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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 49 reviews
on December 2, 2016
Although I've read over 50 books on Pearl Harbor, this was the most concise. Of course it had to be as the Secretary of War ordered everybody involved to tell the truth or go to jail. This was quite an advantage over the hundreds of authors who had to take everyone's word for whatever they said.
Unfortunately there are still inconsistencies like, did General Short have the radar system working on the morning of the attack. This book says no, where as I have heard the flyer that took the phone call from the operators say that he made a mistake by not taking them seriously. This author or authors were extremely unfair to Short who only received a fraction of the info that the Navy was supposed to pass on.
If you are interested in the Pearl Harbor mystery, you have to read this book even if you don't want to.
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on February 27, 2016
This is a vital book if you want to understand Pearl Harbor and the subsequent investigations. Henry Clausen was a former US prosecutor in private law practice who volunteered to join the JAG after Pearl Harbor. After the first investigations (Pearl Harbor Army Board) were tainted by issues over secret Japanese codes, Mr. Clausen was asked by Secretary of War Stimson to lead a separate investigation. This he did by personal interviews with all the key participants. He had the skill of a lawyer/prosecutor to get answers and sift through misrepresentations. He got a number of officers to admit in depositions that they had lied in their Army Board testimony. It is impossible to make an accurate judgment of the Pearl Harbor investigations without the background this book provides on the Clausen report. Naturally, Mr. Clausen is not "balanced" like a pure historian, am he may reach conclusions that others may find incorrect, but he lays out the evidence with respect and acknowledgment of the gaps, and is fair.

Even if you read all 20,000+ pages of the congressional Pearl Harbor Hearings on Pearl Harbor (which incorporates the official Clausen Report), you cannot understand many of the issues without reading this book.
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on July 29, 2016
I have read many, many books on Pearl Harbor. In my honest opinion, Clausen's book materially adds to the body of knowledge about that event rather than merely repeating what others have already said. I had overlooked it for years, but am glad that I finally added it to my collection.

Clausen has a unique perspective because he was a lawyer by trade serving as a lowly Major in the Army Judge Advocate Corps. Clausen did gain some visibility prior to undertaking an assignment by Secretary of War Stimson which forms the main subject for this book. He worked closely with then Senator Harry Truman when investigating graft and corruption affecting government defense procurement and he also served as a legal advisor for the original Army Pearl Harbor Board. Clausen was a close study of those testifying to that board where he noticed that some witnesses seemed to be holding important facts from the board members. As a result, Clausen did a good job on behalf of Secretary Stimson of following up on discrepancies in the Army Pearl Harbor Board findings not only because of the consummately professional manner in which he approached any legal challenge, but also because he wanted to discover more about the "hidden forces" that influenced the earlier proceedings.

During the course of his investigation, which is detailed in the book, Clausen determined that the lack of unity of command and failure to share intelligence contributed to the debacle at Pearl Harbor - prompting congressional action over a period of years and in some cases decades that led up to the creation of the National Security Agency and Unified Commands such as exist today (CENTCOM, NORTHCOM, EUCOM, etc.).

As a trial lawyer, Clausen is not hesitant to name names. The decisions by individuals whom he feels contributed to the disaster that took place on 7 December 1941 are laid out methodically and revisited for emphasis. Indeed, he does name those people who he believes exhibited unprofessional or a blatant lack of judgment. Although I wont revisit the entire list of fourteen individuals, Clausen convinced me that Admiral Kimmel and General Short deserve the lion's share of the blame. For instance, Kimmel interpreted unity of command as cultivating a personal friendship with Short, but drew the line at that concession as he neglected to encourage meaningful inter-service coordination to include not sharing vital intelligence (it should be pointed out that the Navy and not the Army had broken the Japanese codes - therefore the latter was dependent on the former for that information). Short had no experience at the operational level and clearly did not want to be stationed in Hawaii given his wife much rather wanted his last assignment to be in the Washington DC area. Both officers were served poorly by their respective staffs, which seemed to have grown used to the torpor of the tropics despite the real threat of a Japanese attack. That said, blame doesn't reside solely in Hawaii as many members of the Army and Navy staff in Washington DC also took a "business as usual" attitude as tensions rose in the Pacific. For instance, replacing the commander of the Hawaiian Department in February 1941 with someone who had only commanded training units during his entire Army career doesn't seem the smartest move in the book.

For those who focus on the "Winds" messages as determining whether or not the Army and Navy should have been on the alert, I would also point out that Clausen's collected fifty six pages worth of operational messages to Hawaii between January and December 1941 warning of potential aggressive moves by the Japanese. If I were the commander, I probably would have taken notice of that much correspondence. Revelations like that make reading this book worthwhile. Though I will concede that it is a bit dry and will only hold the attention of specialists and serious historians. If you fall into those categories, then I highly recommend this book to you.
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on May 28, 2016
I have always wondered what REALLY happened at Pearl Harbor. I've always felt Kimmel was responsible given the world affairs of the time. This book laid out chapter and verse and who knew what and when. It broadened my perspective of all who were involved and those not performing as they should have. I did have a tough time keeping track of the cast of characters but this was a deficiency on my part, not the authors. I liked the insight into the personalities of those involved and the documentation of the facts presented. If you are really curious about why Pearl Harbor occurred, this is a must read!
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on September 25, 2016
Many years ago I read Edwin Layton’s book And I Was There. At the time I thought he gave a pretty good defense of Kimmel and Short, but after reading Henry Clausen’s book and getting the rest of the story, I don’t believe that now. I was amazed at the system the Army and Navy had to process and disseminate intelligence to our civilian and military leader. It was such a slipshod system that might have “worked” in peace time, but left much to be desired if a threat was approaching. I thought the stories Clausen related about the depositions he took from dozens of people as well as his testimony before members of Congress who had their own agendas were very interesting. I also appreciated the way he rated the people at the center of the events and gave them a score for how culpable they were for the attack. It’s a shame Clausen’s report wasn’t declassified years earlier and released to the public.
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on December 16, 2016
If you are weighing the purchase of this title, I urge you to read all the other reviews, giving full weight to the 5-star evaluations, several of which are very well done. I have owned and treasured this title in paperback for years, and have cited it almost every time I'm in a discussion of the Dec. 7 attack.

I suspect that at least a couple of the "pans" were written by those who simply unable to accept Adm. Kimmel's and Gen. Short's responsibility for the degree of destruction, and the role played by Republican isolationists on Capitol Hill. Consider that possibility as you read the "pans". Then, as now, there was a strain of rationalization that sought to minimize threats from abroad, even as it proved ready to promote witch-hunts at home.
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on December 21, 2016
No work demonstrates more clearly the failures of the command in Pearl Harbor, and failures of the intelligence system in general that resulted in the surprise that was the attack on Pearl Harbor. Based on his own classified investigation into how the the Army Pearl Harbor board produced an unreliable report, Clausen, with the skill of a detective novelist, takes us through his investigation and provides judgements of culpability for the disaster. No defender of Admiral Kimmel or General can come away thinking that they had done their jobs in accordance with what the nation was entitled to expect of such senior commanders.
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on December 25, 2016
Fascinating read that answers the questions as to why we were caught by surprise and so completely unprepared to defend our main navel base in the Pacific on December 7, 1941. Includes the transcripts of the "Magic" message's and testimonies of the persons questioned by the author as the JAGD investigator for the Secretary of War Stimson and presented to the joint Congressional committee in 1946. An excellent read and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the Second World War, the intelligence or military history.
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on January 26, 2017
An excellent work! I was not aware of the deliberate subterfuge foisted on the public by the first "official" Pearl Harbor report. The amount of effort expended by Clausen in fulfilling his mission might be unbelievable -- except for the affidavits/acknowledgements of the numerous interviewees.

It makes one wonder if he can believe ANY government report. I thoroughly enjoyed it and sincerely appreciate author Clausen's patient pursuit and completion of his assignment.
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on July 11, 2016
I have always loved the history of WWII. This hard-hitting analysis of Pearl Harbor dispels the myths and debunks the conspiracies that I have heard in the past. Definitely a "10".
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