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They Were Expendable

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A national bestseller when it was originally published in 1942 and the subject of a 1945 John Ford film featuring John Wayne, They Were Expendable offers an account of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three's heroic actions during the disastrous Philippine campaign early in World War II. The author uses an unusual and effective format to tell the story: an interview with the fo ...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published January 1st 1942 by Harcourt
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Eric Edwards
Feb 04, 2013 Eric Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The movie was better.

The writing style is a very linear extrapolation of the "events" that MTB Squadron 3 experienced during the early part of the US involvement in the Second World War. As it is portrayed as a factual account of the experiences of this action the tone of the book propagandizes these events. In the context of the time frame in which the book was written this is understandable but to a reader in current times that does not understand this context the book would appear wooden and
...more
Ceejay
Apr 06, 2014 Ceejay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the 1942 edition (fourth printing).

In my opinion, this is the best non-fiction book to come out of World War Two. It is one of the finest books ever written about war. This is the third time I have read this book, and each time I have looked at it in a different way.When I was a teenager, it helped me understand my parent's view of WW II and the world after that momentous time period. In my twenties, during my seven years in the military, I saw a group of young fighters getting Gen. MacAr
...more
Rick
Apr 28, 2011 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book at least 50 year ago and it has remained one of my favorite all these years.
William French
Jun 21, 2014 William French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is fiction but is based on the exploits of some great Americans, including John D. Bulkeley, one of our greatest soldiers. It is a very compelling read. I read it after watching the movie with John Wayne but wish I had read it before. The movie follows the book very closely, which is unusual for Hollywood.
John
Mar 09, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box17
Excellent eye witness account of the final days in the Philippines in WW2
Althea
Jul 20, 2015 Althea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-2
Very reaol, the emotional experience.
Gil Burket
Nov 28, 2014 Gil Burket rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Written during the War when the war was going badly for the United States, but a classic to this day.
John Bruni
It's a hell of a war book, one of the finest. BLACKHAWK DOWN might have it edged out by a bit, but it's definitely up there. It lagged a little bit as it got near the end, but that's a minor quibble. It's also told in a very unusual way, from the perspectives of four soldiers (and the fifth perspective of White himself).
Heidi
Apr 20, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another book I read in High school for fun. Yes that's right I read this for fun. To this day it is one of my favorite books of all time and I feel everyone should read this if you want to know more about WWII and the Pacific side of the war.
Darryl
Mar 07, 2010 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Profiles a motor torpedo boat squadron based in the Philippines during the opening days of World War II and their efforts to transport General MacArthur to Australia. Good read so far.
Steve
May 07, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-read
Read long ago but still one of my favorites. Few books reveal the "Dark Days" of WWII like this one. Yet the under-rated boats and gutsy crews make this a good read.
Steve
Aug 20, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Read it again for the first time since I was 10 years old. Loved it. I enjoyed it even more reading it while living Manila.
Ken
Aug 04, 2012 Ken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In retrospect, a pure propaganda piece. Transparently manipulative. The real events would have had more than enough drama.
K.H. Vaughan
In retrospect, a pure propaganda piece. Transparently manipulative. The real events would have had more than enough drama.
Ben Harrison
Jul 03, 2012 Ben Harrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war


Loved it. A very straight forward account of what took place. Ended with a little tug on my heart strings.
Mike Cook
Sep 03, 2014 Mike Cook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-ww2
Excellent insight into life on a PT boat.
Brian
Oct 03, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
WWII, Torpedo Boats
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