Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 5 Feb 2013
Full Title: Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II
Three days after the United States officially engaged in WW2, aircraft from carrier USS Enterprise sank Japanese submarine I-70. In late 1945, she helped ferry American servicemen back home from both the Pacific and European theaters of war. In-between, she engaged in several major actions in the war against Japan, including Battle of Midway, Battle of the Philippine Sea, and naval battles around Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands, and earned the nickname "The Fightingest Ship". Barrett Tillman's Enterprise aimed at a history of the entire career of the carrier, and the book did not disappoint.
Though relatively short, this title did a good job in outlining the history of the famous carrier. While "America's Fightingest Ship" came before "the Men Who Helped Win World War II" in the book's title, the book focused much more on the men, reflecting the author's aim of pushing forth the idea that the mere fact that a powerful carrier on the front did not win battles. To do so, it would take the skill and bravery of the men who operated on and from her. Tillman focused much more so on the exploits of the air groups, which was understandable as carriers' main mission was to project air power, but occasional inclusion of the others brought forth the service of those who were less commonly recognized. I thought that the stories of men risking themselves to save fellow crewmen and the carrier herself from raging fires, for example, went a long way in helping readers see those whose roles might not be as glamorous as the airmen.
There was one minor thing that irked me while going through the book. The author painstakingly put names to just about every pilot of every carrier aircraft involved in his narratives, yet this was done only rarely for those of the Japanese, thus preventing the personification of the Japanese and making the death of Japanese aviators emotionless. A possible improvement here might serve well to prevent the glorification of war.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Tom Weiner did a good job with the reading as I had expected (I had reviewed two of his titles previously), providing a clear voice and good pacing.
I had enjoyed Enterprise very much.
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal