The date is April 18, 1942, four months after Pearl Harbor. You are a US Army Air Corps crew that volunteered for a secret mission to launch your bomber off a carrier, 400 miles from Japan, bomb Japan and land in friendly China. Although no fully-loaded bomber had ever launched off the short deck of a carrier, your mission leader, Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, assures you it can be done. However, early in the morning of April 18, the US ships are spotted by a Japanese patrol boat 600 miles off the coast of Japan that radios in your position. There is no way your plane can carry enough fuel to go the additional 200 miles, launch off the deck of the carrier, and make it to your destination, but you go anyway. Plus, there is the little issue of the entire Japanese air force, fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns waiting for you. But you go anyway!
Crew 8, piloted by Capt. Edward J. "Ski" York, had an additional problem: their plane had an excessive fuel burn - a problem that was well known to the Army but was inexplicably not corrected. Capt. York made a decision after successfully launching and bombing Japan to go to Vladivostok in the USSR because it was much closer and their bomber could make it to Vladivostok before it ran out of gas and plunged into the sea. York had direct orders to not land in the Soviet Union but defied them to save his crew. But, a question that has lingered for 75 years is why did the Army Air Corps not fix their bomber or give them a different bomber - they had several backups. This book explores this topic.
After landing in Vladivostok in the Soviet Union, the Soviets did not treat the Americans as enemies - they were allies in the fight against Germany hence "The Enemy of My Enemy" - but while the US was at war with Japan, the Soviets weren't and didn't want to be. The Soviets were totally consumed with Germany on their western front and didn't want to start a second front with Japan. The Soviets knew that if they released the Doolittle Raiders to Japan, that would infuriate the US and probably end the US's military equipment support of the Soviet Union (the Lendlease Program) but if they released the Raiders to the US, that would infuriate Japan and very possibly start a war with Japan. The Soviets had only one viable option: intern the Americans until the situation was less volatile. The crew was interned in the USSR for 14 months. The history books tell us the crew escaped into Iran and freedom. But, history books are often wrong as you will see. This book explores the role of the NKVD (the predecessor to the KGB) in the internment and eventual "escape" of the Americans.
This is the fictionalized story of Crew 8 and their fantastic journey from the Pacific Ocean to Japan to the USSR to Iran and back to the US.