I have read this book, I wasnt really all that knowledable about this part of the Pacific war other than the last bit of the film "Pearl Harbour" with Ben Afleck. Anyway, tha aside, i picked it up and started to read it. I usually find it difficult to get into a book if the author is just telling you facts, but quite soon I was reading this for long periods at a time, even choosing to read it over watching TV! always a good sign. The story is poignent, amusing and informative. I felt the characters were believeable in their testomony and the authors ability to follow one starnd and then change to another was very well done indeed. I can not fully appreciate why men would volunteer for this kind of mission, then carry it out, then get back into the war after having survived what they did. Doolittle himself came across favourably as a leader of men. Sadly not all of the raiders survived the war, and because of the lack of understanding of PoW's those raiders captured then released is quite harrowing.
This is a better than average historical account of what went on before, during and after the raid. In this book, the story is told with the right tone, those that achieved great things are mentioned in a proper way, those that just survived are given equal treatment. No man alive today would probably risk himself the way these men did and it shows what can be done when you need to do it. I enjoyed the read.
What a fantastic book and what an amazing story. These guys volunteered for a mission to fly off an aircraft carrier to bomb Japan with no real clue as to how they were going to get back home! Yet when they did bomb Japan, President Roosevelt could not say too much to the America public as this raid was kept so secret, even he was not told the full facts. The book then follows these heroes on their journey home, two stories in particular are compelling reading with regard to the flights crews who landed in Russia and the crew who were caught by the Japanese and put on trial in Japan.The author has a style which is easy to read and informative which makes to book gripping to the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and rank this is the top five world war two books that I have read.
It is unfortunate that the story of the Doolittle Raid was handed to a talentless writer with no knowledge of the war in the Pacific and WWII aviation. The many egregious technical and historical errors - which could fill many pages on their own - coupled with a cringe-making style make reading this book sheer torture. The publisher also bears a heavy responsibility for putting it in the hands of an editor who is clearly as ignorant of flying and aerial warfare as the author. I tried a number of times to get through "First Heroes", but without success. I suspect that readers who have given it more than two stars are family friends of the author; if not, they certainly have no feel for facts or what passes for good writing. Never have I bought an account of WWII that so deserved to be pulped before it ever left the publisher's warehouse.