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Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History Paperback – Jun 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill Book Co (Mm) (June 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070506795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070506794
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 4.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,797,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

Although few serious historians believe that President Roosevelt enticed the Japanese to attack at Pearl Harbor, the hoary accusation still retains some pop ularity among laypersons. In this se quel to At Dawn We Slept ( LJ 11/1/81), Prange's successors address them selves to the question of blame for the attack and fire a heavy broadside against the historical revisionists and their high-level plots. Its relentless log ic and exhaustive detail will satisfy scholars and others intrigued by the controversy. Casual readers will find that this historiographical drama lacks the narrative structure and gripping prose style of Prange's earlier works. Literary Guild alternate; Military Book Club main selection. Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Mr. Prange has been called the 'dean of Pearl Harbor historians.' The accolade -- with appropriate credit to his associates -- is deserved". -- The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Almost before the echoes of Japanese engines had died away, some individuals in the United States declared that the American people must accept a portion of the blame for Pearl Harbor. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Over the years, there has developed a "revisionist" group of historians who claimed FDR Knew in advance about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor and he did nothing to stop it. In this excellent book by Gordon Prange, this somewhat questionable viewpoint is thoroughly destroyed. One of the revisionists' claims is that the radio stations on the West Coast were able to track the Japanese fleet due to their radio signals. This is impossible, since the Japanese fleet NEVER broke radio silence, and, in fact, had their transmitters removed from thier radios all together. Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who led the attack, also said that "the force maintained the strictest radio silence throughout the cruise". Revisionists also believed, according to Prange, that if the Japanese task force would have been discovered, it would have turned back. Again, this is not true. The Japanese hoped to attain surprise, but if they were to have been discovered, they were prepared to fight all the way to Pearl Harbor to deliver their attack. What Prange attempts to achieve in this excellent book is who really was to blame? In this aspect, the War Department and the commanders, Kimmel and Short, are held responsible. Prange comes down hard on the War Department for failing to notify the commanders of the intercepted "bomb plot" message. This message, intercepted by "Magic", was transmitted to Japan by a Japanese spy. It broke Pearl Harbor into several sections, which, in effect, could be interpreted as a bombing grid. This information was not transmitted to Kimmel and Short, and could have proven invaluable. But the bulk of the blame appears to fall on Kimmel, Short, and the subordinate commanders.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of 'At Dawn We Slept' and 'December 7, 1941,' the first two books in Gordon W. Prange's Pearl Harbor trilogy. 'Verdict of History,' in which he shifts his focus from 'what happened' to 'why it happened,' however, is more troubling. Prange himself died before the publication of his trilogy. The work was finished by his two co-authors, Goldstein and Dillon, and so I'm tempted to hold them responsible for the things I find most disappointing in this volume.
Part of the problem is the title, which I hope Prange himself didn't have a hand in. As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn sagely pointed out in 'Liberty or Equality,' the verdict of *history* and the verdict of *historians* are two (often very different) things. I would hope a historian of Prange's skill would not be so presumptuous as to claim to speak for all history. The opinions of talented historians are valuable. But relatively few judgments can ever be final (Henry Clausen's Pearl Harbor book has this problem in spades).
The larger issue seems to have been the release, after Prange's death, of John Toland's 'Infamy,' which breathed new life into the so-called 'revisionist' theory that Franklin Roosevelt knew of and/or deliberately provoked the attack. According to their introduction to this volume, Goldstein and Dillon deliberately expanded and refocused Prange's work in order to respond more thoroughly to the 'revisionist anti-Roosevelt thesis,' which they reject.
They concede that Roosevelt 'might have been ill-advised' or insufficiently 'dynamic' in his leadership. But their central thesis is the mainstream one that Pearl Harbor was due to sub-standard naval and military intelligence systems and failures by the on-scene commanders.
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Format: Paperback
I approached this book thinking that it would yield insights into how the United States was so unprepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor. It seemed appropriate in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, to see if the United States had failed to learn from the past and condenmed itself to repeat it.
What I found between the covers of "Verdict of History" was a thick skulled and fatuous account that, in a nutshell, said "this stuff just happens, and no one is to blame". As anyone who read "The Valor of Ignorance" (Homer Lea), "Strategy", by Lidell hart, the writings of Thucydides (a successful ancient Greek General) or other books on military strategy and the nature of warfare realized, the Japanese attack on the US Pacific Fleet was predictable -- and in fact was first discussed in military and political circles as a likely event in 1905.
The author of "Verdict of History" impressed me only with his staggering and colossal stupidity: evidenced in the book by his complete lack of analytical skills, and his obtuse lakc of comprehension when it comes to strategy. In fact, I think the author is probably a candidate for most inept debator of the century: he asserts that Roosevelt's administration was not derelict in exercising its duty or responsibility to defend the United States, and then he provides hundreds of pages of text that indicates that they were (At Dawn, They Slept..and in the afternoon and evening as well, apparently). Mr. Prange seems to have done a great deal of research but learned absolutely nothing from it ... regrettably, that's par for the course with academic writers.
Throw this one into the rubbish can of history.
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