Brendan’s Alternate Tagline:
Wait, we bombed Tokyo right after Pearl Harbor? I’ll be damned.
We bombed Tokyo right after Pearl Harbor. Yes, really. Jimmy Doolittle and his Doolittle Raiders actually did a hell of a lot.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:
When the Doolittle Raiders took off for their bombing run, they all knew they didn’t have enough fuel to reach their landing destination. It was almost literally a suicide mission.
Fun Fact for History Nerds:
Why don’t more people know about this? Bungled politics. The Doolittle Raid is an amazing story but many of the details were withheld from the public too long. Japan put out competing press releases and the story quickly became mangled.
My Take on Target Tokyo:
How did I not know about this?
I vaguely remember in some history class hearing about the Doolittle Raid, but I certainly never remembered any details about it. Luckily, James Scott takes care of the details.
The entire episode reads like an amazing mini-series and yet it is all true. Pearl Harbor happened and Americans wanted revenge. Enter James Doolittle who was legitimately out of his mind. When people say “daredevil,” they mean him. He recruited a bunch of pilots who were never told what they were going to do. They basically all signed up because Doolittle was a superstar of pilots.
The logistics of the raid are equally mind-boggling. Apparently, you can’t just get any plane to take off from an aircraft carrier. Why didn’t I know that? I was in the U.S. Army, not the U.S. Navy. I make good choices.
This only gets you to the point of the story when the planes take off. Then it gets really wild. It’s a fantastic book and a must read.
(Disclaimer: James Scott did an interview with me and is a super nice guy. The book would be an amazing read regardless.)
Verdict on Target Tokyo:
Amazing story which does not spare the details. A must read. Buy it here!
If You Liked This Try:
- History Nerds United Podcast interview with James M. Scott
- James M. Scott, Rampage
- Mark Obmascik, The Storm on Our Shores
- Stephen Ambrose, D-Day
- Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies
- Lynne Olson, Last Hope Island
- Michael Korda, With Wings Like Eagles