Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • For readers of Unbroken comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the author of A Higher Call.

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.

Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?

Praise for Devotion

“Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account.”USA Today

“An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting.”Los Angeles Times

“[A] must-read.”New York Post


“A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane—when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again.”—Associated Press

“A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget.”The Washington Times

“My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way.”—President George H. W. Bush

“This is aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake

“Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice

“At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book.”—Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553398410
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/27/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Calland the critically acclaimed Devotion. Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Adam chronicles the stories of American veterans with his trademark fusion of intense human drama and close-up military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Adam has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American serviceman.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "Devotion"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Adam Makos.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss the evolution of the friendship between Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown. What surprised you? How did individual growth in each man change the shape of their relationship with one another?

2. Who would you cast to play each character in a film adaptation of Devotion? Why?

3. How do you think Tom and Jesse’s story would have been different if it took place in the present?

4. The role of faith is especially important in the lives of Jesse and Charlie. Even John "Red" Parkinson credits Charlie with leading him to his faith in God in chapter 35. What effect do faith and hope have during times of war? How do attitude and mindset contribute to one's ability to persevere in times of hardship?

5. Though Tom and Jesse are the most central figures in the book, Devotion features a wide cast of colorful characters who take us back in time and bring their stories to life. Which secondary character did you identify most with, and why?

6. Discuss the dynamic relationship between the Navy and the Marines throughout the book. How does it change from beginning to end? What stays the same?

7. In chapter 39, “Pilot Herb Sergeant flew the recon mission that confirmed Jesse’s death. He says it was ‘the saddest flight’ he ever made.” What insight does this give us into their squadron? How does this defy the time in which this story takes place?

8. Discuss the scene in which the men meet Elizabeth Taylor. How would things have been different if they were meeting a celebrity in the present?

9. How did technological advances for the military affect the story? In your opinion, what was the most exciting development? Which piece of our modern technology do you think would have had the biggest benefit back then?

10. Discuss the aftermath of coming home for Tom, being praised as a hero while mourning the loss of a dear friend. In what ways did he continue to honor Jesse’s legacy?

Customer Reviews

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Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book ! Tom passed away at the age of 93 as I was reading it. May God bless all of those who are depicted in this book...
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book by Adam Makos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like nonfiction and are interested in the Korean War this is the book for you. It is the personal element in the way this book was written that really keeps your attention. If after reading this book you cannot appreciate what our service men and women do for each one of us then maybe it's time for you to live in a third world country.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled to receive an ARC copy of this extraordinary history from Transport Specialties, Int'l, Ballantine Bantam Dell, and Adam Makos on September 29, 2015 as a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you all so much for sharing you work with me. What a fascinating history! This was a book I was literally not able to put down until the end. Adam Makos follows the crew and pilots of the USS Leyte, an aircraft carrier deployed to Korea in the early days of the Korean War. The 'Forgotten' War. as we have come to call it, occurred between June 25, 1950 and July 27, 1953. The primary characters of this great story are Lt. Tom Hudner, a white New England boy with a background of sailing and golf with the privileged few, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecroppers' son from the great state of Mississippi. It certainly doesn't end there. The support and, yes, devotion, of the men of the USS Leyte and the crews of Fighter Squadron 32 is an amazing thing, one we as Americans divided need to observe and consider. The love and support from 'home' is also a thing to be admired. This book goes a long way toward an accurate and authentic picture of the Korean Conflict. A United Nations action, most of the major allied countries had troops and equipment dedicated to support the democratic South Koreans, in a battle which should have been limited to south verses north Koreans - until China got involved. Please read this book. Let's don't let this happen, again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Devotion is a must-read, not only for history buffs, but for the American people in general--it's time that our country pays its respects to The Forgotten War. This book is as heartwarming as it is educational, thanks to the compelling storytelling of Makos. This book should be in every school across the country!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, fast read that had me in tears at the end. Just as good as Unbroken if not better.
ItalianNana More than 1 year ago
What a tremendous read- easily one of the best books of the last decade, and I was hesistant to pick it up because of the topic. I don't know much about Korea, nor do I gravitate towards stories based on that topic, so this read was eye opening. This book follows the Navy airmen who flew air support, and the Marines on the ground (living through hell), and specific stories interwoven. I really recommend it and hope that others give it a chance like I did- you won't regret it!
Frank-and-Jeanie More than 1 year ago
This is easily the best book I’ve read in 2015, and I expect it to beat most of 2016’s releases as well. I had read Makos’ Higher Call and really enjoyed it, as did my wife, and we have eagerly been awaiting his next story. He did not disappoint. Pro’s for this book- Makos has an easy to read, and visualize, writing style. I literally have a movie running in my head with dialogue, set scenes, etc.. Another is that there are photos and maps throughout the book, not just in the two photo sections. It’s so unique to see a photo in front of you while reading about that character. In terms of the story itself- this book truly had it all- amazing flight sequences, heroic Marines in fighting scenes, a love story between Jesse and his wife- it appealed to my wife and I equally. And the fact that it’s a true story just makes it all the more incredible, and it sticks with you for hours after putting it down. It reads like it should be fiction but it is up by thousands of hours of interviews and documentation. And the icing on the cake for me- seeing Jesse’s last letter to Daisy in the back. You can’t read it without getting emotional. Con’s for this book- I wish the photo captions were larger font and the paper was white instead of cream. The cream doesn’t set the photos off as well as white would have. I really have nothing to say about the content- these men (and woman) were amazing heroes and their story was shared brilliantly.
Holly More than 1 year ago
Devotion is the true story of Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander who was part of the country club scene and Ensign Jesse Brown, a black sharecropper's son from Mississippi. They may have been worlds apart but they were good friends in a time that was frowned upon. During the Korean War, they flow in several missions risking their lives only to have one mission that would change their life and all those who loved them forever. The book also follows other co-workers and Marines that were part of the Korean War and blended them all so well that it made the book what it is, it's not just Tom & Jesse's story but all the ones that they had a hand in their short career together. I like reading about history just to get a sense if we are not careful, we could very well be repeating what happened in the last 100 years. I had family members being in the military during that time and I could only imagine what they went through and this book brought a whole new understanding of what this war was like for them. Thank You to Adam Makos for telling Tom Hudner's and Jesse Brown's story and all those who served during the Korean War. I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for a honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story