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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941 Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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“[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.”
“In this lively account…Weintraub gives us an America newly traumatized by its forcible engagement in a war it had resisted for two years.”
“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.”
“A must-read for history buffs…Entertaining.”
“[An] absorbing story.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Solid in research. Weintraub is an expert at citing and finding great sources for his historical books.”
“[An] exceptional piece of historical reporting about one of the defining events of the 20th century.”
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.”
“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.”
“[A] compelling history of the most remarkable holiday season in the 20th century.”
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Top customer reviews
I expected lots of information about the homefront and how people were rallying around after the Pearl Harbor attacks. Instead, the book was a day by day account, from December 21, 1941 (when Winston Churchill arrived in the U.S.) through the end of the year. Hmm, actually, through New Year's Day.
Because it was a chronological account, it seemed terribly disjointed. Lots of information about the talks between FDR and the prime minister and their respective staffs. Plenty of discussion of the war and those initial losses but, oddly enough, almost nothing about Pearl Harbor itself.
Unfortunately, outside of an occasional reference to how blackouts weren't really in effect on the East Coast yet, how rationing would begin, and about the lighting of the national Christmas tree, there was very little on the homefront, to my disappointment.
Adding to the feel of bouncing around so much, with every topic covered seemingly every day, there's also the issue of the international date line.
To sum up, this is a somewhat interesting book that could've been a whole lot better.
Just three days before Christmas, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington. He and President Roosevelt would use this time to map out a plan to defeat the axis powers. While in Washington, Churchill and Roosevelt met the press, lit the White House Christmas Tree, and decided on a "Germany First" plan of action.
Weintraub has written an interesting book about the early days of the war. Of particular interest to me was the discussion of Churchill's visit to the White House. Battling terrible sea conditions, Churchill managed to cross the stormy Atlantic on the battleship HMS Duke of York. Once in Washington, Churchill's personality shone through, as members of Congress and the American press flocked to the British leader. Churchill would go on to address a joint session of Congress and participate in American Christmas customs.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I thought Weintraub could have went into a little more detail. The book is relatively short (200 pages), so there is only basic information provided. This said, I did learn bits of information from reading this book that I didn't know before. Recommended.
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