- Paperback: 928 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 60th Anniversary Edition edition (December 1, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140157344
- ISBN-13: 978-0140157345
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor 60th Anniversary Edition Edition
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From Library Journal
ea. vol: Penguin. 2001. photogs. bibliog. index. pap. $20.95.HIST Prange's twin volumes offer everything you always wanted to know about Pearl Harbor but were afraid to ask, plus pictures! Together, these tomes comprise an exhaustive study of the day that will live in infamy. Prange takes a long, hard look at President Roosevelt's relationship with Japan and implies that FDR all but goaded the empire into bombing the Hawaiian base. With the 60th anniversary of the attack approaching, there no doubt will be many volumes released and rereleased, but these are among the best.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Prange's exhaustive interviews of people on both sides enable him to tell the story in such personal terms that the reader is bound to feel its power....It is impossible to forget such an account. —The New York Times Book Review
Diligent, thorough, and evenhanded...At Dawn We Slept is the definitive account of Pearl Harbor. —Chicago Sun-Times
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Top Customer Reviews
While there have been many books and theories proposed about why and how the debacle at Pearl Harbor took place, Prange's approach is well documented, and includes details of the pre-attack politics of the USA and of Japan. His book also includes detailed information about the attack itself, gleaned from interviews with those on both sides who actually participated in the event. But, even with that level of detail, I must admit that the most compelling part of the book for me is the section that follows the actual attack -- when the US government and the military were trying to figure out what actually happened, and who was to blame.
The final series of chapters of the book provide insight into the thoughts and tactics of Adm. Kimmell (CincPAC) and Gen Short (Commanding General of army at Hawaii), the two primary "interested parties" in the event.
Before reading the book, I had a tendency to believe that there may have been something of a conspiracy by the Roosevelt administration to get us into WWII, but after reading this account of Pearl Harbor, I am more likely to believe that the great success, including complete surprise by Japanese naval aviation was the result of a series of ill-advised decisions by the commanders at Hawaii rather than by any entity in Wash DC.
The sticky point in the whole affair was "magic" the US's code-breaking machine that allowed us to monitor coded diplomatic messages sent between Tokyo and some of its embassies. While "magic" was the source of a great deal of information that may have resulted in a different outcome at Pearl Harbor if the commanders there had access to it, we will never really know.
If you are interested in looking in repurcussions from the attack at Pearl Harbor, or if you have an interest in thinking about the whys and hows of the US entry into WWII, I urge you to read this book.
The writing is passable, though sometimes quite dry. The information is well documented, and is believable. This is not, however, a quick read -- there is a lot of meat in this book to be digested as you go along.
All in all an outstanding contribution to the telling of a sensitive piece of American history.
5 stars for content and believability.
Of all the many books I have read about the Pearl Harbor attack, I think “At Dawn We Slept” ranks as the definitive account of this subject. Gordon Prange (1910-1980) was a Professor of History at the University of Maryland. During World War II and in the years immediately following, he served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy. He met and interviewed many of the people – both Japanese and American – directly involved in the Pearl Harbor attack. He began writing the manuscript for “At Dawn We Slept” based on those interview, as well as countless hours of independent historical research.
Prange’s meticulous investigation of his subject, and his prodigious writing talents are evident on every one of the 889 pages of his book. He describes the planning, execution, and follow-up investigations into the Pearl Harbor attack with a level of detail that borders on amazing. He includes conversations between the most senior leaders in the Japanese Navy as they begin planning for what they called “Operation Hawaii.” Prange also discusses the political opposition among many senior Japanese naval officers to the proposed attack, and the unique way that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto overcame that opposition. Prange’s narrative of the attack on Pearl Harbor itself is crisp and searing.
The final section of “At Dawn We Slept” is perhaps the most important. In it, Prange describes the many investigations into the Pearl Harbor attack carried out by various Federal commissions, military courts and boards of inquiry, and Congressional committees, all seeking to fix blame for the Pearl Harbor attack. Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Army General Walter C. Short took the brunt of the blame – deservedly so, in Prange's view – for their errors of judgment in failing to be on alert for the possibility of an attack. Prange is very clear in his historical judgment that neither President Roosevelt nor any senior cabinet-level official knew beforehand about the attack. Nor did they conspire to use the attack to bring the United States into the war.
I thoroughly enjoyed “At Dawn We Slept.” Despite its great length, I read it in about ten days. It ranks as one of the finest works of history I’ve read in many years. Most highly recommended.
the Japanese caught us with our pants down. Written 20 years before 911.