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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. Hardcover , First Edition U. More Details Original Title. Isoroku Yamamoto. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 27, Matt rated it liked it Shelves: world-war-ii , world-war-ii-pacific. With chills chasing each other up and down his spine, he gave…the attack signal, To, to, to , the first syllable of totsugekiseyo charge. Then he ordered the radioman to tap out the order for all pilots. Soon enough, all who were alive at the time will be gone, and all that will remain are their reminisces.
Nonetheless, even as it recedes, even as World War II starts to become a distant event, fought by others, rather than something that grandpa went through, Pearl Harbor maintains a hold on our thoughts and imaginations. Towering over our understanding of Pearl Harbor is Gordon W. The story behind the book is fascinating and sad. Prange researched Pearl Harbor for 37 years. He interviewed just about every important surviving participant, including Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, and Minoru Genda, the Japanese airman who planned the attacks.
Prange eventually wrote a manuscript that was 3, pages long. Life, however, is seldom large enough for our projects, our dreams. Prange died tragically of cancer at the age of 69, and it was left to his two assistants who became co-authors to forge a book out of Prange's prodigious work. The massive pages of text At Dawn We Slept is separated into three sections: planning, execution, and aftermath.
The first two sections are told mainly from the Japanese point of view. This is a result of Prange's original intent, which was to tell the Japanese side of the story. As such, he gives a great deal of attention to the major players: A photograph taken at the height of [Yamamoto's:] powers portray a man short even by Japanese standards five feet three inches , with broad shoulders accentuated by massive epaulets and a thick chest crowded with orders and medals.
But a strong, commanding face dominates and subdues the trappings. The angular jaw slants sharply to an emphatic chin. The lips are full, clean-cut, under a straight prominent nose Gray hair in an uncompromising crew cut surmounts the whole. It is the face of a man of action and a visionary, reflecting willpower and drive as well as sensitivity.
After briefly setting the context for the attack — Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and its threat from America — Prange plunges right into the conception and planning. The idea was the brainchild of Isoroku Yamamoto, who was educated in America and had great respect for the country. Yamamoto is often presented as a reluctant warrior, allegedly fearing that Japan had awakened "a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve.
He was a gambler and he wanted to play his ace. When given the opportunity, he advocated for it forcefully. While Yamamoto and Genda were working out the logistics, including torpedo tactics that would work in Pearl's shallow waters, the Japanese were simultaneously lulling America into a diplomatic sense of complacency.
Much of the anger that followed Pearl Harbor came from Japanese perfidy in promising peace while planning and ultimately executing a war. Thus, Prange gives a sympathetic portrait of Japanese Ambassador Nomura, an honest, honorable man, who was lied to by his own country. Instead, there were dozens of indicators that the Japanese were planning something, including information, days before the attack, that the Japanese were burning their codes.
The failure of the Pearl Harbor commanders - Kimmel and General Walter Short - was to conceive of a carrier attack and make adequate preparations. Instead of installing torpedo nets, sending out air patrols, and preparing to repel an attack, Kimmel and Short Short especially were obsessed with sabotage and fifth columnists.
The attack itself is relegated to only a couple chapters. The third and final section deals with the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. These chapters go into great detail about the numerous investigations: the Roberts Commission; the Naval Court of Inquiry; the Army Board Hearings; and finally, the Congressional Investigation. I found this a bit repetitious, as the earlier narrative already covered the mistakes that were made.
In this final section, the Japanese disappear completely. On a storytelling level, this prevents them from receiving a proper epilogue. Rather, Prange and his co-authors choose to follow Admiral Kimmel, and his efforts to redeem himself. It's pretty clear that Prange, through his personal contacts with the admiral, had a great deal of respect for him, despite his limitations: Yet one cannot wonder that Kimmel turned almost morbid. He had grown to eminence in an atmosphere of clear-cut quid pro quo.
If one obeyed the laws of God and man, studied diligently, denied oneself, worked hard, took one's place in the community, discharged one's duties, dealt justly with one's fellowman, one would prosper and reach the end of the road full of years and honor. Kimmel had done all of these things Prange's title implies that America was caught napping.
His ultimate lesson, though, made explicit in the book, was that the "unexpected can happen and often does. Before Pearl Harbor, there were hundreds of indicators of disaster, but no one person had all the information. Instead, all these different people had small pieces of the puzzle. At any point along the line, someone could have collected all or a sizable number of these intelligence scraps and created a picture. As the attack date neared, and warning lights started flashing, there came more and more chances to blow the Japanese plans: the Naval Department could have given Kimmel the Japanese diplomatic intercepts that showed the Japanese breaking off relations at p.
If any of these things or others had occurred, the attack might have been a disaster for the Japanese. Ignoring this reality, and trying to convict one person, is an exercise in ludicrousness.
The desire to find fault is psychologically rooted. Nevertheless, this is a classic account of a momentous day, written — more or less — by a man who towers over this particular subject in a way that very few historians can even contemplate. Shelves: history. As the description indicates, this is an exhaustive account of the Pearl Harbor attack. Much attention is paid to the issue of culpability as regards both the US naval and army commands as well as the administration of President Roosevelt itself.
Jan 03, David rated it it was amazing Shelves: own. This is excellent. It holds your interest despite being HUGE. He pulls together the whole story every every point of view. I got three big points from this book. I had always those clever Churchill had talked us into it. It was one of the top men in the Navy. The thinking was to fight Japan we have to cross an ocean. To fight Germany we have a base in England. If we concentrate on Japan first we might lose our base of England.
They feared having to take the stand and under oath having to reveal ULTRA out code breaking efforts I think that attitude has changed. It was going to bomb the sub pens and fuel storage. Nagumo canceled this wave. The fuel dumps would have burned for a month and forced the US fleet to re-locate to San Diego. This was the Japanese goal. Basically, Nagumo was still a believer in the battleship and had no faith in the tools of the aircraft carriers with which he had been entrusted.
Look Inside. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. As intense and absorbing as a suspense novel, At Dawn We Slept is the unparalleled and exhaustive account of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Through extensive research and interviews with American and Japanese leaders, Gordon W.
At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
By Gordon W. In Collaboration With Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. New York: Rawson, Wade. Gordon W. Prange's ''At Dawn We Slept,'' the result of half a lifetime of research, is a brilliant re-creation of the thoughts and personalities of the officers on both sides who fought that day, and it takes frank delight in the intellectual elegance of successful military planning.