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A Date Which Will Live: Pearl Harbor in American Memory (American Encounters/Global Interactions)

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ISBN-13: 978-0822332060
ISBN-10: 082233206X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“‘Remember Pearl Harbor.’ Every radio program during my World War II childhood ended with that slogan. Emily S. Rosenberg has written a splendid history of the contested memories of Pearl Harbor over the past sixty years, memories that frame American opinions of everything from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's war against the Axis to President George W. Bush's war against the axis of evil.”
(James M. McPherson, author of Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg)

“Emily S. Rosenberg has given us a fine, concise study of war, memory, and mythmaking in America that will prove equally appealing to teachers, students, and general readers.”
(John W. Dower, author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II)

“To trace and analyze the changing images of the Pearl Harbor attack held by generations of Americans is a daunting task, requiring the skills of a seasoned cultural and social historian. Emily S. Rosenberg superbly fits the requirements. This is the best, perhaps the only, study of the Pearl Harbor icon.”
(Akira Iriye, author of Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War)

"Shortly after the fiftieth-anniversary ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial in December 1991, I viewed this sacred American relic using a snorkel and mask in the waters of Pearl Harbor. The battleship still endures, bleeding drops of oil with regularity, attracting the curious and the reverent, anchoring in a site the command ‘Remember Pearl Harbor.’ But what are we asked to remember? Emily S. Rosenberg's welcome book is about the history of the use of the powerful symbol of ‘Pearl Harbor,’ a symbol as enduring and haunting as the USS Arizona itself."
(Edward T. Linenthal, author of Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields)

"A Date Which Will Live makes a valuable contribution to understanding how World War II is perceived in American cultural memory. The author . . . is judicious in her survey of viewpoints on Pearl Harbor."
(Michael C.C. Adams Journal of Military History)

"No one familiar with Rosenberg's work will be surprised to learn that A Date Which Will Live is both high-quality scholarship and a pleasure to read. The strengths of Rosenberg's earlier books and articles are present here: attentiveness to ambiguity and nuance, a beguiling prose style, and-most important-a capacity to break down the barriers between diplomatic and cultural history so thoroughly that one often forgets the obdurateness with which those fields have been segregated until recently. . . . A Date Which Will Live is a major achievement that fully measures up to the standards we have come to expect from this scholar."
(Seth Jacobs Reviews in American History)

"A Date Which Will Live is a scholarly, well-documented, comprehensive analysis of the significance of Pearl Harbor to Americans. It provides a fine review of the numerous attitudes and interpretations that a nation may have as regards a shaping event in its history."
(Armand Hage Journal of Pacific History)

"[Rosenberg] skillfully illuminates the intersection between memory and history. . . . A Date Which Will Live brims with insight, sharp analysis, and a keen sense of irony. It marks a welcome addition to an increasingly vibrant genre of cultural history."
(Robert J. McMahon Western Historical Quarterly)

"A Date Which Will Live is a penetrating and elegant work of cultural and social history that challenges the contrived distinctions that are frequently drawn between ‘high’ and ‘low’ history, or between so-called ‘rational’ history and 'nostalgic’ myth. Instead, it explores the intertextuality that exists between cultural memory, historical production, media representation, and public political discourse, and the intense political contests that lie behind the articulation of national narratives. . . . In sum, this is an excellent book that makes a genuine contribution to the growing literature on the national myths and narratives that lie at the centre of American identity and political discourse."
(Richard Jackson Journal of American Studies)

"Some books are meant for a popular audience, some for an audience of academic specialists. This book is meant for both. The subject of memory as a field of historical exploration is new enough that specialists wishing to get their feet wet will find this a useful, even penetrating volume. Yet the author and her publisher are clearly hoping to reach the wider audience of readers who are caught up in efforts to harness the meaning of Pearl Harbor to contemporary events. These readers, too, could do no better than to start with this interesting and lively volume."
(Michael J. Hogan American Historical Review)

About the Author

Emily S. Rosenberg is DeWitt Wallace Professor of History at Macalester College. She is the author of Financial Missionaries to the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy, 1900–1930 (also published by Duke University Press) and Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890–1945. She is coauthor of In Our Times: America since World War II and Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Encounters/Global Interactions
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082233206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822332060
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on May 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Date Which Will Live" is both a stimulating and accessible history of how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has been remembered and a sterling example of the employment of the theory of memory in history and postmodern analysis. The author, now a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, had fashioned a compelling narrative of how Americans have related to the experience of Pearl Harbor in the latter half of the twentieth century. She divides her narrative into two parts, the first dealing with the memory of the experience from December 7, 1941, until the end of the cold war. Her second part discusses the difficult battles over recollections of the World War II experience that took place in the 1990s, largely at the time of their fiftieth anniversaries.

Twin themes inform this narrative. The first is one of "infamy," the immediate reaction to the attack in 1941--President Franklin D. Roosevelt used that terminology in announcing the attack to the American public--and it has been a critical component of the memory of the event ever since. This has been a dominant strain in the recollection, and both popular and scholarly accounts point to duplicity on the part of the Japanese to undertake a surprise attack, demolish the American Pacific fleet, and conquer the bulk of the Asian-Pacific region. Rosenberg does an outstanding job of tracing the charges and recriminations on both sides over who was responsible for the war, and who was rthe bad actor both in causing and in conducting it.

A second theme is one of "deceit," not so much on the part of the Japanese although it is sometimes invoked there as well but on the part of FDR and other key strategists in the U.S. government who sought to maneuver the U.S. into a war with Hitler's Germany.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Palermo on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for an American History class, and was very impressed by the writing. It's actually fairly interesting to read, and the points made throughout make a lot of sense. The writing style is very academic, but still easy to follow. If you like to read about history, you should enjoy this.
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