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Pearl Harbor Papers (P) Paperback – December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574882228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574882223
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,006,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Edited by the coauthors of At Dawn We Slept (with the late Gordon Prange), this is an invaluable collection of Japanese primary source material pertaining to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Included are monographs by Commander Minoru Genda, the tactical genius behind the attack; letters of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who conceived the operation and pushed it through to acceptance; plus detailed war diaries that cover shipboard activities throughout the voyage to Hawaii, the December 7, 1941, attack itself, and the return voyage home. Perhaps the most remarkable document is an extended report titled "An Intimate Look at the Japanese Navy," in which "official" Japanese historian Masataka Chihaya reviews the imperial Navy's successes and failures, assesses tactics and weapons used in the war and concludes with a devastating critique of leadership blunders. The volume sets to rest the argument that FDR knew of an imminent attack because American code-breakers monitored the task force's messages; the documents establish unequivocally that radio silence was maintained. A veritable treasure trove for scholars and Pacific War buffs, this collection also includes the after-action map prepared for Emperor Hirohito, which has only recently been recovered.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The appearance of two enticing sets of historical documents will be a feast for historians, World War II buffs, and anyone else seeking insight into that momentous era. Lay readers can now read the behind-the-scenes facts and opinions upon which the history books are built. These two collections complement each other brilliantly. The Worth book offers close views of American and Japanese espionage in 1941, the clandestine code-breaking activities, the radar fiasco, and numerous other ramifications of the great attack. All the niggling questions about submarine nets, sabotage, and battle damage are discussed in satisfying detail. Goldstein and Dillon, coeditors of At Dawn We Slept ( LJ 11/1/81), ably present the Japanese side of the raid. Academic and military collections will want to acquire these books as a pair. Public libraries considering only one title face a difficult choice but will probably prefer Goldstein and Dillon's work because the Japanese perspective is less well know in this country.
- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The Pearl Harbor Papers is a great body of insight into the planning of the Dec 7, 1941 attack.
John V. Seward
On the whole, this is a very good book to add to your shelf of Pearl Harbor books (and anyone who has such a shelf unquestionably needs this).
Andrew S. Rogers
As a result, it contains maps, diaries, comments, naval statistics, and so on, which are very helpful for the military specialist.
ted bojanowski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John V. Seward on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Pearl Harbor Papers is a great body of insight into the planning of the Dec 7, 1941 attack. Although some of the charts breaking down the unit compositions are redundant (due to the same information in several different accounts), a look into the mind of Minoru Genda, the brilliant planner of the strike, is invaluable. Another interesting account is the battle diary of the destroyer Akigumo, which offers a unique view from that of a screening vessel. A real good supplement to the three volumes authored by Gordon Prange about the "Day of Infamy".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By carl on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
What stopped the invasion of Pearl Harbor? Who protected the valuable oil supplies? How much did FDR know about Japan? The Japanese side of the story as told by the folks who brought to life the US side,(AtDawn We Slept, etc) Prange, Goldstein & Dillion. These source documents explain how and why the Sons of Nippon choose the course of action that resulted in the attack on Dec 7, 1941. This is the true story of the story behind the headlines and the hysteria, based on the ACTUAL historical documents. Interpret history for yourself. A must read for anyone who wants to understand today's and yesterdays JAPAN.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ted bojanowski on March 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book can be considered an appendix to Gordon W. Prange's "At Dawn We Slept, the untold story of Pearl Harbor." As an appendix, it is not a story but a collection of whatever significant material was found in the Prange archives related to the Pearl Harbor attack. As a result, it contains maps, diaries, comments, naval statistics, and so on, which are very helpful for the military specialist. Goldstein and Dillon, the co-editors, include a number of diaries, ship logs, or journals of commanders of the Japanese fleet covering the period from their departure from Hitokappu Bay to arrival day at Pearl Harbor, and these are in some cases very routine but do allow for a look at how the Japanese fleet dealt in a day-to-day way with the long and dangerous North Pacific trip and how they handled obstacles, such as refueling, morale and heavy seas.
However, the MOST IMPORTANT and significant part of this book, in my opinion, is at the very end of the book, and consists of an in-depth analysis of the Japanese military -- their planning, their methods, their ideas, their traditional beliefs -- by Masataka Chihaya. This critical analysis -- which should be read by all students of military history -- alone is well worth the price of the book for the student of the military and military tactics. But for the reader looking for battles, maneuvers, and other such action this book would be a disappointment. I give it 5 stars for the military student, 3 stars for others...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on November 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Gordon Prange, the dean of Pearl Harbor researchers, and his assistants Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon, produced the essential trilogy on the before-during-and-after of the attack, "At Dawn We Slept" (1981), "December 7, 1941" (1988), and "Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History" (1986). In this book, Dillon and Goldstein produce some of their essential primary sources, key Japanese documents about the planning, execution, and aftermath of the attack.
One of the key distinctives of Prange's research and writing was that, unlike so many other writers about the attack, he never forgot the Japanese half of the equation. In fact, the Pearl Harbor attack was a massive tactical undertaking, and the Japanese carried it off brilliantly. Focusing entirely on, for example, how much FDR knew and when, means ignoring the magnitude of the Japanese accomplishment.
Prange never made this mistake. And it's his research and interviews in Japan that produced this important work, assembled and published by his two assistants. While "The Pearl Harbor Papers" may be too esoteric for casual students of the Day of Infamy, people with a more serious interest in the attack, or the Pacific War generally, will find much here to keep themselves occupied.
Of particular interest are several papers and affidavits by Minoru Genda, the key planner of the attack. Also very interesting is "An Intimate Look at the Japanese Navy," by Masataka Chihaya, a former officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who shortly after the end of the war cataloged his services' successes and failures. It's a very clear-eyed document, and deserves a close reading.
On the whole, this is a very good book to add to your shelf of Pearl Harbor books (and anyone who has such a shelf unquestionably needs this).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on June 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Germany collapsed in 1945, the German war records were taken over, microfilmed and stored in a vast warehouse in Maryland. Pretty much anything a historian wanted to find out was there, if he could find it.

But when Japan collapsed later that year, there were not many records to take as prize. Many were destroyed in the war, and the humiliated Japanese purposefully destroyed most of the rest.

Thus it happens that it makes some sense -- though mostly tedious readings -- to publish the research papers collected over 50 years by Gordon Prange. Prange was a historian on the staff of the Occupation, and he mobilized ex-Imperial Japanese Navy staff officers to reconstruct some of the missing important operational orders, and to provide narratives of Navy thinking and planning before and during the war.

These were published in two volumes, this one and later "The Pacific War Papers," and they are valuable enough, even if the editing leaves a lot to be desired. (A.A. Vandegrift would have been surprised to learn that he was a vice admiral, since he was a Marine.)

In the "Pearl Harbor Papers," we have some letters of Admiral Yamamoto, war diaries of units of the fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor and several retrospective studies by Masataka Chihaya, who was an important collaborator of Prange's in his various studies, such as "At Dawn We Slept."

Since Prange's books were thorough (he notoriously never thought he was finished and it was up to his American acolytes Dillon and Goldstein to get several into shape for publication after his death), nothing very startling emerges from reading his research papers.

They are not without their own interest, though.
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