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Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 25, 2011
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James T. Patterson, Professor of History, Emeritus, Brown University
“Pearl Harbor is a first-rate book by a fine historian. Steven Gillon, closely describing FDR's reactions to the Japanese attack, reminds us of the shrewdness and skill of Roosevelt’s leadership. Both erudite and fast-paced, this is a book for scholars and general readers alike.”
David B. Woolner, Senior Fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and Associate Professor of History, Marist College
“In this fascinating account of the first 24 hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Steven Gillon manages to capture not only the essence of perhaps the most critical day in twentieth century American history; but also the essence of the man who stood at the center of it all—Franklin D. Roosevelt. A brilliant piece of investigative history, Pearl Harbor tells us a great deal about the character of the President who, though unable to walk unaided, brought the United States safely through the two great crises of the modern era, the Great Depression and World War Two. This is a must read for anyone who wishes to gain a complete understanding of FDR and the nation he led.”
“In Pearl Harbor Steve Gillon combines impeccable research and historical authority with a narrative so gripping that the book reads like a thriller. This blow-by-blow account of the first 24 hours after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor presents not only a new and detailed version of the reaction to the event but also a new and up-close vision of FDR's leadership.”
“Gillon paints a vivid picture….An excellent introduction to Roosevelt and his times with heavy emphasis on events surrounding Pearl Harbor.”
“Fast paced as any novel, Gillon provides readers with a dramatic examination of this crucial juncture in our history.”
“[Gillon] provides a concise and informative account of Franklin Roosevelt’s initial response to the crisis.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“‘Pearl Harbor’ makes a strong case that Roosevelt shared in the shock all Americans felt…. Fascinating.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Everybody knows that the United States knew the Japanese would attack somewhere. Roosevelt's policies were cutting off the supply of oil to the Japanese. Roosevelt wanted to enter the war but the American people were against it. So Roosevelt kept making policies that put the Japanese in an ever increasing no-win situation. He was baiting them to attack. He just didn't expect the response--a merciless sneak attack at dawn on a Sunday morning. Many scholars now believe Roosevelt did expect an attack at Pearl Harbor but he expected that the battle would be joined, that the Americans would be at battle stations and fighting back the attack. This is why he moved all the carrier groups out to sea a week before Pearl Harbor and transferred some of the battleships to the Atlantic. He was preserving his Navy. He expected that what was at anchor would be sufficient to ward off any attack or sabotage by the Japanese.
But this book would have you believe that Roosevelt had no idea about the Japanese being hostile to American policies. He had no idea the Japanese would attack. This book claims that Roosevelt's policies restricting oil supplies were written by Acheson. That Roosevelt didn't agree with the policy but he let them stand because to reverse them would look like appeasement. Huh? A guy like FDR not writing his own policies? This is total nonsense. This book would have you believe that Roosevelt was not the brilliant-minded, calculating and decisive leader he really was. That instead, he was this weak rube who let other people make the policy. And that he was just so surprised when the Japanese attacked.
War is hell. But according to this book, Roosevelt was on vacation for most of it.
Seriously, don't spend the money. If you really want to read it, get it at the library.
My first thought when I heard of the book was --"Oh no, not another book on this topic. We've already had lots of books, movies, television specials, etc. on Pearl Harbor."
But this book is of interest on several accounts --it focuses on the 24 hours after the attack and how President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation into war --both against Japan and then against Germany. FDR's concise radio speeches to the people and then to Congress, led to a unified response from the U.S.
Gillon notes that FDR had mastered the new medium of radio which was then competing with newspapers as the prime information source. My parents often told me about what they learned from FDR on the radio.
The book points out some failings or questionable actions on Roosevelt's part, including the initial withholding of more specific damage from the attack. Also later, one of his most tragic responses ---the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese residents of the U.S., a failure of his political leadership.
But he also provides many positive details on how FDR reacted those 24 hours between the Pearl Harbor attack
and his war speech to Congress the next day. His wife Eleanor and others on the scene tell how calm he was in dealing with the crisis, but some noted "a rage in his very calmness.'
Gillon rejects the charge that FDR knew about the Japanese attack well before it happened and used it "as a backdoor to war." He says all the evidence shows that the president and his advisers were "genuinely shocked when they learned of the attack.Read more ›
I will confess to being a Roosevelt admirer, but this book gave me a new appreciation for his skill and leadership. But this is no whitewash. The author shows that FDR could be deceptive and also indifferent to the people around him. He dismisses -- and rightly so -- the conspiracy theories that FDR knew of the attack ahead of time. In fact, he doesn't even waste time in the text to do so. He dismisses them in a footnote!
The book blends scholarly research with popular writing to present a refreshing new take on a old historical story. This is the best history book I have read in a long time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dr. Gillon has the unique ability of being able to contextualize historical events for his readers. In this book, Gillon contextualizes FDR's response to the attack on Pearl... Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Pulgarin
A good compilation of facts about the build up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and a focus on the actions in Washington over the 48 hours following the attack. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Owlish52
The book was okay but it still left to many unanswered questions as to why it took the US so long to do something about it..Published 2 months ago by Teanaway
Good read. Bought this for a book review paper for a history class and read it in two days. The author did a good job compiling info but at times seems to deviate from the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
If yours a FDR fan you really read this book! Amazing President in a time of crisis!Published 4 months ago by Richard Nelson
Quick, fascinating read about what happened immediately after the bombing! Fun read!!Published 5 months ago by Kevin T. Curran
This book gave a good perspective to the events that happened before Pearl Harbor and how when some people heard the news some did not believe it until December 8th when the United... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Deborah Albery
The author's ill concealed anti Roosevelt and New Deal bias unfortunately raises havoc with the validity of the study in this below average work. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Casahummm