Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 28 Dec 2016
Full Title: PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was perhaps one of the most recognizable US Presidents, not just in the US but across the world. Many historians, including Kennedy himself, credited the sinking of PT-109 during WW2 as an important event in Kennedy's life. To Kennedy, the commanding officer of the torpedo boat that was to be hit and destroyed by Japanese destroyer Amagiri, the days subsequent to the sinking were a test of his own character. To others, the sinking was an event that gave him a solid footing to enter the political arena. William Doyle's PT-109 was the telling of this particular chapter of Kennedy's life. Doyle's finding of previously unpublished materials was wonderful, the information he obtained by interviewing PT-109 veterans and Kennedy family members was insightful, and his narratives were highly enjoyable. The last of which, however, also attributed to my main complaint about that book, that it had such a dramatic flare that I wondered whether minor details had been omitted or changed in order to achieve this. While very few books could be 100% accurate with all details, such dramatic flare really brought out the otherwise unsuspecting minor errors, such as calling Rabaul an island.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. David Drummond did a great job with the reading of PT-109, although his pronunciation of Japanese names, something rather important for a book about the Pacific War, was quite awkward.
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