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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
I previously picked up a copy of Pearl Harbor by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen. Much to my surprise, it was far better than I expected, and gave me a greater appreciation of Pearl when we visited Hawaii last year. I was recently contacted by the publicist for an advanced reader copy of their follow-on novel Days of Infamy. Of course, I accepted. :) As with Pearl Harbor, it's a well-written historical novel that looks at how the Japanese/American conflict might have played out if the Japanese had made a few different choices in their strategy.

The novel covers a four day period after the initial two attack waves on Pearl Harbor. In this alternative history, the Japanese lead a third wave over the islands along with a coastal bombardment with two of their battleships. This has everyone thinking that an island invasion might be imminent, when in reality it's a ploy to draw out the carriers that fortunately happened not to be docked in Pearl during the attack. Due to a complete and total destruction of the communication facilities, there is little intel that the US can use to figure out where the Japanese fleet is, how large it is, and what their plans might be. Likewise, the Japanese don't know where or exactly how many carriers the US has available or where they were if not docked at Pearl. It's a chess match between Halsey and Yamamoto that involves millions of tons of naval and aerial equipment, tens of thousands of lives, and quite possibly the fate of the free world. The story also involves James Watson, a cryptographer who lost a hand in an earlier conflict, and is not well-equipped to be part of a battle zone. His wife and mother-in-law are Japanese, and that brings an additional burden to his work. The social backlash against *all* people of Japanese descent in the US is starting to whip up, and he can't guarantee that those he loves will be safe from marauding bands of thugs seeking revenge.

Since the timespan covered in this installment of the story is much smaller, there's not as much character development as there was in the first episode. More of the action is focused on the battle strategy and the actual attacks from both sides. Still, there is plenty of personal material here to keep you interested in the characters. Watching people overcome (or be overwhelmed by) their prejudices is a strong theme covered. I was also struck by how much warfare has changed since then. It was possible back then to be within 100 miles of each other and still not know what was going on. Now with satellite imagery and other technology, war is fought at a completely different level.

If you haven't yet read Pearl Harbor by these two authors, do so before this book comes out. That will lay the groundwork for what continues here. For fans of alternative historical novels, this is a great read.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
With their "Gettysburg" trilogy, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen played out how the Civil War might have ended if the Confederates had won the pivotal battle between North and South in the first days of July 1863. Despite the assumptions of critics who leaped to the conclusion the authors were closet Southern apologists, the trilogy basically validated the argument that Forstchen laid out in an essay in "Alternate Gettysburgs" that Robert E. Lee and the Confederates could not have taken Washington, D.C. and that the losing the war was inevitable (although I should not that Forstchen posits a Confederate victory at Gettysburg on the second day while the trilogy he co-authored with Gingrich shifts the pivotal battlefield to Union Mills). With their World War II series, Gingrich and Forstchen take a similar approach. "Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th" rewrites history so that the Japanese surprise attack is even more devastating, and in "Days of Infamy" start playing out what happens after that point.

The crucial change in the historical calculus at the heart of the first book in this series is that Admiral Yamamoto accompanies the task force and personally leads the attack, and consequently the Japanese launch a third attack wave against Pearl Harbor. By blocking the entrance to the harbor, destroying the largest dry-dock, and setting the fuel farms afire, Pearl Harbor is put out of business. I can certainly quibble with the title, because FDR was right: the day of the sneak attack was a "day of infamy," and what Gingrich and Forstchen come up with for the next few days (when the novel ends it is only December 10th) does not constitute additional "days of infamy." But I had trouble making the title of the first volume work and still enjoyed reading the book.

"Days of Infamy" is the more interesting book because Gingrich and Forstchen are now making everything up instead of just setting up their point of divergence from history. The Japanese ambassador in Washington still does not get the declaration of war delivered in time, so Americans are still outraged by the attack, but the key point they focus on this time around is that the attacked missed the American carriers. Having knocked Pearl Harbor out of commission, Yamamoto wants the two carriers. Equally important, Admiral Halsey on the "Enterprise" and Rear Admiral Newton with the "Lexington" are eager to hit back despite the odds (six Japanese carriers in a battle group versus two American carriers hundreds of miles apart). There is nothing Yamamoto can do about the diplomatic foul up, but he has a plan to get the American carriers and baits a trap for them. The Americans know that it is a trap, but after what happened on December 7th they have to strike back despite the long odds. This naval chess match takes up most of the action of "Days of Infamy."

I do not know as much about World War II as I do about the Civil War, but so far in these books I do not have a sense that the authors are indulging in having key details of history repeat themselves. This is one of the pitfalls of alternative histories that authors have to beware, trying to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to rewriting history (i.e., I really, really, really wanted General James B. McPherson to survive their version of the Civil War). What are more fascinating are when the authors play off of history (e.g., Bohunks), and when they come up with rationales for cleaning up some things (e.g., Eleanor's brief little chat with FDR).

Taken together "Pearl Harbor" and "Days of Infamy" comprise the opening act of this series, and I wish they had been one book because the whole point of such a story is to get to the point where things get different and that is pretty much where the first book ends. I have no idea how many volumes will be involved, but there is no way this is a trilogy (my assumption is that the end game is going to involve the invasion of Japan simply because the authors are not going to want to dig a giant hole with their alt history and then pull a couple of atomic bombs out of their hat). I think the next volume will be the pivotal one in the series because it essentially replaces the Battle of Midway by being about the attempt to stop the Japanese from taking all of the American possessions west of Hawaii. The authors have something of an advantage in rewriting the war in the Pacific because nothing they come up with as fiction could compare with the true history of the Battle of Midway, but coming up with something comparable for the next volume will be key.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
The first book in this series, Pearl Harbor, was just the opening act in a days long horror that will set the Pacific ablaze as two of World War II's greatest commanders, Yamamoto and Bull Halsey, clash in the greatest naval battle never to have happened. It is the narrative genius of Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen that makes one think that the battle in Days of Infamy must have happened.

Days of Infamy is also a meditation on one of the essential truths of war. Whatever the issues, whatever the cause, whatever the failure that led up to it, the one thing that is true of every war, especially World War Two, is that young men die decades before their time. There is plenty of such death in Days of Infamy, much of it heartbreaking.

In Days of Infamy young pilots take off from the pitching deck of a carrier with the dawn, knowing that very likely they will not live to see the dusk. Some face that prospect with resolution, some with terror.

Even more horrendous than the terror of battle thousands of feet over the Pacific, taking minutes or even seconds to resolve, is the horror of the aftermath. Days of Infamy tells about burning ships, taking on water, and crews desperately trying to keep them afloat and operational, or at least moving toward some form of refuge. Death by fire or death by water is the fate of too many long after the din of battle stills.

In Days of Infamy Gingrich and Forstchen have done it again, as they did with their epic Gettysburg trilogy, and have captured what war is like, in all of its horror and glory, by showing the reader events in another World War Two that never happened, but might have.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Bravo to Gringrich and Forstchen!

Most will praise this book as one that effectively narrates a fictionalized account of a bloody battle between America and Japan, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Like most reviewers, I greatly praise the book's ability to fictionalize the ensuing battle, while still remaining dependent upon historical events, and most importantly of course, delivering a great story.

With that said, I want to focus on what makes this book deeply special and separates it from most stories - its theme and emotion.

At the opening of the book, it becomes clear that the raging emotions of America and Japan are headed into a terrible battle. Thus, the book quickly introduces us to our main characters, whose perspectives we will see this battle from, including celebrated Japanese commanders like Yamamoto and Fuchida, as well as Dianne, a girlfriend of a fighter pilot within the story, among many others.

As the book goes on, we go back and forth, from the White House, to command central with Yamamoto, down to Dianne (who is working on the ground, helping American units), and around various American battleships. As the bombs blast and the torpedoes fly, we feel the emotion of every character kick in.

With Hawaii being mercilessly bombed in the beginning of the story, we follow our troops and feel their hunger to strike back. Yet, we also feel the emotions of our antagonist, Yamamoto - his sense of honor, his love for his Japanese troops, and his great determination, naturally, make us fall in love with an enemy we ought to hate.

As the book goes on, we see everyone's lives intertwine. The narration of how ships are destroyed, airplanes are shot down, and buildings destroyed, naturally leaves us awestruck, as one moment we celebrate the destruction of a Japanese battleship, only to get depressed again as we read about the slaughtering of American fighter pilots. The story of soldiers who are left behind, both Japanese and American, is effectively told, in addition to the torture both sides inflict, as the battle wears on. Both sides are full of honor and vengeance, yet both feel deep pain - the universal emotion that seems to unite every character in the book.

As a reviewer, I have never been in a war or seen a war; the greatness of this book is that, after reading it, I feel that this is the closest I have ever come to understanding what war is like and how painful it is, from all different angles.

Interesting plots aside - I'm not as celebratory of Gringrich and Forstchen's achievement in fictionalizing a great turn in our world's history. Rather, I am in awe of their achievement to take us inside the world of a bloody battle, make us see all perspectives, only to leave us wishing that we never see or feel such a sight, ever, in our precious lives.

My favorite line of the book would definitely be that of Commander Yamamoto, close to the end, where he reflects on his wins, loses, but most of all, his lost soldiers. In thinking about his upcoming report to the Japanese politicians, he says to himself, "Those back home wanted war, but never truly understood the price of war..."

The line leaves us depressed for those who have perished in war, and perhaps, confused about our own beliefs on war. History and narrative aside, read this book for its theme and wonderful emotion.

- Muhammad Ali Hasan
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I enjoy Newt Gingrich's non-fiction books, but this is the first of his fiction books that I have read. Not because I had anything against Newt's fiction, but because I don't generally read very much fiction. However, I found this book to be even more enjoyable than I had anticipated. In fact, it makes me want to read the first book in this series, which I had inadvertently missed.

Gingrich and Forstchen take history with a couple of well chosen "what ifs". In this case, if Yamamoto had made multiple attacks on Hawaii and a battle out of the attack on Pearl Harbor instead of a raid. This book opens late on December 7, 1941 in Washington and ends at 10 pm in Washington D.C. on December 11, 1941 with a phone call from Winston Churchill to FDR. The story takes lots of interesting turns, but stays close enough to real history to show a number of interesting photographs in the book from actual historical events. Gingrich and Forstchen call their suppositions "active history" and is not only interesting, but makes for interesting conversation. Everyone likes to play the what if game, but too many do it without much information about the realities behind what they are supposing. These authors take us rapidly from Washington to Hawaii, to both Japanese and US warships, up into various airplanes, and into the lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The action is written very well and the writing keeps the story moving. The characters are well written and the dialogue sounds like it is coming from the mouths of people in real situations in 1941. At least, what I think it would have sounded like in 1941 because I wasn't born until just after the Korean War ended. However, I know how that generation spoke.

I also liked the way the book never creates a favored side that gets unrealistic breaks to win. Both sides make their best moves and make gambles. Some of them pay off and some lead to disaster. We follow some soldiers and ships to their sad deaths and see the men who suffered in these battles on both sides. Of course I am rooting for the United States, but the book doesn't seem to cheat in favor of the U.S. in its narrative. The Japanese are treated with dignity and respect, which seems right nearly 70 years on. The war is not made a pain free game in any way. Everyone it touches suffers, but we see bravery and attention to duty on both sides, but in different ways. Really, the book is quite fascinating in its attention to detail.

While you may not agree with the assumptions the authors have made in creating their fiction of the matched battles between Halsey and Yamamoto, that really is part of the fun. Frankly, I think these books would make a terrific miniseries.

If you like war stories and intelligent and informed what-if scenarios, I am sure you will enjoy this book and its predecessor. I did.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2008
Having read the authors' earlier "Pearl Harbor", this follow on novel was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint. It was a very quick read because it was a story well-told that was hard to put down. The story is alternate history, exploring the what if scenarios around the earliest days of World War II in the Pacific. The authors successfully stay within the bounds of the plausible, guiding the reader through an alternate history that might have really happened but for providence and the choices of individuals.

About four days of action are packed into the 350 pages of the hardcover book. American and Japanese naval fleets battle earlier than what really happened at Coral Sea and Midway, with one interesting clash that is the 1941 version of the Battle off Samar.

This book contains less political and social commentary than "Pearl Harbor" but does touch on the issue of internment of those of Japanese descent, offering a fair discussion and different outcome without surrendering to a contemporary politically correct preachiness.

One frustration in reading this book is the occasional, but too often, errors in describing equipment, usually aircraft, involved in the story. Military history buffs will be left wondering how these errors got past editors and especially some of the military personnel who are mentioned in the Acknowlegements. The errors are an unnecessary and avoidable distraction from an otherwise great vision of what might have been.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2008
Authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen have written an excellent second installment in their highly-acclaimed Pacific War series. Following up on the events of their "Pearl Harbor" book, the authors continue with the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and the surrounding area.

After the third wave of Japanese planes have returned to their carriers, Admiral Yamamoto, who relieved Admiral Nagumo as force commander in the previous book, has made plans for two of his battleships to bombard Oahu. The heavily-damaged island and naval base now must face the fury of 14-inch naval shells. Soon, even more planes, buildings, and ships have been destroyed or damaged. However, this attack is not without cost to the Japanese, for a force of American destroyers manage to get close enough to the Japanese battleships to launch torpedoes. The destroyers succeed in severely damaging one of the battleships while forcing the second to withdraw.

Admiral Halsey, steaming off Oahu in the carrier Enterprise, gets word of the battleship attack on the island and launches a strike to finish off the battleship. Unfortunately for Halsey, the Japanese find him first, and Enterprise is severely damaged by Japanese carrier planes. But, the Americans manage to launch a strike of their own, and they leave the carrier Soryu heavily damaged. Next comes a few days of cat and mouse between the enemy fleets until once again the two adversaries make contact with one another. This time, American planes from the Lexington and Japanese planes from the Akagi literally fly within sight of one another as they make their way toward their targets. Both ships suffer the same fate, as each succumbs and sinks. The Japanese fleet has been heavily damaged, but the Americans have lost the services of both of it's Pacific Fleet carriers. What will happen next?

This is an excellent book. The time frame covered is only four days, but there is a lot of action packed in. Gingrich and Forstchen have loaded this book with several exciting battles between the Japanese and American Navies. The story really makes the reader think as to what would have happened to the course of World War II if these events were actually true. The readers must remind themselves that they are reading a novel, because so much of the detail seems authentic.

I give this book my highest recommendation. The Pacific War series has become one of my favorites, and I can't wait to see what Gingrich and Forstchen have in store for the next installment. Fans of historical fiction will want to make sure to read this excellent book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2008
A Great Read and a Fascinating "What If?"
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen have written a compelling story of what might have happened in the four days following the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor if strategy and events had been a little different. This is the first work of fiction written by Newt Gingrich that I have read but it certainly will not be the last.
The story is told from multiple perspectives - Admiral Halsey, Admiral Yamamoto, President Roosevelt and, most interestingly, a fictional Nay Commander - James Watson. The characters and the plot are exceedingly well-developed. From this former Marine's perspective, the descriptions of naval combat are believable and quite realistic. You can almost smell the gun powder and feel the concussions.
Granted, part of this story is a work of fiction but it is quite believable and very thought-provoking. There are lessons to be learned - not only about WW II in the Pacific but warfare in general. It occurs to me that this story could very well be used in places like Annapolis, the Army's Command and General Staff College and Sandhurst to create the background for an interesting war game simulation to teach military strategy.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in WW II and military strategy - it really is a great read.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2009
When a Marine like Ollie North endorses a book, how can one disagree? The problem is that Ollie, like the authors, don't know Navy. I hate to say this - I respect Gingrich greatly - but it is painfully obvious after the first few pages that the authors don't know a breech block from a bilge keel.

OK, some research was obviously done. Seeing academics research WW II naval combat in the Pacific (the current ghetto of WW II history) is like watching a dancing bear - you are to be amazed not at the grace of the dance, but that the bear dances at all.

But just because some research was done is not justification to excuse it for not being done right. This book contains numerous, many, a flood of technical and conceptual errors. In some cases, whole turns of plot are generated from wrong assumptions and impossibilities. Let me mention a few - I'll start on about page 47, because by that time in the book I was so shocked at the inaccuracies that I started underlining them.

Somehow the Pearl Harbor main channnel gets blocked. The main channel at Pearl is now and was then 400 yards wide. The largest ships in the fleet, battleships, were 200 yards long. So, even if the Japanese managed to sink a ship broadside in the middle of the channel, there still would have been 100 yards of clearance. I've navigated the Panama Canal, and there are places there that are a lot narrower, and ships make it past without problems. The Suez canal isn't much wider. In the North African campaign, ports were blocked much tighter than that, and ships still made the transit. The myth of "blocking the channel" originated from Prange, who was quoting Fuchida, who obviously had no idea of how wide the channel was.

A Japanese battleship tries some shore bombardment against Oahu. To get into position, according to the times and locations given in the book, the battleships would have had to steam at about 55 knots. Then the battleships encounter US shore batteries. The authors make the Army's coastal defense batteries out to be untrained incompetents. In fact, most of those soldier in the CD Corps were long-service professionals. CD batteries, with long base lines between directors and surveyed ranges, could generally hit consistently at long range, and 10,000 yards range (the range of the battle in the book) was point-blank for them. The authors allow them one near miss on a DD.

The authors have Admiral Draemel, leading a night DD attack on the Japanese battleship, agonize that his ships would be "clobbered" at 20,000 yards. According to the Naval War College Maneuver and Fire Rules, hit rates against DDs at that range would be on the order of 1%. SInce Draemel would have had to gone to the NWC, he should have known that - or the authors ought to have known it and not had him say such a silly thing.

The authors have Draemel attack with "nine destroyers and destroyer escorts." Destroyer escorts did not enter the fleet until much later, and there were none at Pearl Harbor.

Those nine ships were attacking in line abreast with 400 yards between ships. Standard doctrine for line ahead was 700 yards daytime, 1000 yards night. Line abreast in such an attack would have been nearly impossible to maintain and would likely have resulted in collisions. No naval officer would have used that formation for such an attack.

Standard naval terminology is NEVER used in the book. What naval officer ever said, "fire at will"? "Flank speed, bearing 260 degrees"? Instead, how about "Open fire." How about, "All ahead flank, indicate turns for 25 knots, come left new course two six zero degrees"? Naval officers are drilled constantly in standard command language, and cannot be qualified to stand as conning officer or officer of the deck without having those commands down by heart. How can anyone think of writing a naval novel without understanding how orders are given?

Then there is the stumper that I had to read three times to figure out:"On my mark, prepare to ..." In the navy, there is the prep signal, and the execute signal.

The authors somewhere have heard about "ripple fire," and so they have the Japanese battleships fire their turrets at two second intervals. Anyone who knows anything about fire control would know that would make spotting near impossible. Ripple fire was a short delay - like a quarter of a second - between firing adjacent guns, to prevent mutual shell interference. Including all the guns, the total duration of a ripple was maybe a second.

The authors have a battleship at 22 knots burning fuel 30 times faster than at 10 knots. Double the speed requires the power to be squared, so the actual fuel consumption would have been about 4-5 times.

The authors give the four-piper destroyer Ward a broadside of 8 torpedoes - in fact, she had 6 on a side. They give her a gun turret forward, when in fact her guns were in open deck mounts.

The authors had a Japanese admiral order 1,800 ton destroyers to tow a 36,000 ton battleship. This, in submarine waters, when he had only 2 DDs available, and also had a heavy cruiser available for the role. He had Japanese divers go over the side AT NIGHT to inspect for screw and rudder damage, this evidently done while the ship was being towed at 6 knots.

The Japanese Kongo class battleship was called "bigger than anything the [US] Navy now had afloat." North Caroline and Washington were both operational at that time. A US heavy cruiser was identified as almost as powerful as a battle cruisers - let's see, 10,000 tons v. 36,000 tons, 8-inch guns v. 14-inch, one wonders where the authors got this equivalency.

The authors keep having the Japanese employ their aircraft in units of 5 or 10. The basic formation units were the Shotai and Chotai (excuse spelling if off), units of 3 aircraft and 9 aircraft.

The authors arm the US dive bombers with AP bombs to attack carriers. US dive bombers going after carriers used 500# and 1000# GP bombs with 1/10 second fuses.

Yamamoto refuels his whole fleet at sea, except two carriers miss out on about 700 tons of fuel. This was impossible on two counts: first, the Japanese oilers were two days steaming north of Kaido Butai; second, they did not have the pumping capacity to transfer that much fuel. To refuel Yamamoto's ships to the levels indicated would have required about 12,000 tons of fuel or more, and the Japanese oiler might have been able to manage about 500 to 800 tons in a full day UNREP. This little logistics boo-boo makes all the rest of the book impossible.

The authors continually refer to "carrier scout planes" as if the carriers had specialized aircraft for this role. In fact, the Americans used the SBD and the Japanese used the B5N in that role. The SBD scouts carried 500# GP bombs and doctrine had them seek out and attack the carrier deck to put it out of action. Instead
the authors, obviously not knowing standard doctrine, has the scout SBD attack the battleship before searching for the carriers.

The authors do not understand naval communications, in spite of the fact that one of their heros is a communicator, and communications play a huge part in their story. They have Japanese aircraft that did not carry voice radios having nice radio chats, and ships breaking radio silence over and over again thinking that a short broadcast would not reveal their positions, which was flat wrong for both sides. In fact, Japanese voice radios were unreliable and of poor performance, to the extent that most Zero pilots had their radios removed. Their only reliable long-range communications was HF CW keyed transmissions. Carriers in particular had limited numbers of radios that could monitor only one frequency at a time and had a large number of nets they had to monitor. Yet, the authors have the Japanese search aircraft each on a different frequency (wrong), has Navy strike aircraft talking to Army heavy bombers (different nets), and of course, with a politician as an author, the whole war stops and the admirals tune their limited number of radios to hear Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech. Only a politician would think that would happen .....

B-17s trained to bomb warships at 8,000 to 18,000 feet. The authors have them coming in at 3,000 feet and getting shot up by AA. The Japanese battleships are given their late-war complement of 25mm AA guns, rather than what they had at the beginning of the war.

The authors have the US ships with CIC spaces (combat information centers), which were actually not installed on ships until late 1942.

The authors evidently do not understand that aircraft had arming switches on their bombs along with arming vanes, so that the bomb had to be armed, released, and travel some distance from the aircraft before it could explode. This would prevent them from exploding if an aircraft crashed on takeoff. The authors seem to like having aircraft bombs explode in that way. And, like any good Vin Diesel movie, any deck crash automatically means a huge fire.

Japanese bombers by doctrine came in to the attack one at a time, keying their aim point off the leader. The authors have them coming in two at a time to bracket a ship if it should turn one way or the other, something that could not be done (communications, plese?).

They also state that the Japanese AP bomb delivered by the B5N Kate was overweight for that aircraft. They again did not do their research correctly - they used the weight of the 40 cm shell, which was used to build the bomb, but when the shell was converted into a bomb they machined off several hundred pounds of metal and added some weight to the bursting charge to get it up to 50#. The bomb weighed just under 800 kg, the spec payload of the aircraft, weighing just the same as a torpedo. The authors have several paragraphs agonizing how the B5N Kate pilots had to take off overweight, all of which, of course, is bogus. They also claim that an AP bomb could pass through a carrier and explode underneath it and break the ship's back. With a 50 pound bursting charge? Ignorant. No one thought that at the time.

The authors have one bomb hit on the stern of Enterprise take out the entire arresting gear system. The system was specifically designed to prevent that. All the arresting gear had individual, independent systems for each wire. The course of the battle concocted by the authors depends upon this technical error. They also equip the carriers with deck bulldozers and electric carts to move aircraft on the hanger deck. These innovations were not introduced until 1943.

The authors have Fuchida landing on a carrier, and then gunning his engine after hitting the deck in case he missed the wires. That is the modern procedure for angled carrier decks, and was not used for straight-deck carriers. If they missed the wires, they went into the barriers.

Well, that takes me only to page 129 - there is a lot more problems later as the book goes on, but this review is dragging on in length, and I think I have made my point without needed to further pile on the evidence. Most of these errors could have been picked up by any competent naval officer with some WW II background. Couldn't the authors take the time to have one read the draft?

But I do want to make another point. The authors really have no idea of the mentality of the fighting man in WW II. I think that they were weened on too many re-runs of MASH or Oliver Stone anti-war movies, because they have all their heros having a nice cry at some time or another (at least 5 or 7 incidents, if I recall correctly), and each character has a page or two where they are convinced that they all are going to die, and that their next day/hour/mission will be their last. One AAC pilot practically mutinies and refused to go on a mission which he thinks is suicidal, and when he does go, of course, the colonel cries. Overall, these characters are just too touchie-feelie, too 1960's Woodstock to be credible. I will bet anyone a cantelope that the authors have never met a real live combat aviator (well, OK, Gingrich probably knows McCain), because they have no concept of the true devil-may-care arrogance that fueled the pilots of the period. Instead, in the author's world combat pilots obsess about dying and cry a lot, which I frankly feel is a bit insulting to those brave men.

The bottom line is that I feel that this book is a disaster to naval history. With their credentials and all the hype and endorsements for the book, there are going to be a lot of people ignorant of naval history that are going to take what is in this book as gospel. They are going to take all these errors and believe that is the way it was, and maybe one or two will write their own books or blogs and promulgate the errors further. There will be traffic for years to come beating down a whole new crop of myths and misinformation.

Overall: not recommended.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Admiral Yamamoto orders Imperial Japanese Naval Air Forces to attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Three waves of bombings destroy much of the American fleet and leave the island in chaos. He believes the Americans reeling from the assault will sue for peace.

However, Yamamoto is stunned when he finds out his own government betrayed his confidence in them. He warned the Foreign Ministry to openly declare war before he ordered the attacks because he understands the American mindset having lived there. He was promised and set his date and time from the first wave accordingly. Instead he knows the Americans will not negotiate a settlement before the hostilities as they perceive this as a sneak attack. They will go all out in an acrimonious avenging extended war in the Pacific that Japan cannot win if it stretches too long. Yamamoto knows his majesty's only hope for victory is an all out ruthless assault on the American military throughout the Pacific and he knows his side may not survive the retaliation and counter attacks. Admiral Halsey leads the American response.

The concept is excellent as Yamamoto concludes the narrow-minded idiot politicians back in Tokyo did not do him or the country any favors when they failed to simply formally inform FDR of the war declaration as he knows the sleeping giant has been awakened into an angry snarling tiger. The execution by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen is superb as the audience will believe the sequel to Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, 1941 is plausible. What if fans will appreciate this fast-paced war in the Pacific alternate history as the military and political action never slows over a few days of infamy in December 1941.

Harriet Klausner
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