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The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable (Military Controversies) Hardcover – January 15, 2007
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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. For example, Victor would have benefited greatly from the information in Brian Villa and Timothy Wilford's excellent studies "Signals Intelligence and Pearl Harbor: The State of the Question," Intelligence & National Security, 21:4, 2006, pp. 520-556, and "Warning at Pearl Harbor: Leslie Grogan and the Tracking of the Kido Butai," The Northern Mariner, 11:2, 2001, pp. 1-17. These studies refute the claims of Philip Jacobsen and David Kahn.
The major difference between the Pearl Harbor set up and the "weapons of mass destruction" nonsense that got us into war in Iraq is that in 1941 politicians had to generate a real attack to get us into war - and to lie much more convincingly about it. That is a truly cynical way to analyze the dumbing down of a nation but is unfortunately all too true.
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