• Enterprise

  • America’s Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II
  • By: Barrett Tillman
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 14-02-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 5 out of 5 stars 5.0 (2 ratings)


Offering a naval history of the entire Pacific Theater in World War II through the lens of its most famous ship, this is the epic and heroic story of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and of the men who fought and died on her from Pearl Harbor to the end of the conflict.
Award-winning author Barrett Tillman has been called “the man who owns naval aviation history,” and Enterprise is the work he was born to write: the first complete story of “The Big E”, incorporating oral histories and the author’s own interviews with the last surviving veterans who served on her through the major battles of the Pacific war.
America’s most decorated warship of World War II, Enterprise was constantly engaged against the Japanese Empire, earning the title “the fightingest ship” in the navy. 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. This is the definitive history of the ship whose aviators claimed 911 enemy aircraft and 71 ships, a saga of seemingly ceaseless heroism.
Barrett Tillaman is a widely recognized expert on air warfare in World War II and the author of more than 40 nonfiction and fiction books on military topics. He has received six awards for history and literature, including the Admiral Arthur Radford Award. He lives in Mesa, Arizona.
©2012 Barrett Tillman (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic reviews

“Military historian Tillman documents life and death aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise…Throughout the seagoing drama, Tillman fires off successive salvos of descriptive battle action, the result of exhaustive research.” ( Publishers Weekly)
“Veteran military historian Tillman comprehensively delineates the history of the legendary USS Enterprise…. A commendable history of a significant ship that also commemorates the economic might unleashed to supply the fighters in WWII.” ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Aser Tolentino on 18-09-12

Great Bio of a Truly Remarkable Ship

The author has assembled  a wonderfully detailed account of the life of one of the greatest warships in all recorded history. Surely there are not many other ships that can place themselves at or near so many of the key junctions in the stream of human events.From its almost being at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, to its launching aircraft that struck decisive blows at Midway and the Philippine Sea, to its role as the only functional carrier in the South Pacific for much of the later part of 1942, this book recounts the contributions made by the ship and her crew, as well as the sacrifices required of them.
Though the narration is very welll done, it bears mentioning that this is not a novel. It is a narrative history that on occasion takes on the meticulous tone of an after action report, letting you know what was going on where with sufficient precision to leave you potentially lost in the details. This can be particularly true when discussing flight operations involving numerous air crews,  though that specific circumstance is hardly something one can blame on the author or narrator.
All throughout, one will find interesting details about life on the carrier, night fighter doctrine and tactics, the different command mentalities of the ship's various captains, and the difficulties endured by those who fought the war from the decks of flattops and the cockpits of the planes that flew from them. Anyone with an interest in World War II should find much to interest them here. A more general knowledge of the Pacific War going  into this story might be helpful, as well as  basic knowledge of the region's geography.
I myself was most intrigued by coverage of the ship's early life, from its birth as part of FDR's economic recovery efforts to its peacetime cruises leading up to Pearl Harbor, as well as the heartbreaking details of its final days. This truly is an engrossing story of a good ship's life and times.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 18-03-13

Outstanding story

Would you consider the audio edition of Enterprise to be better than the print version?

I'm sure the print version has loads of pictures -- I missed having these to look through.

What other book might you compare Enterprise to and why?

There's plenty of books I have read about ships and their histories - "The Terrible Hours" about the USS Squalus, "Assault on the Liberty", "Duel between the Ironclads," to name but a few. There are several other books about aircraft and their crews - "Dauntless Helldivers", "Fork-Tailed Devil", "Lady be Goode", "A Missing Plane." I'm ignoring the books that covered entire campaigns. Probably some others that I'm forgetting.

Which character – as performed by Tom Weiner – was your favorite?

The character of "Bulk Head", though brief, was memorable. There were plenty of other characters as well, but I can't name them. (I listened to the book several months ago.)

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I thought I knew a lot of the history of the ship & crew and wanted to fill in the blanks. I was vastly mistaken -- there was a ton that I did not know.

Any additional comments?

Excellent book. If there is a way to add digital pictures to the recording, this would vatly increase the overall listening experience.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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