America’s most decorated warship of World War II, the USS Enterprise was constantly engaged against the Japanese Empire, earning the title “the fightingest ship” in the Navy. With Enterprise, award-winning author Barrett Tillman offers the first complete story of “The Big E” and the men who fought and died while serving on her, from Pearl Harbor to the end of World War II. Tillman offers a naval history of the entire Pacific Theater through the lens of its most famous ship, incorporating oral histories and his own interviews with her last surviving veterans.
Her career was eventful, vital and short. Commissioned in 1938, her bombers sank a submarine just 10 days after the Pearl Harbor attack, claiming the first Japanese vessel lost in the war. It was the auspicious beginning of an odyssey that Tillman captures brilliantly, from escorting sister carrier Hornet as it launched the Doolittle Raiders against Tokyo in 1942, to playing leading roles in the pivotal battles of Midway and Guadalcanal, to undergoing the shattering nightmare of kamikaze strikes in May of 1945. All in all, Enterprise’s aviators claimed 911 enemy aircraft and 71 ships.
Tillman presents a wealth of dramatic and colorful stories that chart the course of the ship’s lifespan. Up in flag quarters, Admiral William F. Halsey learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On February 1, 1942, a machinist’s mate leaped into a parked dive bomber, using its .30 caliber machine gun to shoot at a Japanese bomber bearing down on the ship. In the combat information center, specially trained officers and men had conducted the first generation of electronic warfare, tracking phosphors on radar screens and naming various blips as “friendlies,” “bogies” and “hostiles.” And on May 14, 1945, a Japanese pilot plunged his Zero into the forward elevator well, killing himself and a dozen sailors—and ending Enterprise’s combat career.
Through these stories and scores more, Tillman underscores the importance of the Enterprise to the U.S. war effort in the Pacific. She was involved in 20 of the 41 recognized Pacific battles or campaigns—a record unmatched by any other ship. But Enterprise’s greatness was not only measured by the number of her engagements, but also by her specific battles. Without her, the Battle of Midway would have been lost. She was America’s only large carrier still steaming in the Pacific at the start of the Guadalcanal campaign. And she played a vital role in the development of flying from carriers at night—a tactic that stripped away the Japanese advantage of darkness, exposing them to attack 24 hours a day.
Enterprise is the definitive history of a ship whose story is marked by extraordinary heroism.
Hardcover Book : 320 pages
Publisher: Simon And Schuster, Inc. ( February 14, 2012 )
Item #: 13-497450
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 14.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
It has always been difficult to find much information on Enterprise...but Barrett Tillman's "Enterprise" certainly fills the bill.
My Dad was a "plank owner" of Enterprise. He was BTC Watts A. "Scotty" Scott. He served aboard The Galloping Ghost most of the war, with brief service on the "Sara", USS Jason and USS North Carolina(2 weeks). I grew up to all the stories I could squeeze out of him of Enterprise and her air group, whose fighting spirit helped turn the tide of the war in the Pacific.
Reading Tillman's "Enterprise" gave me goose bumps as I recalled the stories from my Dad and the hours he personally spent tearing out firebrick and rebuilding a boiler firebox during one of the many battles. Overcome with heat and with blistered hands, he went back in, again and again, continuing to do his job until that boiler was back online.
This is a much appreciated book and should be read by everyone who has an interest in US Naval history and the courage of those who served.
Barrett Tillman has done an excellent job (as always) of telling the great story of the Navy's WWII "tip of the spear". In addition to "the facts" the book includes the human element which many authors leave out, but to anyone who has served onboard a Navy ship, it is the heart and soul of any warship. Immensely readable and entertaining - I couldn't put it down.