PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II

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9780694526147: PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II

In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, a Japanese destroyer sliced an American PT boat in two, leaving its crew for dead in a flaming sea. The boat's skipper was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Swimming into darkness and seriously injured, Kennedy led his men through a grueling three miles to the safety of a small island, towing one badly burned crewman the whole way. Over the next three days, he repeatedly risked his life to summon help until he finally secured his crew's rescue. He lost only two men.

In PT 109, journalist Robert Donovan vividly re-creates these events, as well as a later daring night operation in which Kennedy, skippering another boat, braved heavy enemy gunfire to pluck fifty men from the water and carry them to safety.

This audio of Donovan's classic includes a new foreword from Daniel Schorr, a new preface by the author, and a new afterword by World War II naval historian Duane Hove. Here for a new generation is a compelling glimpse of the values of service and duty that characterized America during the war years, as fresh and timely now as when it was published forty years ago.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Back Cover:

40th Anniversary Edition with a new preface by the author

"This 40th anniversary edition of PT 109 reminds us once again of the courage of President Kennedy and the men who served with him on his PT boat during World War II. Bob Donovan has written the definitive story of my brother's heroic efforts to save his crew in 1943 after their torpedo boat was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer, near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. This book vividly tells the story of the many dangers they faced and the enduring determination that made it possible to survive. To me, it has always been one of the great war stories of all time."--Senator Edward M. Kennedy

"In PT 109 we see a man assailed by hunger, heat, cold, discouragement and danger rising, without dramatics or posturing, to greatness."--New York Times Book Review

"A tense, tough and intelligent story of wartime adventure and heroism."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy.'"--John Fitzgerald Kennedy, August 1963

In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, in the waters of Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri sliced an American PT boat in two, leaving its crew for dead in a flaming sea. The boat's skipper was a gaunt, boyish lieutenant from Boston named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In a valiant effort to save the lives of his crew, Lieutenant Kennedy spent thirty of the next thirty-six hours in the water. Swimming into darkness and seriously injured, Kennedy first shepherded the wounded survivors into the derelict forward section of the plywood boat, which had remained afloat. Then, the following morning, he led his men on a grueling three-mile swim to the safety of a small island, towing one badly burned crewman the whole way. Over the next three days, Kennedy repeatedly risked his life in an effort to summon help until he finally secured his crew's rescue. He lost only two men, both killed in the collision.

First published to wide critical acclaim in 1961, this timeless classic tells the complete, harrowing story of PT 109 and her crew. Journalist Robert Donovan interviewed the men involved in the sinking of PT 109 and the rescue of its crew to get his story, including all ten survivors--President Kennedy among them. Donovan also tracked down the captain, helmsman, and crewmembers of the Amagiri along with the Solomon Islanders who participated in the rescue. The result is both a gripping tale of wartime heroism and a fascinating portrait of one of the United States' greatest leaders as a young man.

Kennedy could have returned home after the sinking of PT 109, but he felt he had more to contribute to the war effort. Given command of PT 59, he was later instrumental in the rescue of a trapped Marine patrol from a Japanese-controlled island. Donovan vividly re-creates the daring night operation in which Kennedy braved heavy enemy gunfire to pluck fifty men from the water and carry them to safety.

This 40th anniversary edition of Robert Donovan's classic includes a new foreword from Daniel Schorr, a new preface by the author recounting the circumstances of the book's creation, and a new afterword by World War II naval historian Duane Hove portraying the broader context for PT boat operations in the South Pacific. Here for a new generation of readers is a compelling glimpse of the values of service and duty that characterized America during the war years, as fresh and timely now as when it was published forty years ago.

From the Back Cover:

"To me, it has always been one of the great war stories of all time."--Senator Edward M. Kennedy

In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, in the waters of Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri sliced an American PT boat in two, leaving its crew for dead in a flaming sea. Over the next three days, the boat's skipper, a boyish lieutenant from Boston named John Fitzgerald Kennedy, repeatedly risked his life in an effort to summon help until he finally secured his crew's rescue.

First published to wide critical acclaim in 1961, Robert Donovan's timeless classic tells the complete, harrowing story of PT 109 and her crew. This 40th anniversary edition includes a foreword from Daniel Schorr, a preface by the author recounting the circumstances of the book's creation, and an afterword by World War II naval historian Duane Hove portraying the broader context for PT boat operations in the South Pacific. Here for a new generation of readers is a compelling glimpse of the values of service and duty that characterized America during the war years, as fresh and timely now as when it was published forty years ago.

"In PT 109 we see a man assailed by hunger, heat, cold, discouragement and danger rising, without dramatics or posturing, to greatness."--New York Times Book Review

"A tense, tough and intelligent story of wartime adventure and heroism."--San Francisco Chronicle

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