The America we live in today was born, not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers, and midget submarines suddenly and savagely attacked the United States, killing 2,403 men—and forced America’s entry into World War II. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor, and president as they engineer, fight, and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history.
Beginning in 1914, bestselling author Craig Nelson maps the road to war, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, attended the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Writing with vivid intimacy, Nelson traces Japan’s leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, which culminates in their scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged. Within seconds, the country would never be the same.
Backed by a research team’s five years of work, as well as Nelson’s thorough re-examination of the original evidence assembled by federal investigators, this page-turning and definitive work “weaves archival research, interviews, and personal experiences from both sides into a blow-by-blow narrative of destruction liberally sprinkled with individual heroism, bizarre escapes, and equally bizarre tragedies” (Kirkus Reviews). Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy, and heroism of the attack in stunning detail, and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy’s unforeseen and resonant consequences that linger even today.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface: Dreadnoughts and Holystones 1
Part I The Roads to War
Chapter 1 Conceiving the Inconceivable 21
Chapter 2 A Sinister Wind 67
Chapter 3 Autumn 1941 96
Chapter 4 November 128
Chapter 5 December 6 173
Part II Strike!
Chapter 6 From the Air 213
Chapter 7 Pearl Harbor 246
Chapter 8 Describing the Indescribable 292
Chapter 9 Infamy 334
Chapter 10 Resurrection 354
Part III Victory
Chapter 11 Vengeance 367
Chapter 12 Triumph 392
Chapter 13 Legacy 413
Appendix 1 Judgment and Controversy 437
Appendix 2 The Medal of Honor 455
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nelson makes errors as to relatively minor details such as referring to William Leahy as Fleet Admiral in 1940 without mentioning that Leahy was Governor of Puerto Rico at the time. He also refers to the Department of War building battleships. But then he makes a major, unforced error as to the Pacific war by saying that Japan invading Malaya and Indonesia on 23 September 1940. In light of this ignorance of major events, it is difficult to credit what Nelson has to say about Pearl Harbor.