Foreword Reviews

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

The crucial World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf is detailed through the eyes of American sailors and pilots in The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, and within it the Battle of Samar, is not as famous as other World War II conflicts, but the stories of both involve as much strategy, heroism, and excitement as any. Based on James D. Hornfischer’s acclaimed 2003 military history, this graphic novel adds a captivating visual element to the tale of an oceanic underdog conflict that was marked by ferocious fighting and dramatic turns.

The book features the details that military buffs would expect: lists of the ships involved, along with silhouette profiles to give a sense of their relative scale; and maps and grids that show the larger movements in context. But the story and art focus much more on the individual perspectives of the sailors and pilots who took part in the battle, resulting in immersion throughout most of the book. The storytelling captures the intensity, confusion, and desperation of combat, and the depicted engagements feature an array of naval tactics, from smokescreens to the first Japanese kamikaze attacks. All of this is depicted in panels that dazzle with their accuracy and cinematic flair.

The book’s frequent shifts from ship to ship, and from person to person, are dizzying, but there are rich rewards for following along. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers is an epic and thrilling account of naval warfare.

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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