• Tin Can Titans

  • The Heroic Men and Ships of World War II's Most Decorated Navy Destroyer Squadron
  • By: John Wukovits
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,334 ratings)

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Tin Can Titans  By  cover art

Tin Can Titans

By: John Wukovits
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
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Publisher's Summary

When Admiral William Halsey selected Destroyer Squadron 21 to lead his victorious ships into Tokyo Bay to accept the Japanese surrender, it was the most battle-hardened US naval squadron of the war.

But it was not the squadron of ships that had accumulated such an inspiring résumé; it was the people serving aboard them. Sailors, not metallic superstructures and hulls, had won the battles and become the stuff of legend. Men like Commander Donald MacDonald, skipper of the USS O'Bannon, who became the most decorated naval officer of the Pacific war; Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller, who survived his ship's sinking and waged a one-man battle against the enemy while stranded on a Japanese-occupied island; and Doctor Dow "Doc" Ransom, the beloved physician of the USS La Vallette, who combined a mixture of humor and medical expertise to treat his patients at sea epitomize the sacrifices made by all the men and women of World War II.

Through diaries, personal interviews with survivors, and letters written to and by the crews during the war, preeminent historian of the Pacific theater John Wukovits brings to life the human story of the squadron and its men, who bested the Japanese in the Pacific and helped take the war to Tokyo.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Tin Can Titans

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Captivating

So much has been written about World War II that anyone writing about it must come up with a different angle. Wukovits chose to write about the destroyers (Tin Cans) which he says were the workhorse of the war in the Pacific. Wukovits describes the story of Destroyer Squadron 21 (DesRon21). He follows the squadron from 1942 to leading the United States Fleet into Tokyo Bay to receive the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The author covers not only the action, the ships, but also the crews that manned the ships.

The book is divided into three parts, each containing three or four chapters. The first is on the origins of the vessels, then the squadron organization and lastly the campaigns. All sections are about the crews. In fact, the author makes the book read more like a novel than a history book. The book is well written and researched. The author conduced oral interviews of the veterans of DesRon21 as well as read many diaries. He dissected naval archives and reviewed action reports. The book format has photographs and maps. Destroyer Squadron 21 was the most decorated naval squadron of WWII. Anyone who likes to read about WWII will enjoy this book.

The book is almost eleven hours long. Robertson Dean does an excellent job narrating the book. Dean is a multi-award -winning audiobook narrator. Dean is well known to most long-time audiobook readers.

71 people found this helpful

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Heroic Story; Less Than Heroic Narration

Even though I have SEVERAL audiobooks on naval life and naval battles during WWII, I have to admit that I'm less than obsessively drawn to the wars of the sea as opposed to war on land. But Tin Can Titans promised to be more about the men than about the ships--the more human and personal aspects of war. So I'm THERE--if it smacks of bio/memoir, even a tad, that's what interests me.
And there are plenty of colorful, wholehearted characters/individuals in Tin Can Titans to keep you listening, keep you interested. These are stories that'll make you scowl, make you cheer.
What keeps this from being a stellar book is that there's a certain dryness of text that is totally exacerbated by Robertson Dean's less than stellar narration. While he does dialogue well, the rest of the book is delivered in such a one-note style that it's almost a monotone of a delivery. This does not make the action riveting, the consequences emotional.
Still, I love WWII stories, and Tin Can Titans made me proud of all the men and their acts, the way they treated each other.
It's just unfortunate that R. Dean made me sorry I used a whole credit on it. Listen well to the audio sample before purchase; if you can handle it, you're in for a jolly decent time, even though it's not a cover-to-cover listen

59 people found this helpful

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Starts a little slow, stick with it, you won’t regret it.

The first had battle accounts were amazing, having served in the navy myself they hit close to home for me, the letters home from yeoman Raines are heart wrenching and I’m bummed that the accredited book from which the excerpts were cited is not available in audiobook format. All in all this was a very good book

13 people found this helpful

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  • dw
  • 09-01-17

Gripping Book

This book is a gripping telling of the harrowing lives of those who served on the ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 during World War II. Based on diaries and other writings of the sailors who manned these ships, it provides an amazing array of insights into what it was like to face danger in the battles of the Pacific Theater. Beautifully narrated, I highly recommend this audio book.

13 people found this helpful

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Great for going to sleep by, that's about it.

Listening to this book by this narrator is like sitting in a WWII Naval history class and listening to a boring professor, with little inflection, read a history book to you. I would set the sleep timer for 15 min. and never recall the app shutting off.

10 people found this helpful

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Wukovits , Dean, and The O'Bannon ...

They really nailed it!
It's hard to describe the feeling of even watching a Fletcher class destroyer being refueled in heavy seas.
One minute it is under the water, the next, first the bow is totally out, then the stern and wildly vibrating screws.
To go to war on such a small ship would take a special man.
George Williams...QM2..USS Chipola AO 63 & reserve duty on USS Watts...1961

10 people found this helpful

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A lot of Holes

In reality this book concentrates on one squadron and really just a few ships in that squadron. Additionally the primary focus seemed to be on the Solomon campaign and gave passing discussion to further engagements. When thinking of destroyers during WWII I really don't know how you can omit the Battle of Leyte Gulf and Battle off Samar in particular. But for the items it covered the book had its moments but it seems that the author really just wanted to concentrate on the Battle of the Solomons and how how destroyers engaged in that battle. That part of the book is very good and the author should have just concentrated on that engagement and the ships involved.

7 people found this helpful

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Good story

Author wrote a good clean story about the early yet newest tin cans of WWII.

Note: Narrator has an exceptional ability that makes listening addictive.

5 people found this helpful

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Kenaikathy

This is one of the best books I have read. Full of adventure and heroism.

4 people found this helpful

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disappointed

how can you write a story about destroyers and not even mention the amazing sort of those men that heroically thwarted the attempt of Japan to crush the Laytte invasion of Manila. Last stand of the Tin cans is a far better tale. was hoping there would be more written here of their feats before. but to completely ignore them is sad

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-14-17

Classic naval warfare

Wukovits successfully details the progress of the Pacific campaign from meagre but determined resistance to overwhelming superiority by tagging the narrative to the rise of the Fletcher class destroyers. He finds a fine balance between the narrative, the technology and a half dozen or so key officers and men of the ships involved. In spite of familiarity with the topic prior to reading the book, I still learned more and enjoyed the story to its finish.

1 person found this helpful