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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
4.58 out of 54.58 out of 54.58 out of 54.58 out of 54.58 out of 5 4.58 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James D. Hornfischer Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2004 ISBN: 9780739309094
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“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. Download and start listening now!

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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 Paulmbauer | 1/10/2014

    " This is the most gripping story I've EVER read. If it were offered as fiction, nobody would believe it. It's the story of how a small group of small ships held back a huge Japanese armada that could have completely devastated the allied war effort in the Pacific. The skill and determination of these mostly very young sailors is almost incredible. As part of the research on my Civil War novel, I have read probably over a hundred books about soldiers and sailors and war. "Last Stand" has very few peers, both in the story and how it's told. I regret giving away my copy, but will buy and read this book again, and make room for it in my "permanent collection." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill | 1/5/2014

    " 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 Dad Bowers | 12/31/2013

    " Hornfisher gives a moving tale of the brave sailors in small ships in a great but little known battle or WW2. He makes you feel there, and gives great detail of how a sea battle worked, how the US won, and how the sailors struggled after the battle. We should read such books to keep in mind how such men strove to defeat the enemy and how much they suffered for our nation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 12/27/2013

    " My dad served on the USS Gamibier Bay which was sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry Teipen | 12/24/2013

    " One of my very favorite books concerning the Pacific campaign. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 12/8/2013

    " Should be standard reading I high school history class "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 10/26/2013

    " The best book I've read on the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Must read for anyone who enjoys reading on naval history. Well written and compelling story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 9/5/2013

    " A stunning book, full of first-hand accounts of the experiences of a mostly forgotten battle in the Pacific, and the truely heroic and inspiring actions of two US destroyers in particular. It really made me appreciate what those men endured. Highly recommend this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamesmurphy | 7/15/2013

    " 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 John | 7/11/2013

    " Yet another incredible story, which waited decades to be told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 4/23/2013

    " 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 Travis | 12/21/2012

    " David vs. Goliath. This was a little known story of how the Japanese gave one last effort to regain Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. True story of heroism in everyday men. Taking on a much bigger battle group, these guys stayed and fought, and paid the price. This book was awesome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 10/12/2012

    " This is an amazing story a must read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J. | 10/2/2012

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary Wallis | 8/19/2012

    " An excellent book. This is one of the better naval history books that deserves a place on everyones read list or to own. I love this authors writing and his way of putting you in the center of the action. Well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger Neilson | 4/3/2012

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nick | 3/16/2012

    " Well written book about naval and air actions taken place during the battle of Samar and Leyte Gulf. A real underdog story of an outgunned fleet clawing their way to victory against long odds. An important addition to WW2 naval history books! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cactuskid2 | 1/27/2012

    " Read this and then sent it to Max Schmidt, who was in WWII on the battleship Alabama. "

  • 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 "

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About the Author
Author James D. HornfischerJames D. Hornfischer is the author of Ship of Ghosts and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, which won the Samuel Eliot Morison Award and was a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Hornfischer's third book, Neptune's Inferno, will be published by Bantam in January 2011. He lives in Austin, Texas.
About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.