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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941 Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820617
  • ASIN: B008SM3FOK
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews, 4/15/11
“A vivid 11-day account of a World War II holiday…A master chronicler, Weintraub’s moody, intensively researched play- by-play narrative traces the final days of 1941. Ruminations, anecdotes and creatively reimagined scenarios crisply capture all of the minute details of the time and sequences of events…Erudite, sweeping and contemplative—classic Weintraub.”

Publishers Weekly, 8/15/11
“A minor genre, the day-by-day chronicle, receives a fine addition as veteran historian Weintraub devotes a chapter each to the last 10 days of 1941 plus New Year’s Day…Dazzling detail…Readers will enjoy [Weintraub’s] opinionated portraits of the allied leaders as they hammered out strategy.”
Poughkeepsie Journal, 9/4/11
“[A] compelling history of the most remarkable holiday season in the 20th century.”
Library Journal, 10/1/11
“This is a more human World War II book, not of policy details, but of people trying to figure out how to proceed, with the focus on two titans of the Western Alliance (who both enjoyed a good smoke and a drink)…This stirring book is recommended for all history buffs and general readers interested in this human—and holiday—take on the war.”

Booklist, 11/15/11
“[An] absorbing story.”, 11/12/11
“This book is chocked full of detail, yet reads like a novel.”

Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 11/22/11
Pearl Harbor Christmas contains interesting vignettes from various theaters of war during December 1941…[Takes] on a fascinating month in history…A quick and smooth read.”
Bookviews blog, December 2011
“The book captures the unique feeling of a nation on the brink of war and provides the an insight to the strategic planning of the two most respected politicians of the 20th century.”
Roanoke Times, 11/27/11
“In readable anecdotal style, Stanley Weintraub gives us glimpses into the White House…In time of war, a nation needs heroes. And as someone said long ago, when war begins, truth is the first casualty. We also need people like Weintraub who make sure that truth survives.”
King Features Syndicate, 11/16/11
“[An] exceptional piece of historical reporting about one of the defining events of the 20th century.”, 12/1/11
“A story of two men of very different personalities and proclivities, Pearl Harbor Christmas is also a recounting of the early days of United States entry into a war that had been going very much as the Axis powers wished. Weintraub neatly juxtaposes the smaller story of the two world leaders’ ideas and personalities with the larger one of events in the war itself.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/4/11
“For the World War II buff, this book may have some interest.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/4/11
“A brief but authoritative account of 11 days—Dec. 22, 1941 through Jan. 1, 1942—during which the course of the global war began to shift profoundly. [Weintraub’s] ability to meld together so many disparate elements…in such a short, swift-moving book is exemplary.”
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 12/4/11
“A fascinating account of Churchill’s history-making visit…Carefully chronicled…Contains rich anecdotal material involving the colorful prime minister…Worth reading as an account of what went on behind the scenes in the decision making that forged the strategies that led the Allies to victory.”
Deseret News, 12/4/11
“Weintraub gives the reader an interesting peek at different aspects of the war that would soon involve the majority of the world’s nations…Gives a unique perspective on political, military and civilian aspects of the war…Filled with candor, wit and wry sense of humor, Pearl Harbor Christmas will offer the reader a fascinating and compelling look at the events immediately following the ‘Day of Infamy.’”
Portland Book Review, December-February 2011
“[Weintraub] captures what it was like to live through one of the most infamous holiday seasons in American history…History buffs will see this as a treasured addition to their library.”
Toronto Globe & Mail, 12/3/11
“In this lively account…Weintraub gives us an America newly traumatized by its forcible engagement in a war it had resisted for two years.”
Midwest Book Review, November 2011
“Succinctly captures not only the historical events, but the emotions of people at the crossroads of turbulent times. Highly recommended especially as a serious-minded addition to public library holiday shelves.”
San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/18/11
“A must-read for history buffs…Entertaining.”
Washington Post, 12/25/11
“[A] compelling book…Provides a compact and vivid day-by-day account of the days following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor…For political junkies, this title is chock-full of amusing observations…Weintraub’s work is an illuminating and heartwarming celebration of the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.”
Boston Globe, 12/25/11
“A detailed yet intimate portrait of the weeks following Pearl Harbor.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/25/11
“Weintraub excels at illuminating larger-than-life characters…Christmas 1941 may have been the most difficult in American history, but Weintraub describes it masterfully.”
Louisville Courier-Journal, 12/23/11
“A deeply moving and inspiring story about what it was like to live through a holiday season few would ever forget.”
Philadelphia Tribune, 12/18/11
“The little known events of the era comes to light in historian Stanley Weintraub's Pearl Harbor Christmas.”
Asbury Park Press, 12/25/11
“A succinct but fact-filled survey of daily events from Dec. 24 to New Year Day 1942.”
Sunday Missoulian, 12/25/11
“The author’s ‘fly-on-the-wall’ eye for fascinating detail easily holds the reader’s interest.”
Acadiana LifeStyle, December 2011
“Until now, little has been known about the remarkable meeting of President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, together lighting the White House tree while carols were being sung.”, 12/7/11
“The first to portray the attack's aftermath in America, the shock, fury, uncertainty, and unity. The book also sheds new insight on FDR's and Churchill's meetings in Washington to plan strategy.”
America in WWII, December 2011
“Weintraub deftly weaves the pivotal, the noteworthy, and the curious wartime happenings that occurred in Washington when Churchill arrived…With every well-researched entry that Weintraub describes, he provides a big-picture overview of the days just before the United States entered the fray. This slim volume is well suited to fans of Churchill or Roosevelt—or to anyone who seeks a better understanding of how Pearl Harbor affected a world already at war.”
Asbury Park Sunday Press, 1/15/12
“[An] interesting book…Good focus on Winston Churchill and Gen. Douglas Macarthur.”
Sacramento Book Review, February 2012
“Solid in research. Weintraub is an expert at citing and finding great sources for his historical books.”
Politics & Patriotism (blog), 2/9/12
“A sober and sometimes wry look at the three weeks that immediately followed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor…Pearl Harbor Christmas isn’t confined to Washington D.C. The author takes us around the world, quite suddenly at times, to give the reader some sense of what went on behind enemy lies while America was staggering to recover from the Japanese blow.”

War, Literature and the Arts
“[A] richly detailed examination of an eleven-day period surrounding a wartime holiday season…The work serves as an excellent introduction to the high-level friendship that marked the Anglo-American team throughout the war and will be of great interest to both scholars and casual students of the period.”


Waterline, 4/5/12
“An interesting and timely book.”

Military Review, May/June 2012
“This enlightening book reads like a close-up study of world leaders at the end of 1941: R...

About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is an award-winning author and co-author of more than fifty highly acclaimed books, including Silent Night and 11 Days in December. He lives in Delaware.

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Customer Reviews

This is fine, but it is presented in a very dull and bland format.
Amazon Customer
I know, it's a little thing, but it makes me as a reader wonder how I can trust him with the big things when he can't handle the little ones.
Bruce Hutton
With the thousands of books having been written about WWII, you would think that anything new would be simply a rehash of previous books.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Christmas 1941 was a bittersweet Christmas for Americans - they were not yet on rations, cities and homes were still bright; but everyone knew that by next Christmas many of their loved ones would not be with them and everything would be different. Stanley Weintraub does a marvelous job in bringing that Christmas to this book. It is not the personal story of the people; but of their leaders and events that were happening in the world.
The main story line is of Winston Churchill's trip to the White House to plan strategy for the war; using many sources, US, British, German and Japanese, to describe the moods and thoughts of politicians and the military. Churchill's over optimistic assumption of America's preparedness is well described. What is continually pointed out are MacArthur's mistakes, his fabrications of what was happening and even how as the Japanese were advancing and how as he was on Corregidor he phones Manila to ask for his contingency fund and then requests it be used to buy gold mining stocks. There are no good words for MacArthur in this book.

We learn what meals and drinks were consumed, how the British were astounded at American plenty. We learn what many of the leaders around the world said and did and what was being done with America's founding documents and how the enemy diplomats were housed at the Greenbrier and Homestead resorts. We also read of Churchill's and Roosevelt's different outlooks and Churchill's worries about his health and Anthony Eden's irritation at Churchill's immense amount of publicity.
The book is organized by day from Churchill's trip on a stormy North Atlantic, to 22 December through 1 January. On each day we are told what is happening with Churchill and Roosevelt, in Germany and the Far East.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Helton on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was quite disappointed with this book, but perhaps the disappointment is only mine to bear. I had purchased the tome because the title conjured up America during Wartime, and in this case at Christmastime. I am by no means a WWII scholar and I especially never understood the convoluted plotting and unbelievable violence that occurred in the Pacific and the European theatres. The problem with this book is that it assumes you do know that. The idea is ambitious and I like how it narrows its' scope to basically Christmas week of 1941, beginning with the arrival of Winston Churchill to Roosevelt's White House for a week of war planning, speeches, drinks, meals and socializing. However, the book's slim size (barely 200 pages) leaves a lot of information in the abyss. The chapters are broken up into days and after a while the jarring prose drones into a pattern: checking in on General MacArthur and the war in the Pacific, the Japanese reaction to the moves of the Allies, Hitler's reaction to Russia, including a winter clothing drive for the Nazis, with each chapter culminating in the Churchill-Roosevelt holiday. I was hoping for more civilian reactions, but aside from some scraps of information about the more popular holiday gifts, Weintraub leaves the reader with a parade of characters, most whom we are not introduced to, and, due to the regimented chapters, we never know what happened to them after January 1, 1942. I had purchased the book due to my love of Doris Kearns Goodwins' NO ORDINARY TIME and David Brinkley's WASHINGTON GOES TO WAR, two of my favorite books about that era. The information about Hitler and his clothing drive, the taking of Yousuf Karsh's iconic Churchill photograph, as well as the shipment of the founders' documents to Fort Knox, were the parts that kept me reading; the rest was a slog.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Quixote010 VINE VOICE on December 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
With the thousands of books having been written about WWII, you would think that anything new would be simply a rehash of previous books. It's not likely that we haven't previously been told many of the details present in author Stanley Weintraub's well written short (200) pages, but certainly not collectively as here.

The author's focus on the three week period following Pearl Harbor and the gathering of British, US and other allies to strategically determine future battle plans makes this particular book quite interesting. One can easily imagine giddy Prime Minister Winston Churchill making himself at home in the White House as he and Franklin Roosevelt discussed the military and political iimplications of the pending conflicts. For Churchill, the entry of America into the conflict gave hope to a country stretched dangerously thin around the world. Although hopeful, even Churchill recognized the the era of worldwide British domination was ending and hope of any survival depended upon American participation.

Now, where to strike first, who should lead the campaing in the Pacific, and what effect would expected forthcoming defeats have on American morale were among the hundreds of priority decisions these leaders and support teams and allies needed to discuss and resolve between Christmas and New Year's 1941-42.

Weintraub's book takes you to the war room details not usually presented this concisely or exact. He presents information not known by the general public at the time, and allows you to feel the pressures exerted upon each country's political and military leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the initial political strategies behind the military actions in the first stages of the war.
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