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Days of Infamy: Macarthur, Roosevelt, Churchill-The Shocking Truth Revealed : How Their Secret Deals and Strategic Blunders Caused Disasters at Pear Hardcover – December, 1994

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; First edition (December 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671769855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671769857
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,685,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For 50 years, Adm. Husband Kimmel and Gen. Walter Short have been blamed for the unpreparedness that led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. British historian Costello (Ten Days to Destiny), working from recently declassified documents, reveals that the two Hawaii commanders were denied information that could have saved the Pacific Fleet battleships and the lives of thousands of U.S. servicemen. A far more heinous command failure, in his view, was that Gen. Douglas MacArthur allowed his air force in the Philippines to be destroyed on the ground 10 hours after the Pearl Harbor debacle; his refusal to launch a preemptive strike against Japanese airbases as ordered doomed the defense of the Philippines before it could begin. MacArthur's inaction also contributed, the author contends, to the loss of Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies to the Japanese, because his bombers were the linchpin of a secret U.S. pact to defend British and Dutch territories in the Far East. Unlike Kimmel and Short, who had to retire in disgrace, MacArthur was never the subject of a formal inquiry. Although Costello clearly defines MacArthur's mistakes, his treatment of "the secret deals and strategic blunders" of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill is less forthcoming. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Historian Costello (Ten Days to Destiny, LJ 7/91) here takes on the tangled web of intrigue, personalities, and politics surrounding of the tragic events at Pearl Harbor and the loss of the Philippines in 1941-42. Costello relates a litany of miscalculations and outright manipulation that cost the United States and Britain dearly. In his indictment of Churchill, MacArthur, and Roosevelt, he shows expert command of recently declassified documents and primary source material. Costello reveals that it was the loss of U.S. airpower in the Philippines, not the loss of U.S. warships at Pearl Harbor, that facilitated Japanese victories in the Pacific. (For a complementary view, see William Bartsch's Doomed at the Start: American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-1942, LJ 4/1/92.) A well-researched, convincing, and thought-provoking study; recommended for general collections and those with large diplomatic/military history holdings.
Thomas G. Anton, Field Museum, Chicago
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are few events that prompt as much spontaneous discussions regarding the possibility of conspiracy and guilty prior knowledge as those involving the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Indeed, there are a whole catalogue of titles dealing with the possibilities, the associated issues, and with the substance of arguments surrounding all of the varied possibilities, which seem to have endless permutations and countless variations. So too here in British author John Costello's excellent exposition, the fascinating world of this "what did the President know, and when did he know it" whodunit is deftly explored by a virtual master of the genre. Also the author of such notable titles as "The Pacific War" and "And I was There", Costello addresses himself to a welter of issues and conditions that paint an indelible picture of what he conceives to be the actual circumstances surrounding the Japanese attack.
Indeed, the author not only asks a number of interesting rhetorical questions regarding the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor itself, but also delves into the shocking related attack on the American forces in the Philippines later the same day. Why, he asks, given his being warned so far in advance, did General Douglas MacArthur allow the Japanese forces to destroy the greatest single concentration of American air power in the Pacific region some nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor? And, in answering the question by way of detailing the complex series of miscommunications and fumbles surrounding MacArthur's mishandling of the circumstances, the author also raises the issue of MacArthur's unlikely escape from the blame game following in the aftermath of the attacks.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Livshutz on January 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Days of Infamy is a masterpiece. As a serious research book, it is incomparable. Just about every assertion is thoroughly documented with American, British, Japanese, German and even some Dutch and Soviet sources. John Costello also thoroughly comments on the major previous efforts to explain the surprises at the start of Pacific War. He clearly and thoroughly points out what the previous investigations have gotten right or wrong. Mostly, they have narrowly focused on just the Pearl Harbor attack, and the communications between the White House, Departments of Army and Navy in Washington, and Hawaiian Army and Navy commanders. This book takes the reader to all the participants, and especially the British, who had an enormous but unpublicized influence on American plans before the war.
As a popular historical book, Days of Infamy is well-written and engages the reader very well. Since John Costello is a journalist and a TV producer, rather than a university professor, he lays this book out as a story, not as a dry research paper. He vividly describes the events of the spring, summer, fall and winter of 1941, the personalities involved, their conflicts, egos, fears, and desires. He also vividly describes the strategic and tactical plans of all sides, and where they went wrong.
Overall, I believe this book is excellent. Unlike many previous efforts, it goes beyond just Pearl Harbor to explore the full scope of American and British efforts in the Pacific in 1941. This shows that today we, as a society, are getting very close to understanding what actually happened during those days in 1941. And the more we understand the more ugly it looks. It's 60 years late, but at least we can try to learn from this experience.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas H. Savery on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Days of Infamy by John Costello

This book makes one very angry at the incompetence of our military commanders at the beginning of WWII. The 2 goats of Pearl Harbor, Adm Kimmel and Gen Short, seem very competent compared to Marshall, MacArthur, Stark, King,Turner, and others.

The American plan assumed that the Japs would attack the Philippines first. To defend it, Roosevelt pulled MacArthur out of retirement in July 1941 and sent him there. In addition, he sent thousands of troops to help train the Filipinos, plus most of our latest bombers, the B-17, and many of our latest fighter aircraft, plus a potent Navy force. Marshall at the time said that reinforcing the Philippines was a mistake of the first magnitude. They allocated 200 planes to destroy 164 targets. In Europe, the allocated 8,000 planes to destroy an equal number of German targets. Japs and Jap targets were inferior, so needed fewer planes. MacArthur did not believe the Japs could fly planes due to their slanty eyes. Neither did the Brits, who would lose 2 of their battleships to Jap planes a couple of days later.

Ath the time of the Pearl Harbor attack MacArthur was called and had an 8 hour warning before the Japs attacked. They did the same thing in the Philippines that happened at Pearl. Complete surprise, in spite of the warning. This was a mystery until the early 1990's when records came unsealed that revealed that MacArthur had received $640,000 from the Philippine president to not attack the Japs.

(The plan was to have the B-17's MacArthur had to attack the Japs at Formosa and knock out their air force.) Had MacArthur followed orders, he would have done just that, as the Japs were grounded by fog.
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