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Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th Hardcover – May 15, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Having completed their Civil War trilogy, ex–House Speaker Gingrich and historian Forstchen return their attention to World War II (they previously collaborated on 1945). The attack on Pearl Harbor occupies the final quarter of the book, and the extensive leadup begins in 1930s Japan and provides readers not well versed in Japanese history a decent thumbnail sketch of Japanese culture and the events that preceded the attack. The authors' research shines in accurate accounts of diplomatic maneuvering as well as the nuts-and-bolts of military action, beginning with the Japanese invasion of China. Fans of the authors will expect their trademark "alternative" ending. In this case, the Japanese attack far more vigorously and devastate a larger chunk of the U.S. Pacific fleet than they actually did. How this affects the war's outcome will be revealed in the sequel. Gingrich and Forstchen, though adept at bigger-picture issues, falter when it comes to establishing and developing characters; FDR, Churchill and Hirohito come across as caricatures who move the plot along by mouthing historically appropriate lines, while the soldier-heroes exist to explain their nation's point-of-view to the reader. The recent success of Letters from Iwo Jima may attract readers who would otherwise shy away from military history fiction. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gingrich and Forstchen roll out the first installment in their eagerly anticipated World War II series. As they did in their bestselling Civil War series, they rewrite history, providing alternative scenarios that parallel actual events. Basing this novel on pivotal questions of leadership and military strategy, they play out what would have happened if the decisive and hawkish Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto had led the attack on Pearl Harbor instead of his more cautious subordinate, Admiral Nagumo. According to the authors, Yamamoto would have ordered another series of strikes, strikes that would effectively alter the entire course of the war. Leaving readers hanging on December 8, they provide plenty of fodder for ensuing volumes. Although it is intriguing to have much of the story told from the Japanese point-of-view, the narrative often plods and the dialogue lacks sufficient punch to do justice to the subject matter. Still, it is always fun to re-imagine history, and Gingrich and Forstchen won't disappoint their previously established audience of military fiction enthusiasts. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The problem I have with this book is the same as with other books of this type. What's next? Where do the authors go from here. Pearl Harbor is in flames. In thier other book, Halsey goes on the offensive. While we all know how this ends, it would be nice to see what "what if" they can create that would be believable. I wish them luck.
And what an amazing ride Pearl Harbor was! I literally wasted away two days straight, not being able to put the book down. The book is historically accurate and tells the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941...but with a twist. Essentially, the book is telling a "what-if" scenario. The whole premise of the book is what would've happened if one key decision had been changed by the Japanese prior to their bombing, and how that would've affected the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor does an amazing job of getting the reader interested in all the details leading up to that fateful day. It introduces you to major historical figures and goes in-depth into some of the decisions that were made in the years prior. One of the book's biggest strengths is its ability to stay unbiased throughout. The story is told from both viewpoints, the Japanese and the American (with even a bit of Winston Churchill's Great Britain thrown in for good measure). It gives an accurate description of each and the reader will most likely find themselves understanding a little bit better what drove the Japanese to attack in such a way.
Overall, it is a chilling story with only a few slight flaws. Since it is a historically accurate book, character development lacks quite a bit and at times the story seems a bit dull. There were points in the book that I just wanted them to get to the point...Pearl Harbor. There is lots of dialogue and lots of historical background discussed...and the reader will sometimes find themselves tuning out.
In the end, I enjoyed it and would definitely suggest it for those interested in WWII or history in general. It's definitely not a book for everyone.