James Scott

PRESENTING
War in America | Saturday, May 16, 11:50 - 12:40, Carolina Meeting Room B
Genre(s) History Nonfiction

James Scott is an award-winning writer and former reporter and investigative journalist with the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier.

Scott is a recipient of the McClatchy Company President’s Award and was named the 2003 Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. Wofford College honored Scott as its 2005 Young Alumnus of the Year. From 2006-2007 he was a Nieman Fellow for Journalism at Harvard University.

In addition to Target Tokyo, Scott is the author of The Attack on the Liberty,  which won the prestigious 2010 Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Excellence in Naval Literature, and The War Below, both with Simon & Schuster. He is at work on a fourth book on the February 1945 Battle for Manila.

Scott lives with his wife and two children in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Book Title: Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor

The dramatic account of one of America’s most celebrated— and controversial—military campaigns: the Doolittle Raid.

In December 1941, as American forces tallied the dead at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered with his senior military counselors to plan an ambitious counterstrike against the heart of the Japanese Empire: Tokyo. Four months later, on April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel the enemy’s factories, refineries, and dockyards and then escape to Free China. For Roosevelt, the raid was a propaganda victory, a potent salve to heal a wounded nation. In Japan, outraged over the deaths of innocent civilians—including children—military leaders launched an ill-fated attempt to seize Midway that would turn the tide of the war. But it was the Chinese who suffered the worst, victims of a retaliatory campaign by the Japanese Army that claimed an estimated 250,000 lives and saw families drowned in wells, entire towns burned, and communities devastated by bacteriological warfare.

At the center of this incredible story is Doolittle, the son of an Alaskan gold prospector, a former boxer, and brilliant engineer who earned his doctorate from MIT. Other fascinating characters populate this gripping narrative, including Chiang Kai-shek, Lieutenant General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and the feisty Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey Jr. Here, too, are indelible portraits of the young pilots, navigators, and bombardiers, many of them little more than teenagers, who raised their hands to volunteer for a mission from which few expected to return. Most of the bombers ran out of fuel and crashed. Captured raiders suffered torture and starvation in Japan’s notorious POW camps. Others faced a harrowing escape across China—via boat, rickshaw, and foot—with the Japanese Army in pursuit.

Based on scores of never-before-published records drawn from archives across four continents as well as new interviews with survivors, Target Tokyo is World War II history of the highest order: a harrowing adventure story that also serves as a pivotal reexamination of one of America’s most daring military operations.