Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 29 Jan 2014
For the Americans, the Christmas holiday season in 1941 was rather different than the previous few, for that the United States had finally joined in the war. Author Stanley Weintraub focused his Pearl Harbor Christmas on the weeks prior to and after this culturally important western holiday, covering the happenings in the United States, and to a limited degree, around the world. He made a decent attempt at weaving together events around the Dec 1941 timeframe into a cohesive story. Although not always successful, he nevertheless asserted the notion that WW2 was truly a world war, for that the Japanese attack on Hong Kong and Wake Atoll affected the mindset of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in Washington DC, which in turn affected their decision-making process for the war aims for the immediate future. For the historian in me, I must say that there was very little new information in this book; the author's goal, as I saw it, was to present existing information from a different perspective (ie. that they all happened roughly in the month of Dec 1941), thus re-interpreting already-existing information (both historical facts and, unfortunately, inaccurate myths) served his needs for this project.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Malcolm Hillgartner did fine with his reading, which was clear and with good pace. I had enjoyed works by other readers with better voice acting than that of Hillgartner's, but that did not detract from this audio book.
Pearl Harbor Christmas had its moments and the book was not without any value, but overall I must say that there are many other better books on the topic of Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, the Pearl Harbor attack, the Wake Atoll invasion, and the various topics regarding the early days of the Pacific War.
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944