelling account of the attack on Tokyo from its genesis to its aftermath, emphasizing Jimmy Doolittle's remarkable talent as a commander. James M. Scott describes the practical difficulties of the mission, such as the drastic adjustments to Doolittle's B-25s and the risks of launching such massive planes from the carrier Hornet, whose flight deck was a much shorter runaway than the bombers normally used. He graphically narrates the physical and mental torture of the captured pilots and of their Chinese rescuers. James M. Scott has created a gripping tale of Doolittle's nearly-suicidal attack, and it deserves much more than 5 stars. Outstanding.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    #4 Best Book I Read During 2020 I was wary of this book for a long time because it seemed from the title that it would be more of a general book on the topic and not really an in-depth history. But then I read Matt’s review (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) which is, as always, excellent - and saw that he had had the same reservations but read it anyway and really liked it, so I picked it up. So glad I did, it’s a fantastic book. Scott starts the way seemingly every WWII book starts - wit #4 Best Book I Read During 2020 I was wary of this book for a long time because it seemed from the title that it would be more of a general book on the topic and not really an in-depth history. But then I read Matt’s review (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) which is, as always, excellent - and saw that he had had the same reservations but read it anyway and really liked it, so I picked it up. So glad I did, it’s a fantastic book. Scott starts the way seemingly every WWII book starts - with a detailed look at Pearl Harbor through the eyes of FDR. I’ve read a million of those, and this one had some interesting parts I hadn’t heard before. But after the Pearl Harbor intro the book is all Doolittle raid, and you get everything - the men selected, their training, life on board the Hornet on the way to the raid, and the raid itself are all covered in the first half of the book. It’s very well-written, very interesting, and never bogs down (and it helps that I really didn’t know anything about the raid beforehand). But the second half of the book is where the story shines - the aftermath. Sixteen crews trained, rode out to the middle of the Pacific, launched successfully from a carrier, and bombed Tokyo. But from there the stories of the crews all veer off in different directions. You ride in the plane with them to all their different destinies. I won’t get into it here because it would be a spoiler (I knew nothing about it and it enhanced my experience greatly). But it wouldn’t be a spoiler to tell you that the “success” of the raid is ambiguous at best. Was it worth it to bomb Tokyo in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor? It was a public relations bonanza in a United States that was desperate for good news. But 250,000 innocent civilians received fates far worse than death in the days that followed because of the raid. Scott doesn’t take a side, he just gives you all the fascinating/horrifying facts. Don’t read anything about the Doolittle raid ahead of time, go in with as little information as possible, and soak it all in. One small disclaimer - I listened to this book, and sometimes it was hard to tell the crews apart as he went from plane to plane. This is only a minor critique, it didn’t hurt the story for me, and I’m still glad I listened to it. The narrator was great.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Justin Matthews

    Imagine taking a slice of Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, putting it under a magnifying glass, and then realizing there is a whole book there, waiting to be written, read, and explored. That's what you have here, and written with the same verve that Toll writes. Impeccably researched but also remarkably human; it grips you from the start. And there are so many fascinating episodes, like York's crew's escape from the Soviet Union, that play out within the bigger Doolittle episode, that itself plays Imagine taking a slice of Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, putting it under a magnifying glass, and then realizing there is a whole book there, waiting to be written, read, and explored. That's what you have here, and written with the same verve that Toll writes. Impeccably researched but also remarkably human; it grips you from the start. And there are so many fascinating episodes, like York's crew's escape from the Soviet Union, that play out within the bigger Doolittle episode, that itself plays out within the WWII saga. If a better book could be written on the Doolittle Raid, I really can't imagine it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roger Smitter

    James M. Scott has produced a formidable account of one of the greatest military missions in the US history. The air raid executed by Jimmy Doolittle and his elite squad of pilots and crews in 1942 gave US citizens a reason to believe we could win a war in territory on the other side of the world. It also defined the new role of air power. In WWI, aircraft provided the context for a one-on-one conflicts and dog-fights in the sky. The Doolittle raid on Japan changed the mission for air war—to att James M. Scott has produced a formidable account of one of the greatest military missions in the US history. The air raid executed by Jimmy Doolittle and his elite squad of pilots and crews in 1942 gave US citizens a reason to believe we could win a war in territory on the other side of the world. It also defined the new role of air power. In WWI, aircraft provided the context for a one-on-one conflicts and dog-fights in the sky. The Doolittle raid on Japan changed the mission for air war—to attack the enemy’s resources to limit their ability to make war and to demoralize the population. In 400+ pages of narration, Scott provides a complete account of the raid, including how the Japanese were thinking. We also get an insight into the air corps heroes—especially the pilots. These young recruits were in their twenty’s from all parts of the US. For them, life and death decisions became the norm. While the Jimmy Doolittle narrative dominates the first third of the book, once the bombing run is completed, we get insights into how the other pilots made decisions once they were over enemy territory. The most difficult passages come near the end of the book as we read about the harsh imprisonment in POW camps. The book nicely mixes the broad strategies of the raid on Tokyo with lots of details of the planning, the attacks, and the recovery in China. The details come out thanks in part of the dialogue among the flyers. What’s missing are the profanities that young guys with limitless courage must have used. There continues to be a debate about the impact of the Doolittle raid. Scott addresses this in the end of the book. The loss of all the planes, the malicious treatment of the men captured, and the inconsistent impact of the bombers has to be measured against the surge of patriotism created in the US by the raids. As a young reader in the mid 1950's, I read 30 Seconds Over Tokyo, a first hand account by one of the pilots of the Doolittle warriors. It engaged me fully in the excitement and glamour of war. Now, almost five decades later, I am glad that we have a much more thoughtful understanding of the event.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Totally absorbing account of the Doolittle Raid on Japan, which created our first victory of any type in the Pacific. After Pearl Harbor and the losses one after another in the Pacific Theater the moral in the States was falling and the outcome of the war was starting to look glum. That is why this highly risky raid was put together that the Navy and Army Air Force would risk so much for a propaganda victory that was designed for that sole purpose. James M. Scott gives us an intimate portrait of Totally absorbing account of the Doolittle Raid on Japan, which created our first victory of any type in the Pacific. After Pearl Harbor and the losses one after another in the Pacific Theater the moral in the States was falling and the outcome of the war was starting to look glum. That is why this highly risky raid was put together that the Navy and Army Air Force would risk so much for a propaganda victory that was designed for that sole purpose. James M. Scott gives us an intimate portrait of all of the men involved in the planning and execution of this attack in 1942 on Tokyo and its surrounding suburbs through the planning, the recruitment, the raid itself and the crash landing of many of the 16 B-25s on beaches and in the ocean,s many in Japanese controlled territory. The story carries us through for some their imprisonment and their escapes, and for those who survived their return to America. Strangely my father was stationed at all of the air bases mentioned in the planning and training stages except for Oregon. We were stationed in Newfoundland years after Doolittle made his historic transAtlantic run. We were in Dayton just after the war, and returned there to visit friends in my summer after 3rd grade when my Dad took me up on that catwalk at Wright Patterson in that multi stories hanger and we looked down at a gigantic Super fortress the B-29 which awed me as it was so much larger than the Gooneybirds I'd been flying in as we transferred from base to base...then we headed toward Texas. all of these bases still visable places in my mind. This text covers the retribution against China for becoming the place the Doolittle crews attempted to get to, the kindness of Chinese citizens who helped the Americans avoid the Japanese and capture. The Japanese killed around 250,000 people in retribution polluting waterways and drinking wells, slaughtering the men women and children of entire towns, destroying farm animals and crops then disbursing produced in laboratories bacteriological diseases across water and soil as they retreated. A unique look at the very young men that made up the crews of Doolittle's squadron that was the first offensive action in the Pacific. The battle scenes were so graphic you could feel the tensions in each sortie. An excellent narrative

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I would give anything to sit in the cockpit of a B-25 as Jimmy Doolittle piloted that airplane off the USS Hornet in 1942. What an incredible feat it must have been. Holding down the brakes and racing the airplanes engine until its ready to blow up is an adrenaline release in itself. Then he releases the brakes and takes off with only 500 feet left on a ship carrying 2,000 pounds of bombs, and travels 2,000 miles with a full crew. All of this being done on a carrier deck without hitting the supe I would give anything to sit in the cockpit of a B-25 as Jimmy Doolittle piloted that airplane off the USS Hornet in 1942. What an incredible feat it must have been. Holding down the brakes and racing the airplanes engine until its ready to blow up is an adrenaline release in itself. Then he releases the brakes and takes off with only 500 feet left on a ship carrying 2,000 pounds of bombs, and travels 2,000 miles with a full crew. All of this being done on a carrier deck without hitting the superstructure of the ship's island. James Scott has written a tremendous, concise, detailed account of the Doolittle raid. Four months after Pearl Harbor, with American Pacific Fleet in shambles, and American Pacific bases either in the hands of Japanese or about to fall, FDR and military leaders decide to bomb Tokyo. Scott carries the reader along as each of the 16 planes attack dropping their bombs and the impact they will have. Its remarkable reporting of what happened. By the end of the raid however the reader is only half done. There are hours of reading ahead to learn the fate of 80 men. A gripping story that is well researched, as Scott takes the reader up close to the raid, well done and hard to put down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Frazier

    It's difficult to discuss this chronicle of ace aviator Jimmy Doolittle and his raiders' bombardment of Tokyo without revealing too much of the story, but let me begin by saying that this is a fabulous account of a largely underexamined theater of World War II. As a fan of WWII literature, I'm familiar with some of the conflicts and personal stories emanating from the Pacific theater, including the Battle of the Midway, Admiral Nimitz and the more recent "Unbroken," the riveting story of Louis Za It's difficult to discuss this chronicle of ace aviator Jimmy Doolittle and his raiders' bombardment of Tokyo without revealing too much of the story, but let me begin by saying that this is a fabulous account of a largely underexamined theater of World War II. As a fan of WWII literature, I'm familiar with some of the conflicts and personal stories emanating from the Pacific theater, including the Battle of the Midway, Admiral Nimitz and the more recent "Unbroken," the riveting story of Louis Zamperini penned by Laura Hildenbrand and brought to the screen by Angelina Jolie. But this story is one that's escaped my attention, and I'm probably not alone as such. I'm thankful that author James Scott elected to provide this most recent--and riveting--account. It was immediately after Pearl Harbor when President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his military leaders sought revenge against the Japanese for laying waste to much of the Pacific fleet as it harbored in Hawaii, seemingly oblivious to the attack that would "officially" announce the United States' entry into the war. While much of Dollittle's mission was, in fact, military in nature (they would target military and industrial targets in and around Tokyo), the impetus behind the decision to launch a surprise attack against those who had surprised us was more to demonstrate America's engagement to its citizens, to show them that the U.S. was prepared, involved and willing to defend its soil and its ideas, even if it meant flying to the western edge of the Pacific Ocean to do so. The country's spirit and morale were at stake, and in Doolittle the brass chose a well-known aviator famous for all sorts of flying records to lead the charge (although the very nature of the mission meant that very few people were even aware of it, including those who took part). The target was Tokyo, the capital of Japan. The idea was to bomb it, to send a message that would be heard around the world. The obstacles included getting as near to it as possible undetected, and flying bombers off the deck of a carrier ship when it had never been done. Modifying a fleet of B-25s to carry the requisite munitions was part of it; they also had to be reconfigured to hold enough fuel to fly farther than they'd ever flown. Oh, yeah. Even if they launched and bombed successfully, returning to land a bomber on a carrier was out of the question. So where would they land? And whom, if anybody, could they tell without jeopardizing the entire operation? Enter China, about whose concurrent war with Japan I know too little of to comment articulately. Suffice it to say that China's airfields, some of which had to be covertly modified to accommodate the B-25s, were about the only option for landing and refueling post-bombing. Scott goes into great detail about most of the 80 volunteer airmen who comprised the 16 crews of five each. (Included among his discoveries is no small amount of personal correspondence, impressive not only for the grace and dignity with which these men communicated with one another and their families, but the equanimity and acceptance demonstrated by each in the face of such peril.) That they were asked to risk their lives for a mission which held such low probability of success was no more a surprise than their willingness to do so. They were part of "The Greatest Generation," when few questions were asked and all was given in name of home and country. Their stories, sacrifices, commitment and bravery are no less compelling than those authored by millions in every other theater. The consequences of their raid would be in large part paid by the Chinese, whose seemingly benign and after-the-fact complicity in the raid would end up costing the lives of roughly 250,000 Chinese civilians, a number greater than those Japanese vanquished in the subsequent nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was not only news to me, its details were news to Scott, who describes their often merciless, barbarous and torturous deaths with a gut-wrenching nuance that only serves to remind the reader of how vicious war is and how inhumanely humans can behave toward one another. That the loss of so many innocent Chinese was contemplated and predicted by American leaders is a discussion I wish Scott had spent more time on, especially in light of how few Japanese were actually killed during Doolittle's raid. Surely paying such a huge price for America's retribution was not something China would have willingly agreed to, even if they had known in advance of its cause. Roosevelt and his advisors knew this, and I would love to know more about the debates and discussions that yielded their final decision. While it was but a gut punch compared to the devastation of Pearl Harbor, the effect of the raid on America's psyche cannot be overestimated, and Scott once again does an admirable job of chronicling its reaction. The tide began to turn, eventually cresting more than three years later, a few days after the Enola Gay dropped her payload, when some of Doolittle's men still survived as prisoners of war subjected to only the cruelest of treatment. This is a must-read for any fan of American history in general and World War II specifically. Bravo, Jimmy Doolittle, to you and each of your raiders. And well done, James Scott.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Snow

    It is April the 18th 1942… I sit in the co-pilots seat of the first B25 commanded by Colonel Doolittle. I look to my right at the bridge of the Hornet and see the officers on the bridge watching and waiting for the launch of these 16 bombers eager to bomb Japan and avenge December 7th. I feel the engines being brought up to full power the Mitchell bomber is vibrating along with the pitch of the Hornets deck and the wind as it rushes across the bow of the mighty carrier. All at once Colonel Dooli It is April the 18th 1942… I sit in the co-pilots seat of the first B25 commanded by Colonel Doolittle. I look to my right at the bridge of the Hornet and see the officers on the bridge watching and waiting for the launch of these 16 bombers eager to bomb Japan and avenge December 7th. I feel the engines being brought up to full power the Mitchell bomber is vibrating along with the pitch of the Hornets deck and the wind as it rushes across the bow of the mighty carrier. All at once Colonel Doolittle releases the brakes the B25 lurches forward and down the deck of the carrier we go headed for Imperial Japan… That was my imagination run wild thanks to James M. Scott writing, all through this book Mr. Scott put me in situation after situation along with the Raiders… To me this is great writing when I become immersed not only in the story but along with the characters. When the story ended I wanted more so I bought another James Scott book... "The War Below"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fred Leland

    This book is the best book I have read on the Doolittle Raid. The books gets into the personalities of those flying the mission. It has very descriptive narrative on the individual bombing missions and the after math of the 8 that got taken prisoner in Japan and Siberia. Their letters home to loved ones even as some were sentenced to death by firing squad were both heartbreaking and inspiring! The research involved in the writing of this book was simply outstanding and must have been painstaking This book is the best book I have read on the Doolittle Raid. The books gets into the personalities of those flying the mission. It has very descriptive narrative on the individual bombing missions and the after math of the 8 that got taken prisoner in Japan and Siberia. Their letters home to loved ones even as some were sentenced to death by firing squad were both heartbreaking and inspiring! The research involved in the writing of this book was simply outstanding and must have been painstakingly time consuming. I am very appreciative to the author for writing it. I highly recommend this book as it shows what selfless service and sacrifice are!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Don

    The story of the Doolittle raid is one of the most well known events of World War II. Nevertheless, it has been a while since someone has tackled this subject. James M. Scott had access to historic records that were not available for previous histories so this is sure to become the best book on the subject. Highly readable and highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Magin

    Spectacular story, spectacularly told.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

    An incredibly interesting and well written book. It covers the conception, recruitment, training, execution and aftermath of the raid. It was the Chinese who paid the highest price with an estimated 250,000 people killed in retaliation.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Ligon

    An excellent narrative of the Doolittle raid, its context and its consequences. If anything, a bit overly detailed, but very interesting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Audiobook Accomplice (Gillian)

    AWEsome! Breathtaking! Riveting! Holy cow! …and I could go on and on and on!!! My Full Review AWEsome! Breathtaking! Riveting! Holy cow! …and I could go on and on and on!!! My Full Review

  18. 5 out of 5

    victor harris

    After a string of Japanese successes following Pearl Harbor, U.S. morale was at low ebb and sought a morale boost. That mental climate gave birth to the audacious Doolittle Raid. In the meantime, the Japanese were quite smug and never believed that the U.S. would risk its fleet to stage a bombing mission on the Japanese homeland. But of course they did. It was led by James Doolittle who already had established a reputation as a daredevil pilot and an innovator in the aeronautics industry. It wa After a string of Japanese successes following Pearl Harbor, U.S. morale was at low ebb and sought a morale boost. That mental climate gave birth to the audacious Doolittle Raid. In the meantime, the Japanese were quite smug and never believed that the U.S. would risk its fleet to stage a bombing mission on the Japanese homeland. But of course they did. It was led by James Doolittle who already had established a reputation as a daredevil pilot and an innovator in the aeronautics industry. It was one of the truly remarkable feats during WW II and this narrative does justice to it. Taking you from the initial planning stages to the denouement covering the fate of the pilots, it is a gripping account of the events. So well written that even the detailed coverage of the technical aspects of the planning and special aviation features are enjoyable to read. Because the Doolittle group was detected en route, they had to depart from the Hornet carrier much sooner than anticipated which depleted their fuel supply and forced many of them to crash land in China with one crew rerouting to Russia. Although it only did modest damage, the raid did deliver a jolt to the Japanese ego and shattered their myth of invincibility, as well as achieving the desired effect on American morale. A number of the pilots were injured when they crashed in China and they were forced to make a harrowing escape with the Japanese on their heels. Brave Chinese assisted them by providing refuge and tending to them and they would suffer horrible retaliation for their efforts. Meanwhile, the York crew that landed in Russia was held captive by the Russians for an extended duration though they were our allies. The Russian paid no heed to American diplomatic efforts to retrieve the pilots and they would eventually resort to escaping through southern Russia and into Iran. Others were captured by the Japanese and were subject to grisly torture and in violation of international conventions, three were executed. In the post-war, MacArthur would shield many of the culpable parties from justice and they would serve short sentences or escape prosecution entirely. This is a page-turner that reads like a novel and is worthy of more than five stars. I do offer a caveat, the torture descriptions are very gruesome in their description, so if you have reservations about that type of reading, you might wish to pass on this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard Fox

    As of today, only three of the original Doolittle Tokyo Raiders are left, all now in their 90s. So, now perhaps more than ever their story should be told as completely as possible. Mr. Scott does so admirably, recounting not only the mission itself and its psychological impact on both America (inspiring) but also Japan (profoundly shocking). The Raiders in their mission, although not terribly damaging, altered Japan's fundament strategy toward America and directly contributed to the U.S. Victory As of today, only three of the original Doolittle Tokyo Raiders are left, all now in their 90s. So, now perhaps more than ever their story should be told as completely as possible. Mr. Scott does so admirably, recounting not only the mission itself and its psychological impact on both America (inspiring) but also Japan (profoundly shocking). The Raiders in their mission, although not terribly damaging, altered Japan's fundament strategy toward America and directly contributed to the U.S. Victory at the Battle of Midway. Beyond the mission, this engrossing book details the aftermath. The Raiders who not only survived their crash landings in China, but also the horrible suffering of the two crews captured by the Japanese - three of those brave airmen were illegally executed and one died from disease. The book most interestingly to me recounts the little known story of the one crew that flew into the Soviet Union instead of China. The story of their internment and remarkable escape is one aspect of this historic mission that was very surprising to me. Finally, this thoroughly researched book also describes the courage and heroism of the Chinese people, who having already suffered horrendously at the hands of the Japanese, still selflessly aided the Raiders and helped them get home, only to suffer even more gruesomely from the retaliation the Japanese inflicted on them for rendering that assistance. Target Tokyo sure to be considered the definitive recounting if this remarkable story of valor, dedication, and profound selflessness. Buy it. Read it. Share it with your children and grandchildren. The men of the Doolittle Raid are shining examples of The Greatest Generation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Al

    Excellent book. Begins pre-Pearl Harbor, and includes the initial conception of the operation and a more general discussion of the state of war throughout the world. Starts out with mostly "big picture" description: Generals Marshall and "Hap" Arnold, assigning Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle to find a way to do the seemingly impossible task of retaliating against Japan as quickly as possible after the near destruction of the US Pacific fleet. Once events reach the point of selecting the aircraft and crew Excellent book. Begins pre-Pearl Harbor, and includes the initial conception of the operation and a more general discussion of the state of war throughout the world. Starts out with mostly "big picture" description: Generals Marshall and "Hap" Arnold, assigning Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle to find a way to do the seemingly impossible task of retaliating against Japan as quickly as possible after the near destruction of the US Pacific fleet. Once events reach the point of selecting the aircraft and crews, it is told at a much more personal level, focusing on individuals directly involved. How they were all volunteers who could not be told what they were volunteering for until already at sea, and how none backed down (alternate crew members even bidding to trade places with selected crew members). Much of the book is told using the airmen's own words, citing diary entries of those involved. Continues post-mission, with the fate of the crews' crash landing due to low fuel in China (and one B-25 in the USSR). Pays special attention to the single crew captured by the Japanese and their POW ordeal. And satisfying follows the men post war, and their reunions (which ended with the last 4 surviving members, all in their 90s). I highly recommend it to anyone interested in true tales of bravery, stamina, determination, patriotism and character.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Ruark

    What can I say. This book is a brilliant, detailed history of the Doolittle Raid from the attack at Pearl Harbor that compelled America to answer Japan's military methodology to the post war treatment of the Japanese who tortured and abused our captured airmen. If you have seen the movie THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO, you know the story... or I should say, you know the story from Ted Lawson's perspective. (Lawson was pilot of The Ruptured Duck and author of THIRTY SECONDS.) What James M. Scott has d What can I say. This book is a brilliant, detailed history of the Doolittle Raid from the attack at Pearl Harbor that compelled America to answer Japan's military methodology to the post war treatment of the Japanese who tortured and abused our captured airmen. If you have seen the movie THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO, you know the story... or I should say, you know the story from Ted Lawson's perspective. (Lawson was pilot of The Ruptured Duck and author of THIRTY SECONDS.) What James M. Scott has done, is put all the pieces of this story together and molded the various perspectives into a story that reads like a novel and not a history book. For history buffs, this is a treasure trove of new material culled from primary sources from around the world. If you are not familiar with the 1953 movie, but have only heard about the Doolittle Raid, this ought to be the "go-to" book for anyone interested in what really happened. Reviewed by Eric B. Ruark, author of MURDER BEYOND THE MILKY WAY.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    An excellent and recommended book for anyone interested in WWII. It is well researched and yes there is much detail. Before reading this book, I knew about Japanese pre Pearl Harbor planning and their attack. I also knew about Roosevelt's desire for a bombing response on Tokyo with Jimmie Doolittle and the Raiders. I didn't know about bomber prep, training, number of bombers, which targets and their outcome trying to reach China. This book covers all of this. In addition it covers targets hit an An excellent and recommended book for anyone interested in WWII. It is well researched and yes there is much detail. Before reading this book, I knew about Japanese pre Pearl Harbor planning and their attack. I also knew about Roosevelt's desire for a bombing response on Tokyo with Jimmie Doolittle and the Raiders. I didn't know about bomber prep, training, number of bombers, which targets and their outcome trying to reach China. This book covers all of this. In addition it covers targets hit and what happened to the bomber planes/ crew. Today, two of the Raiders remain alive and I'm glad I was able to read about their heroic efforts.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Scott's book is a highly detailed history of the Tokyo raid's place in history. It's profiles of participants (especially that of Jimmy Doolittle, who, in Hap Arnold's words, was a spectacular person without setting out to be one) are very interesting, and its assessments of the raid's effects (the Japanese reaction to the attack led to a quarter of a million deaths in China) haven't been matched before. Scott's book is a highly detailed history of the Tokyo raid's place in history. It's profiles of participants (especially that of Jimmy Doolittle, who, in Hap Arnold's words, was a spectacular person without setting out to be one) are very interesting, and its assessments of the raid's effects (the Japanese reaction to the attack led to a quarter of a million deaths in China) haven't been matched before.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    This is a particularly vivid and detailed reconstruction of the Doolittle Raid as a response to Pearl Harbor (including the author's odd quirk of telling us how tall everyone was as a boilerplate part of their background description), but what gets that 4th star is a new effort to look for and include the severe effect of the reprisals on the Chinese people, and the bigger picture of where the raid fit into Japanese and American Grand Strategy. This is a particularly vivid and detailed reconstruction of the Doolittle Raid as a response to Pearl Harbor (including the author's odd quirk of telling us how tall everyone was as a boilerplate part of their background description), but what gets that 4th star is a new effort to look for and include the severe effect of the reprisals on the Chinese people, and the bigger picture of where the raid fit into Japanese and American Grand Strategy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jane Thompson

    World War 2 Story This is a superb history, one that answers all the reader's questions about the raid. It gives a tremendous amount of infomation along with a great amount of detail. It is a good book and one that is well worth reading. World War 2 Story This is a superb history, one that answers all the reader's questions about the raid. It gives a tremendous amount of infomation along with a great amount of detail. It is a good book and one that is well worth reading.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Nishimura

    Target Tokyo is a meticulous retelling of the 79 men who accompanied airman-extraordinaire Jimmy Doolittle on a history-making mission of landing the first attack on the Japanese homeland. The research is incredibly detailed and yet the research is incorporated so well that it add to the vivid epic like it was a story created to tantalize instead of memorialize. I learned much from this book. History, military tactics, WWII tactics, the politics of wartime decisions to name a few. I also gleaned Target Tokyo is a meticulous retelling of the 79 men who accompanied airman-extraordinaire Jimmy Doolittle on a history-making mission of landing the first attack on the Japanese homeland. The research is incredibly detailed and yet the research is incorporated so well that it add to the vivid epic like it was a story created to tantalize instead of memorialize. I learned much from this book. History, military tactics, WWII tactics, the politics of wartime decisions to name a few. I also gleaned much about the culture and outlook of three nations at war: America, Japan, and China, and how their national ethos drove their soldiers to make extreme decisions. I intentionally chose the term “extreme” over heroic, brave, and patriotic because it is abundantly evident that though this is an Americanized perspective, all sides suffered to extreme degrees. These are all worthy lessons to take away and there are a few things that I learned about myself: 1. as an American, I have been presented with factoids about Nazi Germany all my life but the main public school lessons I received on the Pacific side of the war could be succinctly summarized as “Japan attacked Pearl Harbor so America bombed Japan.” Beyond the East being secondary, what is also ignored is that an estimated 15-20 million Chinese citizens and 22 million Russians died during WWII. I mean zero disrespect to the resilient Jewish communities around the world, but I’ve come to believe that the figures for Chinese and Russian civilian losses should be mentioned in the same breath as the 6 millions Jews who perished by Nazi forces. 2. as a Japanese American, I cringe every since time I hear Jap. It was very disturbing to hear it so many times even though I know it’s a product of that time. I found myself envying that Germans could be distinguishable from Nazis, and I wished the same type of name had been available for the Imperial Army of Japan. It was difficult to Jap spit out with such venom during certain quoted dialogue but it does certainly lend color to the narrative 3. The end of the story touched on the Japanese war tribunals and much like #1, I believe America’s world history has done their citizens a great disfavor by leaving it out of the general education process. Furthermore, I believe it is true to say that even Japan’s history politely skips mention of their nations incriminating acts against the people massacres (and worse) during its conquest to absorb Asia’s resources. Chapter 24 was excruciating to listen to but once you do, I think you’d agree that Japan’s atrocities should be held to the same candle that shines a light of remembrance over the deeds of a Nazi nation. I would absolutely recommend Target Tokyo to anyone interested in WWII and the Pacific theater.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Piker7977

    Narrative histories that are informative and entertaining seem to be an uncommon find in libraries and bookstores. When you encounter one that delivers on both it is a truly rewarding experience as a reader, history enthusiast, American, and a human being. Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor is among the best of the best. I would even argue that this book is one of those that has the potential to alter the reader by encountering such a powerful and complicated st Narrative histories that are informative and entertaining seem to be an uncommon find in libraries and bookstores. When you encounter one that delivers on both it is a truly rewarding experience as a reader, history enthusiast, American, and a human being. Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor is among the best of the best. I would even argue that this book is one of those that has the potential to alter the reader by encountering such a powerful and complicated story that it will deepen your respect for the Doolittle Raiders while testing your critical thinking skills when considering the externalities resulting from the first bombs dropped on Tokyo. I imagine that many folks are somewhat familiar with the story of the Doolittle raiders in a simple if not shallow way. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing to keep the memory of this mission alive in any sense. It's just that the full story reveals a rich and nuanced tale of courage, innovation, sacrifice, tragedy, irony, and legacy that defies the normal boundaries of history and biography. James M. Scott has truly done a great service to historians and readers by telling the story in a way that raises more ambiguous questions such as: -What methods are used to encourage citizens of a democratic republic to rally around the cause of war? -What sacrifices can result from those efforts? -Are they worth it? -What is the calculus for military strikes against an adversary? (Big, small, domestic, international) -What are potential implications for allies when complications arise from military missions? -How do missions like the Doolittle Raid redefine service and sacrifice? (Anticipated and unanticipated) -How do the experiences of the United States (military, economic, societal, etc.) compare with authoritarian regimes? (Both allied and adversarial) -How does war affect family? These are only a few examples. But, you don't need to have a list of questions and considerations at the ready when you read this book. It's rewarding enough to get swept away with the excitement and emotions. It's not everyday that histories can accomplish this feat. Target Tokyo delivers for people who simply thrive on the thrill of reading. It transcends a mere genre of nonfiction and encourages folks to experience events in a way that leaves them satisfied, informed, and overwhelmed at the magnitude of the Doolittle mission and its effects on its aviators, the country, and the world.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joe Johnson

    Target Tokyo tells the story of the Doolittle Raid on Japan in April 1942. There have been many books on this subject, but this one is different in that it does not focus solely on the raid and the 80 men who flew the B-25s. The story begins with Pearl Harbor, and the beginning of the idea of the raid as a way to strike back at Japan. We also learn about the fears of some of the high ranking Japanese generals and admirals that Japan was not well protected against an air attack. And from here the Target Tokyo tells the story of the Doolittle Raid on Japan in April 1942. There have been many books on this subject, but this one is different in that it does not focus solely on the raid and the 80 men who flew the B-25s. The story begins with Pearl Harbor, and the beginning of the idea of the raid as a way to strike back at Japan. We also learn about the fears of some of the high ranking Japanese generals and admirals that Japan was not well protected against an air attack. And from here the story unfolds with the selection of the aircraft and the training of the flight crews to be able to take off from an aircraft carrier and fly their bombers to Japan and then on to the unoccupied regions of China. One of the very interesting things to me, was that during the narrative of the actual bombing mission, we learned not only what the flight crews did, but also where their bombs landed and what damage was caused by the raid, including civilian deaths and injuries. There is much more to the book: the aftermath of the raid for the 15 crews that made it to China and the one the landed in the Soviet Union, the public relations battle between Tokyo and Washington over the raid, which was complicated by the American authorities not getting prompt notification of the success of the raid, even though all of the planes were lost. And there are stories of the raiders who died in China and those who were captured by the Japanese, some of whom were liberated at the end of the war. But the most heartbreaking part of the book is the story of the Japanese offensive into those areas of China were the raiders landed. The Chinese civilian casualties were enormous. It is a compelling story, and the author has made the most of some new primary sources of information and so is able to paint a more complete picture of the raid and the aftermath. I recommend this book very highly; if you are interested in the complete story of the Doolittle Raid, this is the book for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Part Flyboys, and part Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, James M. Scott's Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor, is the story of the 16 B-25 bomber crews who took off from the Hornet in April 1942 inflicting somewhat minor damage on Japan's infrastructure, but a heavy toll on its psyche. Doolittle was already famous before he planned and led this daring raid. A stunt pilot and early aviator, he was already a flight instructor in World War I. By the second world war Part Flyboys, and part Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, James M. Scott's Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor, is the story of the 16 B-25 bomber crews who took off from the Hornet in April 1942 inflicting somewhat minor damage on Japan's infrastructure, but a heavy toll on its psyche. Doolittle was already famous before he planned and led this daring raid. A stunt pilot and early aviator, he was already a flight instructor in World War I. By the second world war, his reputation was such that men leapt at the chance to serve with him. As such, the Air Corps had no difficulty finding volunteers for a top-secret and highly dangerous mission, the details of which the men themselves would not learn until after the Hornet had put out to sea. The raid itself was remarkable primarily for being the first time the Japanese home islands had ever come under attack from a foreign enemy, setting the stage for the later attacks that would flatten so many of Japan's cities - to say nothing of the nuclear bombs that would end the war. It was also remarkable for the scope and scale of retaliation by Japan directed at China, where 15 of the 16 bomber crews landed after the raid. While the final tally will never be known, an estimated 250,000 Chinese civilians became victims of the Japanese as a direct result of the raid. Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor sheds light on one of the early actions against the Japanese, one that has been rather forgotten, consigned to the shadows of such places as Iwo Jima, the Midway, and the Coral Sea. For history enthusiasts, Scott's work offers an opportunity to learn more about this turning point in the war.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bob Stockton

    Target Tokyo is a gripping, suspenseful, gut wrenching account of Jimmy Doolittle's April 1942 bombing of Tokyo and the fate of his air crews that either crashed in China or diverted to Russia after the bombing. Four months after the December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was going badly for America. The U.S. Navy was all but destroyed in the attack, the Japanese campaign in the Philippines had captured Manila, taking thousands of Americans and Filipinos captive, S Target Tokyo is a gripping, suspenseful, gut wrenching account of Jimmy Doolittle's April 1942 bombing of Tokyo and the fate of his air crews that either crashed in China or diverted to Russia after the bombing. Four months after the December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was going badly for America. The U.S. Navy was all but destroyed in the attack, the Japanese campaign in the Philippines had captured Manila, taking thousands of Americans and Filipinos captive, Singapore had fallen, the Japanese had taken the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies and were menacing Australia and had their eye on Hawaii. Americans at home on the west coast were demoralized and fearful of an air attack. President Roosevelt was searching for something to revitalize the American spirit when famed air racer and pilot Jimmy Doolitte, then a lieutenant colonel who was raised in a hard-scrabble Alaskan town, proposed a bold attack on the Japanese capitol with B-25 bombers launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet. Scott gives us a thorough account of the military aspects of the raid while acquainting the reader with the personalities of the raiders, their subsequent fate after the raid and the unspeakable horror surrounding their fate. Three of the crewmen were executed after capture. Scott's description of the men awaiting execution is heart-rendering. Target Tokyo is a masterfully written book, a "can't-put-it-down" tale of American exceptionalism and bravery. I heartily recommend this book to today's reading audience, especially to those that are too young to recall the era.

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