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The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable (Military Controversies) Hardcover – January 15, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson
"The Black Presidency"
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Editorial Reviews


"A very informative addition to recent literature that reveals the consequences from mismanagement of intelligence information in Washington that permitted the attackers to achieve surprise. Dr. Victor provides unique information on President Roosevelt's policy formulations and implementing actions against Japan that paralleled his many initiatives to enter the war against Hitler. Highly recommended." -- Vice Adm. David C. Richardson, USN (Ret.), former commander of the Sixth Fleet

From the Publisher

Available for the sixty-fifth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

Based partly on newly released naval intelligence documents


Product Details

  • Series: Military Controversies
  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; annotated edition edition (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597970425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597970426
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Objective newcomers to the Pearl Harbor case will be amazed at the comments in the negative reviews of this book. They will rightly wonder if the critics read the same book that they read.

Victor's book is one of the very best, most carefully researched books on Pearl Harbor in existence. It is that good. Using disclosures and released documents, Victor builds a strong case that FDR and certain other high officials were specifically, explicitly warned that Pearl Harbor would be attacked and that they deliberately withheld this and other critical information from the commanders at Pearl Harbor because they wanted an "incident" severe enough to galvanize the American people to support entering the war.

Victor does an excellent job of debunking a number of standard explanations for key events related to Pearl Harbor. For example, he makes a good case that FDR did not fire Admiral Richardson because Richardson had hurt his feelings when they argued over basing the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. He also makes a good case that FDR did not suddenly reject Japan's modus vivendi proposal because the Chinese strenuously objected to it.

Now, I have yet to encounter the "perfect" book. This is to say that, yes, Victor does make some errors, but they are relatively minor and few in number. In contrast, most books that defend the traditional Pearl Harbor contain far more errors and those errors are much more severe than the ones in Victor's book.

If anything, as strong as Victor's case is, in a few instances he understates it because he was apparently unaware of certain studies that add additional support to his research.
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Format: Hardcover
The author asks a series of questions about Pearl Harbor:

Did U.S. intelligence know of Japan's coming attack on Pearl Harbor? His answer is, Yes. There were a lot of warnings. This question, however, really needs to be expanded. Yes, there were a lot of warnings, or maybe you'd call them hints of warnings. These were received by lots of people, mostly at a lower level. After the war they reported that they had passed these warnings along to upper management. (What else could you expect them to say?) Upper management said they never got them. (What else could you expect them to say?) So my answer is: Some people had warnings. U.S. Intelligence did not at a senior level have a solid consensus.

He asks: Did President Roosevelt know? If he did, he took it to the grave with him. I think he expected an attack by Japan somewhere in the pacific but he didn't expect it to hurt as much as it did. Did he know Pearl Harbor, I think he expected elsewhere.

Was there a coverup? Absolutely. Would you admit knowing in advance and not doing anything? Only if you had some desire to spend some time in Leavenworth.

Did the US have disguised combat operations that began six months before the Pearl Harbor attack? I don't know about them being disguised, but we were escorting merchant ships part way across the Atlantic.

Conclusion. Mr. Victor believes a conspiracy was responsible for Pearl Harbor. I tend to not believe in a conspiracy when simple incompetence can account for what happened. Especially in this case where the Americans believed that the Japanese were so inferior. Mr. Victor does though present some very strong arguments that make his book interesting reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A text published for the sixty-fifith anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, Victor gives us a solid and balanced portrayal of the tensions in the world around that time, depicts the major geo-political actors, and provides excellent background information on their respective goals and constraints, particularly the dynamics of the Japanese governmental system.

This book is a very ambitious undertaking which approaches this period with a reasoned viewpoint. It has a clear structure, a logical flow for the reader, and brings to bear a broad set of citations as supportive references.

While stressing that his position is not to pass "moral" judgments, particularly on FDR and his War Cabinet, Victor does overtly rationalize their purpose in using the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor as bait, and hence the over-arching need to keep Kimmel and Short "in the dark" regarding the known pending attack on Pearl Harbor. That this is so is clearly demonstrated by the very well-known comment in the Knox Report (delivered December 15, 1941), the so-called "Knox December 6, 1941 midnight" Washington message, intended ONLY for Kimmel in Hawaii. That the message was never sent is the "smoking gun" and a stain on America's history and the credibility of those "court" historians who ignore its significance, if they are aware of it at all. And, wonder of wonders, that Knox message has never been found - imagine that!

The risk of alerting the Kido Butai was too great, the Japanese had to unambiguously "fire the first shot" ... and that deliberately thousands of lives were lost, that deliberately the Pacific Fleet was crippled, ... Well, the US just had to get into the war against Germany.
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