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Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Craig Nelson(Author)

    Book details


On 7 December 1941, an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers and midget submarines launched a surprise attack on the United States, killing 2,403 people and forcing America's entry into the Second World War. 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.

In vivid prose Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning in 1914 with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt, the man who would become president, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He also traces Japan's leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, culminating in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged.

The result is a thrilling historical drama on the grandest scale. 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 consequences that resonate even today.

In this brilliant mix of history and emotion, Craig Nelson has managed to combine grueling research with masterful reporting in order to capture the long and the short, the overview and the detail, of that infamous day in a paradisal land of orchids and jacaranda. It has taken seventy-five years, but now, finally, the Pearl Harbor book has been written (Jim deFilippi, author of MULES OF MONTE CASSINO and MURKA)With lively prose and many astute insights, Nelson chronicles the Japanese-American political jockeying before moving on to the action, where he does not disappoint. Battle descriptions are socially acceptable historical porn, so readers' eyes will be glued to the page as Nelson 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)Craig Nelson has completely retold the epic story of Pearl Harbor. Using his skills as a reporter and a literary stylist, he not only deftly paints the fleeting image - an enemy pilot waving as he flies by, a cup of coffee trembling on a table while outside a war commences - but a world roiled in titanic struggle ... This book has a thousand poignant and unforgettable moments. You'll read Pearl Harbor and want to pass it to a friend (Doug Stanton, author of HORSE SOLDIERS and IN HARM'S WAY)

2.5 (3442)
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Book details

  • PDF | 544 pages
  • Craig Nelson(Author)
  • W&N; 1st Edition edition (10 Nov. 2016)
  • English
  • 10
  • History

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Review Text

  • By Argyris Periferakis on 30 March 2017

    The book is very detailed and very thoroughly researched, with a lot of detail on facts and personal accounts. However, only one third of the book is dedicated to the description of the actual attack at Pearl Harbor. Although both the prelude to Japanses entry into WWII and the aftermath of the attack are equally interesting the take up a disproportionate part of the book. More appropriately the book should have a more general title.Also, I find it a bit irritating that the author chooses to extol the virtues of the USA quite many times. It is, after all, a historical account and not a pro-USA pamphlet.

  • By MMHS on 27 November 2016

    Craig Nelson provides an expansive book that tells the often told story of the Pearl Harbor attack. It’s been a while since I’ve read Prange’s standard on this subject “At Dawn We Slept” so I have little to compare, however I found this a comprehensive account with some interesting later chapters covering how some of the characters fared in later life and the modern day Japanese and American perspective.Divided into three parts it’s a substantial read at 500 plus pages but does flow at quite a pace. Part one covers Japanese-U.S. relations, the growing tension in the Pacific, and Japanese war planning. Part two covers the attack itself including midget submarines. Part three covers the aftermath of the attacks, rescue efforts, salvage efforts, as well as a whistle stop tour of the Pacific campaign to the dropping of the atomic bomb.I’d recommend this for anyone looking for a present day view of the attack it’s ramifications both at the time and also to the present day.I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

  • By Bampot7062 on 28 April 2017

    Exactly what Mr Dupont said. Sloppy and badly researched, in places entirely misleading. A waste of money.

  • By Mr Dupont on 18 February 2017

    In the spirit of warding off the evil of badly researched and lazy writing, broadcasting et al I refer the reader to this review by Allan Mallinson in the Spectator magazine.'....on 7 December 1941, without declaration of war, 350 Japanese carrier-borne aircraft struck at the US Pacific Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ringing words, ‘a date that will live in infamy’. For the 75th anniversary, Craig Nelson, a New York Times journalist, has, says his publisher, produced ‘a definitive account’.I disagree. Indeed, if this book were a motor car (or ‘automobile’, for it is a re-print of the US edition, with American usage and spelling), it would have to be recalled for extensive safety modifications and replacement parts. The errors, mis-understandings and omissions are markedly misleading, sowing doubt about the accuracy of the admittedly ‘gripping’ (publisher’s words again) account of the actual attack, and undermining the credibility of the analysis of cause and effect.Some of the technical errors are trivial enough, though indicative — warships ‘cabling’ each other, for example, in the age of wireless telegraphy. Others are more egregious. In the 1930s, writes Nelson, the Japanese developed a ‘two-foot-long, oxygen-powered torpedo that could travel 24 miles and was twice as effective in speed, in distance, in targeting and explosive power as anything American-made’. Just how does the author suppose that torpedo technology could have reached such a degree of miniaturisation, especially of explosive power, even now, let alone then?What he is almost certainly referring to is the ‘Long Lance’, which had a diameter of two feet and a length of nine metres (pretty evident in the name) and weighed nearly three tons. But it could not be air-launched, for besides the payload, the oxygen propellant was too unstable. Its range of 24 miles, in the days of unguided torpedoes, gave it no advantage except in a game of fire and hope; there was no superiority in ‘targeting’. All this might be passed over as mere detail, except that this is a ‘definitive book about the boldest carrier air strike in history’.Nelson is equally at sea when it comes to the genesis of the big ships at the heart of the story: the dreadnoughts. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5 (when Moscow was the Russian capital, he believes), ‘Togo [the Japanese naval C-in-C] was the world’s only admiral with dreadnought experience in an actual engagement’. But the first dreadnought was not launched until 1906 — by Britain, and eponymously. Indeed, the battle of Tsushima, Togo’s humiliation of the Russian Baltic fleet after it had steamed halfway round the world, was really the dreadnought’s moment of conception — its lessons were behind the whole theory of naval warfare which led Britain and Germany to Jutland in 1916 (not mentioned), and which persisted in the minds of the Japanese in the 1930s. Nelson ascribes the faith the Japanese put in the ‘decisive battle’ to the US naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan, but fails even to mention Japan’s own Mahan, Sato Tetsutaro.An instinct for the realities of war should also have told him that a carrier-borne force of about 50 bi-planes bombing Shanghai in a punitive raid in 1932 could not have killed ‘hundreds of thousands’, when at Dresden in 1945 1,300 US and British medium and heavy bombers killed ‘only’ (as Unity Mitford might have said) 25,000.Nelson even confuses his indexer into thinking that there was an earlier Russo-Japanese war, in 1853, yet omits to mention the fighting along the border of Manchuria in 1939, in which the Japanese admitted to losses of 20,000, but which were possibly three times that number — fighting which influenced their decision to turn south in 1940.Nelson thinks the Germans continued to have colonial possessions in Asia after Versailles, contributing to Japan’s sense of being surrounded, and describes Oahu (in effect Pearl Harbor) as ‘America’s most significant post-Great War foreign [sic] base’. A good copy editor should have picked that up, as well as, inter alia, that a howitzer is not an item of boy’s clothing, nor that having spent decades in Washington, Cordell Hull, the secretary of state, had developed ‘the hair of an éminence grise’.What is not a careless misprint, however, for it is central to Nelson’s narrative of 1940, is that on 23 September 1940, Japanese troops invaded Malaya, French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, so that ‘Japan now controlled British Malaya’s acres of rubber plantations, French Indochina’s sinuous veins of tin and, most important, the Dutch East Indies’ bounteous cache of oil’. If only the British army in Malaya had indeed had such delaying power: 17 months until the fall of Singapore, rather than, in reality, barely nine weeks. The Japanese attack on Malaya, for obvious reasons, was almost simultaneous with the attack on Pearl Harbor, and their attack on the Dutch East Indies came a month later. What does the author suppose was happening between London and Washington during the time that Britain’s key colony was supposed to be in Japanese hands?All this is a pity, to say the least, for if — if — Nelson is accurate in his account of the confusion, dereliction or misjudgment among politicians and senior officers before Pearl Harbor, or the ducking and diving afterwards, then the book has some title to the publisher’s claims. But its defects illustrate the problem of anniversaries — seen closer to home in the recent plethora of books on Waterloo and the Somme: the 'visiting author'.


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