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

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

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Product Details

  • Series: Military Controversies
  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1St 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Griffith on October 11, 2012
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
Having read at least a dozen books on this subject I have found this to be the best. He actually has an overabundance of research to back up his conclusions. The only reason for subtracting a star in my review was that I thought he could have left some of the weaker "facts" out. For instance, in some cases he quotes witnesses whose reports are not verified by anything other than their own memory. When you say that "someone said" or "someone saw" it's just not good enough. He has here more than enough real evidence to make his case without "padding" it. His conclusions are both believable and logical. His summation is devastating. I did love the book as it is very well written and entertaining. I really could not put it down. I've read it at least half a dozen times.
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Format: Paperback
At first book this book seems like a Pearl Harbor revisionist history. It is sort of that but it has a lot more to offer than most of the books like that. If you are a fan of St. FDR you will be incredibly offended by this book. If you are a student of World War Two history most of this book won't be new.

The book is a concise history of Roosevelt policy in 40 and 41 towards both Germany and Japan. He argues with evidence that the US was headed for a war. The book is very well researched. All throughout the book the author takes pieces of various documents to make his point. This really adds texture to the points. It makes you feel the events as they unfold. Most of these revisionist books isn't very well researched.

I think the book will open up a lot of eyes. He really does a good job documenting how Roosevelt was really pushing the envelope of the neutrality act against both countries. You could argue FDR was rising to the challenge or pushing things looking for an incident to justify war. I know most people don't realize how aggressive the US were before the war. The book documents it all. We were running shooting convoys in the Atlantic before Pear Harbor. This action cost several destroyers and scores of sailors lives. The US Coast Guard cutter Modoc was out looking for the German Ship Bismark which it briefly found. FDR both moved the fleet to Pearl Harbor to Japan and imposed an embargo crippling Japan in early 41. Those things really got Japan's attention and made them feel they had nothing to lose.

The book takes time go over the evidence about what was known about the Japanese strike before hand. Most of the information in the book is in other books, but not all of it. That is where things get really, really interesting.
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