And I Was There : Breaking the Secrets - Pearl Harbor and Midway Hardcover – May 15, 2001
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Eddie Layotn's story could be one of the most important to come out of World War II. -- Admiral Arleigh Burke, U.S.N. (Ret.)
About the Author
- Publisher : Konecky & Konecky; 1st Edition (May 15, 2001)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 596 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1568523475
- ISBN-13 : 978-1568523477
- Item Weight : 2.4 pounds
- Best Sellers Rank: #322,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book faithfully documents that magnificent rise from the ashes of Pearl Harbor, and how just six months later, an incredibly accurate and detailed intelligence analysis by the Station Hypho team, led by Commander Joseph Rochefort, provided Chester Nimitz a nearly complete picture of Japanese intentions and timeline, allowing American forces to array themselves for ambush, and score the tide-turning strategic victory at Midway.
Sadly, the book also documents the amazingly selfish inter-Navy war waged between Washington DC Naval intelligence agencies against their Station Hypho counterparts. Layton's prime goal was to combine completely honest narrative, with a desire to correct the record and undo the damage done to Kimmel and Short, plus also after the Midway victory, to Joe Rochefort. Amazingly, the Navy scapegoated and destroyed the career of the man who was most singularly responsible for the grand Midway victory. Within months of what should have elevated Rochefort to great career success in the Navy, he was instead relegated to a punitive assignment as the commander of a floating dry dock ship! And, was prohibited from even sailing his ship outside of port!
The book details how these selfish actions to destroy Rochefort alerted the Japanese to our code breaking success, which had the direct result of keeping US forces in the dark to Japanese intentions regarding the Guadalcanal operation that immediately followed.
No one can read this book without gaining an outstanding insight into the realities of all these machinations. At the same time, one cannot help but feel angry over the sinister and personal animus inflicted upon men who should have been celebrated in the Navy for their skill and performance.
Layton's book may well be the most important narrative of the previously hidden story of how Naval intelligence contributed mightily to the defeat of the Rising Sun, as well as perhaps settling once and for all the true story of how the Pearl Harbor disaster happened, devoid of any attempt to scapegoat, but also no desire to whitewash factual accountability.
Of the many books on Pearl Harbor and the battle of Midway that I have read, this is the most honest and thorough of the lot. In addition to the two major events, the book also explores the effect radio intelligence had on later events of the war. That Kimmel and Short were scapegoats for failures in Washington is brought out clearly and convincingly, as is the fact that the vanities and obstructionism of the Turners should have got them court-martialed.
Finished by the co-authors and Mrs. Layton from the Admiral's handwritten notebooks after his death, this book is so jam-packed with behind-the-scenes details of WWII and code-breaking history that you will want to re-read it, repeatedly. This is one amazing expose' of FDR, Churchill, the War Department, the Navy Department, and the intrigues that the American public was never aware of while the events were unfolding.
Thankfully, by the time of this book's publication, some of the WWII decodes had been declassified and there was now an open discussion of the "MAGIC" intercepts of Japanese communications.
Admiral Layton really was there. He knew where every intercept station was and what they were doing. He was at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack on December 7, 1941, and he was a key man in code-breaking in the Pacific Theater for the rest of the war. His pre-war experience in Japan is absolutely fascinating, with great drama that is better than a Hollywood movie. He makes a strong case in support of Admiral Kimmel.
As far as this book, it is a must ready by anyone who is into World War II history. It lets you understand what those in Pearl both knew and didn't know and as to why. It gives you an insight into the intelligence game as well as codes and ciphers used during that period and the difficulties in trying to read other people's mail.
I have to salute Rear Admiral Layton as well as the other writers who saw this book through to completion even after his death. Thank you for putting the record straight.