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The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable (Military Controversies) Hardcover – January 15, 2007
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From the Publisher
Based partly on newly released naval intelligence documents
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the end all conspiracy theories on the Pearl Harbor attack fall apart for two reasons;
On 27 November, two weeks before the Japanese attack, both ADM Kimmel and LTG Short... Read more
When I studies history in high school, Pearl Harbor was "the japs did it", no doubt.
In college, mid 60's. Read more
The books that have now been published about the evil act of a socialist president have all been welcome news, but no one knows about them. Read morePublished 9 months ago by CuriousOne
Extremely well documented and organized. I was shocked at the level of duplicity of the Roosevelt administration and the williingness to not only scarf ice the lives at Pearl... Read morePublished 22 months ago by M. Fitzgerald
Clarifies a lot. After reading this well organized presentation, it only serves to bolster the idea that there is still a lot to be learned about this event and our entry into the... Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by michael o'connor
one of the best books on pearl harbor written to date. it leaves no doubt that kimmel and short are the two most maligned men in American history. stark, marshall ,sec. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by john w. ford
Mr. Victor's book really adds nothing to the debate that Morgenstern, Tansill, Barnes, Beard and others did not establish long ago. Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by john thames