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Download The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid—America’s First World War II Victory Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid—America’s First World War II Victory, by Craig Nelson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (116 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Craig Nelson Narrator: Raymond Todd Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Immediately after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt sought to restore the honor of the United States with a dramatic act of vengeance: a retaliatory bombing raid on Tokyo itself. At his bidding, a squadron of eighty scarcely trained army fliers, led by the famous daredevil Jimmy Doolittle, set forth on what everyone regarded as a suicide mission. The attack was successful—until Japanese spies forced most of the squadron to crash-land in enemy-occupied China, where pilots were ferried underground across the country to safety. One plane landed in the Soviet port of Vladivostok, where the crew was eventually smuggled out of the country through Persia. Others were captured by the Japanese, confined to years of imprisonment and torture. The fact that 90 percent of the men involved came home alive was little short of a miracle. Their extraordinary success led directly to what every historian now believes was the turning point in the war against Japan and helped convince the nation and the world that the Allies might eventually triumph.

Extensively researched, including interviews with twenty of the twenty-seven remaining survivors, The First Heroes vividly recreates America’s first great victory of World War II. Craig Nelson follows the Doolittle Raiders from their secret training on a Florida airfield to their tense days in transit across the Pacific to the bombing itself—and finally to their courageous accounts of survival against astonishing odds. A true account that almost defies belief, The First Heroes is a tremendous human drama of great personal courage and a powerful reminder that ordinary people, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, can rise to the challenge of history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The story of the Doolittle Raid lifts off the page, as rich and engrossing as any legend, and Craig Nelson proceeds to bring to vivid life the dramatic story behind the story.”

    Doug Stanton, author of In Harm’s Way 

  • “Craig Nelson has done a splendid job of making America’s first victory in World War II seem so vital, so relevant, that it feels like living it.”

    Susan Isaacs, author of Long Time No See and Compromising Positions

  • “Raymond Todd’s clear words, comfortable pace, and vocal inflections maintain an aura of patriotic excitement throughout the story, in which brave men and women, just doing their jobs, change the course of history.”


  • “This is a thrilling real-life saga that both informs and inspires.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Beth/Chuck | 10/31/2013

    " This was by far the best and most comprehensive book about the actual mission and events before it happened. Also covers what happened to each crew and most members after the mission. Excellent book from cover to cover. I highly reccomend it to anyone interested in World War II history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nancy L. | 9/12/2013

    " Excellent, excellent history of the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in 1942 and quite the best of what's been published. Read this instead of slogging through Ken Burns's The War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by David | 1/20/2013

    " If you're not familiar with the Doolittle Raid, this is the mission that was poorly portrayed at the end of the movie Pearl Harbor. You'll want to check this out if you're interested in the actual story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Steve | 4/30/2012

    " Good and interesting read on the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo. "

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