What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY’s picks for the weekend include the World War II story Target Tokyo, sure to appeal to history buffs.
Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor by James M. Scott; W.W. Norton, 648 pp.; Non-fiction.
Barely five months after Pearl Harbor, Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s daring air raid on Tokyo provided the morale boost the United States needed so early after entering World War II.
The 16 B-25 bombers that took off on April 18, 1942, from the aircraft carrier Hornet bound for Japan did little real damage to the Japanese war effort, but they showed that American forces could reach the home islands and rattle the sense of security there. Their mission was to fly over Tokyo, bomb strategic targets, then fly to China, where they would be greeted by friendly troops allied against their Japanese invaders.
All but three of 80 crew members survived the mission, but none of the aircraft did. The pilots either ditched them off the coast of China or crashed as the crews bailed out. Eight crew members were captured by the Japanese, and three were executed. The rest eventually returned to the United States.
“The Doolittle mission promised a potent tonic to the frustration brought on by Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam, and now Bataan,” author James Scott writes in Target Tokyo. “But the recent disaster in the Philippines only magnified the enormous political risk of a mission grounded in the promise not of tactical gains but of positive headlines.”.
Generate headlines it did. Doolittle and his raiders were feted across the country. Even before the end of the war, the raid was part of the American legend. Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor, and Spencer Tracy played him in the 1944 movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. The morale-building value for a nation uncertain of how to take on a war on two fronts was immeasurable.
USA TODAY says ***1/2 out of four. “Adds depth to a story that many Americans think they already know.”.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King; Scribner, 448 pp.; Fiction.
A teenage boy and a convict about to get out of prison are both obsessed with a Salinger-like writer.
USA TODAY says **** out of four. “The new book is so good, being at least mildly obsessed with it is understandable.”.
Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs by Sally Mann; Little, Brown, 496 pp.; Non-fiction.
The photographer who courted controversy with nude photos of her children tells her life story, through words and pictures.
USA TODAY says ****. “Troubled and triumphant, Hold Still is a memoir that never shrinks from life’s damage as Mann keeps finding a way to steer us toward the light.”.
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight; Harper, 324 pp.; Fiction.
In this suburban thriller, a dead baby is found in an idyllic New Jersey town; by the author of Reconstructing Amelia.
USA TODAY says ***. “Suspenseful…Fluent in the text messages where the dramas of modern life play out.”.
The Rocks by Peter Nichols; Riverhead, 417 pp.; Fiction.
Mallorca-set novel focuses on Luc, a struggling screenwriter who is negotiating with the producer he hopes will make a movie from his latest screenplay.
USA TODAY says ***. “Amiably erudite, ingeniously structured.”.
Contributing reviewers: Ray Locker, Brian Truitt, Matt Damsker, Charles Finch, Kevin Nance.