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Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture - "Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor," by James M. Scott

Duration: 
(00:52:32)

On April 19, 2017, James M. Scott delivered the Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture entitled “Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor.”

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 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.

A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, James M. Scott is the author of Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor, which was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist and was named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, The Christian Science Monitor and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His other works include The War Below and The Attack on the Liberty, which won the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award.

A light reception and book signing will take place at the Virginia Historical Society following the lecture.