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Extended Audio Sample PT-109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy, by William Doyle Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Doyle Narrator: David Drummon Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A thrilling, moment-by-moment account of one of the most famous events of World War II—the sinking of PT-109 and John F. Kennedy’s heroic actions that saved his crew—and a fascinating examination of how that extraordinary episode shaped the future president’s life

At 2:00 a.m. on the moonless night of August 2, 1943, United States patrol torpedo boat PT-109, captained by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, was struck by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri near the Solomon Islands. The American ship was cleaved in two and rocked by an explosion. Two crew members died instantly, and the remaining eleven survivors clung to the sinking wreckage, adrift in enemy waters. Despite injuring his back, Kennedy—towing a severely burned sailor by the strap of a life jacket—led his battered and exhausted men on a harrowing three-and-one-half-mile swim to a tiny, uninhabited island. Desperate for food and water, Kennedy set off on a solo reconnaissance mission, scouting two larger islands two-and-one-half miles away. Discovering water and coconuts, he returned for his men. For six days they lived off coconuts and kept out of sight of passing Japanese patrols until they were rescued.

Drawing on new information from the American rescuers and recently released archives in both Japan and the United States, PT-109 recounts this event in breathtaking detail and explores the incident’s remarkable aftermath on JFK’s life and legend. William Doyle reveals that, while the incident transformed JFK into a “war hero” and helped propel him to the US Senate and the White House, the wounds he suffered during that harrowing week continued to haunt him physically and psychologically.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “William Doyle’s PT-109 is a masterfully written book on John F. Kennedy’s World War II service. Every page sparkles with keen insight and fresh research. Highly recommended!”

    Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Fast-paced, gripping, and superbly researched, William Doyle’s PT-109 conveys the dramatic story of JFK’s wartime service and its surprising aftereffects with a refreshing, brisk authority. Doyle’s gift for details and vivid descriptions put the reader squarely in the middle of this epic tale.”

    Dan Hampton, USAF (Ret.), New York Times bestselling author

  • “Perhaps the only thing more enjoyable than working on a book with William Doyle is reading one of his books. This one is exceptional: an intimate, blow-by-blow account of the saga of PT-109 and its young skipper who was destined to later take the helm of the nation. A fascinating read.”

    Dick Couch, USN (Ret.), New York Times bestselling author

  • “The hallmark of a terrific history is when you think you know the story and discover that there’s so much more. William Doyle’s PT-109 infuses an iconic tale with new information and insights, and in the telling deepens our understanding of the young John F. Kennedy’s courageous ‘origin’ story.”

    David Rensin, New York Times bestselling author

  • “William Doyle’s PT-109 not only provides a highly accurate and researched account of Lt. (jg) John F. Kennedy’s time as a PT skipper, including the sinking and eventual rescue of the 109’s crew, but it also brilliantly charts how those six days of survival, being alone, isolated, and, at times thought to be abandoned, transformed Kennedy’s very fiber—and his destiny to become president of the United States.”

    Bridgeman Carney, PT boat historian and author of First Up: Chronicles of the PT-157

  • “I have to say, William Doyle’s PT-109 is the finest book I’ve ever read on the subject: the best written; the most well-researched and accurate. It covers every aspect and brings many new things to light. Doyle has done a wonderful job.”

    Lt. Commander William Liebenow, USNR (Ret.), John F. Kennedy’s tentmate and battle colleague

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