Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About

World War II Database

Pearl; December 7, 1941

ISBN-10: 1612009387
ISBN-13: 9781612009384
Review Date:

For the sake of full disclosure, I received this book as a gift from the publisher with the understanding I would review it. This is not an unusual arrangement and there was no obligation for me to say that I liked it; but since there was no obligation either way, I am pleased to say that I did like it.

Pearl is the latest in a string of books probing the details and background of the Pearl Harbor Attack. When Gordon Prange, et al. published At Dawn We Slept in 1981, it was quickly acclaimed as the definitive book on the event. The many books that followed each tried to one-up Prange and while Pearl is the latest, it also found a few ways to surpass Prange with a deeper dive into the myriad of archives. Pearl's author, Daniel Allen Butler, is a well-credentialed author and maritime historian who quite obviously compiled a vast amount of research material in his preparation for this book. He then made every effort to share as much of it as he could in these pages.

The book chronicles the personalities and political climates within both Japan and the United States in the years leading up to World War II, highlighting the ways each country had misjudged the other. There is a particularly good chapter on United States code-breaking efforts that set the stage well for how cryptoanalysis, and the American handling of it, played into the Pearl Harbor intelligence triumphs and breakdowns. Butler's description of the attack itself was extremely detailed and complete. After building a very clear picture of both the Japanese and American naval fleets and the men behind them, Butler followed them beyond Pearl Harbor to thoroughly describe the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Leyte Gulf, thus finishing the story of the rise and fall of Japanese naval might.

I found this book to be extremely informative on a subject I am very interested in and on that basis alone I would highly recommend it; but I would offer a few cautions too. Each and every sentence was so packed with detailed information that, of necessity, the sentence structures were very complicated and that was a little difficult to get used to. I was also distracted slightly by a couple of non-consequential factual errors and a few misapplied nautical terms. I was also a little disappointed to read the author took the position that one Japanese midget submarine launched torpedoes at Battleship Row when, in my view, the body of evidence supporting this is merely suggestive at best. But with all of that being said, I still found this book to be an important work on the topic and one I suspect I will keep handy for referencing at several points in the future.

Back to Main | Back to Book Reviews Index

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments


1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

A review copy or review sample of this product was provided by the publisher or vendor to WW2DB; opinions expressed in this review are not influenced by this fact.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB
More on Pearl; December 7, 1941
Related People:
» Fuchida, Mitsuo
» Genda, Minoru
» Hull, Cordell
» Kidd, Isaac
» Kimmel, Husband
» Knox, Frank
» Kurusu, Saburo
» Marshall, George
» Nagumo, Chuichi
» Nomura, Kichisaburo
» Rochefort, Joseph
» Short, Walter
» Stark, Harold
» Welch, George
» Yamamoto, Isoroku

Related Events:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands

Affiliated Link:
» Pearl; December 7, 1941
Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!