Extended Audio Sample

Download The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navys Finest Hour Audiobook, by James D. Hornfischer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,911 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James D. Hornfischer Narrator: Barrett Whitener Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2003 ISBN: 9781415902356
Regular Price: $24.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $20.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.

In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, James D. Hornfischer paints an unprecedented portrait of the Battle of Samar, a naval engagement unlike any other in U.S. history—and captures with unforgettable intensity the men, the strategies, and the sacrifices that turned certain defeat into a legendary victory.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

BK_BKOT_000171

Quotes & Awards

  • One of the finest WWII naval action narratives in recent years, this book follows in the footsteps of Flags of Our Fathers.... exalting American sailors and pilots as they richly deserve.... Reads like a very good action novel. Publishers Weekly
  • Reads as fresh as tomorrow's headlines.... Hornfischer's captivating narrative uses previously classified documents to reconstruct the epic battle and eyewitness accounts to bring the officers and sailors to life. Texas Monthly
  • Hornfischer is a powerful stylist whose explanations are clear as well as memorable.... a dire survival-at-sea saga. Denver Post
  • "In The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, James Hornfischer drops you right into the middle of this raging battle, with 5-inch guns blazing, torpedoes detonating and Navy fliers dive-bombing.... The overall story of the battle is one of American guts, glory and heroic sacrifice. Omaha World Herald

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Brecht | 2/16/2014

    " This is now one of my favorite World War II histories. It focuses on one event; the Japanese navy's nearly successful attempt to thwart the American's effort to recapture the Philippines. Were it not for the bravery of the navy's back up forces, the main attack might have failed. Out-manned, American destroyers took on the much more heavily armed Japanese battleships and cruisers, driving into the teeth of the enemy. In spite of losing the only aircraft carrier sunk by an enemy ship in the entire war, the rear guard of the American naval forces made a determined stand. Land based American fighters buzzed and harassed the attacking Japanese force and continued to hound them even when they were out of ammunition. Perhaps because of this fanatic defense the Japanese admiral, even while on the threshold of victory, decided to turn his force around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 2/14/2014

    " Gripping account of the most heroic naval action of WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 2/12/2014

    " This tells the story of the Battle of Samar, one of the last naval battles of World War II and a stunning underdog victory for the US Navy over Japan. Hornfischer is a great writer with the ability to make long-ago events seem real and immediate, and make a non-fiction story read like a novel. Fascinating and inspiring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan | 2/9/2014

    " By far the most amazing underdog story ever. The men in Taffy 3 did the unthinkable, and prevailed. An great book, about Americans at their finest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 1/29/2014

    " This was a great read on a naval battle during World War II that I didn't know much about. Overall, I didn't love this book. It felt very much like a court case in the way details were presented and the way the whole battle was dissected. I felt like there could have been so much more in the way of presenting these men as the heroes they became rather than just participants. I also didn't like the degree of graphic description of battle wounds that was given. And, I felt that the book moved so slowly, bit the battle, and then quickly ended. With all that said, one thing that I really liked about this book is that Hornfischer presented the men in such a way that you could picture and relate to them. I also loved the appreciation I've gained for the men who gave their lives in service of our country and the bravery shown in the face of battle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 1/24/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book about the battle for Leyte Gulf. Very well written and researched. The book has gotten around our friends in Bedford and is well worth a read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will | 1/18/2014

    " This is an epic true story of the U.S. Navy during one of its finest moments; the heroic crews of the badly outnumbered and outgunned destroyers, destroyer escorts, and escort carriers of Taffey 3 hurled themselves at a powerful squadron of Japanese battleships and cruisers that was trying to destroy MacArthur's army in its amphibious assault on the occupied Philippines. They truly were and are America's greatest generation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Quinnashley | 1/17/2014

    " This book will make your heart soar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Baron Adkins | 1/1/2014

    " Should be required reading in high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger Neilson | 12/11/2013

    " Started very well though lost a bit towards the end in my opinion. The lead up where he follows some of the combatants from training right through is good, the description of the battle is brilliant and the aftermath of the survivors is great. The follow up and recriminations lost my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill | 12/4/2013

    " This was a great telling of a battle that I have somehow never heard about. I'm sure he was speculating as to what the Japanese officers were thinking for the most part, but it made it read more as a story than a listing of military facts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 12/4/2013

    " This work is the standard by which World War II narratives should be judged. Enthralling, interesting, informative, and analytical, this book has it all. This is a must-read for everyone, not just World War II or history enthusiasts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 11/23/2013

    " Just an amazing book on what really happened at the Battle of Samar. Learned quite a bit on the ships and the sailors of Taffy 3 as well as the mindset of Japanese commanders. In the end, the Japanese fleet was in a no-win situation. Highly recommend this book to students of military history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Holland | 8/19/2013

    " Whoa. Incredible story of bravery from WWII. Loved this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 5/8/2013

    " One of the best stories I have ever read. A must read for everyone. They fought against all odds for each other. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamesmurphy | 4/6/2013

    " I always thought the navy was the least risky part of the defense forces. This shows how dangerous it can be when a Japanese battleship is firing shells the size a Volkswagen Beetle at you over a distance of twenty miles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lee | 2/2/2013

    " This was an excellent book on the battle of Leyte Gulf, the men involved and what happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danica | 1/26/2013

    " An amazing account of a WWII battle. The bravery is inspirational to all. I can't really put it into words. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Walker Adams | 2/16/2012

    " really quite an amazing book. makes me really honored to be in the navy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J. | 5/29/2011

    " exhausting in detail , perhaps a bit too much, but their bravery deserves it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 2/6/2011

    " fabulous book. My only quarrel with it is the anachronistic mention on page 399 of a ship wrecked sailor being handed a ".44 Magnum", which wasn't invented until the 1950's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 1/15/2011

    " Remarkable story of a little known but courageous battle. One of many that tip the tide in favor of the Allies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 11/4/2010

    " Phenomenal book. Must read for all naval officers. The most detailed account of the Battle of Samar and the work done by a small group of brave officers and sailors. As a Surface Warfare Officer, this book evoked significant emotion. I am proud to serve in this legacy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 10/14/2010

    " Quite possibly the finest book about the U.S. Navy in World War II i've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamesmurphy | 9/17/2010

    " I always thought the navy was the least risky part of the defense forces. This shows how dangerous it can be when a Japanese battleship is firing shells the size a Volkswagen Beetle at you over a distance of twenty miles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 7/12/2010

    " WOW!

    An amazing book, both as history and as a great story of human perseverance in the rawest of conditions. The only even minor criticism is that it should have shared a little more from the Japanese side of the battle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 5/4/2010

    " What a GREAT book! Bought it in the airport on the way out on May 1st and stayed up late to finish it. I knew the story of Taffy 3, or so I thought. Mr. Hornfischer has done an excellent job telling the story from the participants point of view. A real keeper. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arnie | 4/13/2010

    " I wish I could give this six stars. This is the best military history I have ever read, and I've read plenty. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 4/5/2010

    " Should be standard reading I high school history class "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author James D. Hornfischer

James D. Hornfischer is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Neptune’s Inferno, Ship of Ghosts, and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and others. A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Colgate University and the University of Texas School of Law, he lives in Austin, Texas.

About the Narrator

Barrett Whitener has been narrating audiobooks since 1992. His recordings have won several awards, including the prestigious Audie and six Earphones Awards. AudioFile magazine has named him one of the Best Voices of the Century. He lives in Washington, DC.