The First Heroes by Craig Nelson
The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid- America's First World War II Victory

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Immediately after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to restore the honor of the United States with a dramatic act of vengeance: a retaliatory bombing raid on Tokyo. On April 18, 1942, eighty brave young men, led by the famous daredevil Jimmy Doolittle, took off from a navy carrier in the mid-Pacific on what everyone regarded as a suicide mission but instead became a resounding American victory and helped turn the tide of the war. The First Heroes is the story of that mission. Meticulously researched and based on interviews with twenty of the surviving Tokyo Raiders, this is a true account that almost defies belief, a tremendous human drama of great personal courage, and a powerful reminder that ordinary people, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, can rise to the challenge of history.


About Craig Nelson

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Craig Nelson has been a vice president and executive editor of Harper & Row, Hyperion, Random House, and Villard, and a literary agent. He is the author of several books, including Thomas Paine, winner of the 2007 Henry Adams Prize. He has been profiled in Variety, Interview, Publishers Weekly, and Time Out.
Published September 30, 2003 by Penguin Books. 468 pages
Genres: History, War, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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The author suggests that the mission’s real danger lay not in forcing huge B-25 bombers to take off from storm-soaked aircraft carrier decks or making bombing runs over Tokyo in broad daylight, but in the crews’ struggles to reach friendly forces in China.

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Publishers Weekly

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Planned in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor at the behest of President Roosevelt, the U.S. bombing raids on Japan in spring 1942 were the first U.S. strikes of the war.

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