(Review) Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness by Craig Nelson



Publisher and Publication Date: Scribner. September 20, 2016.
Genre: Nonfiction, history, World War II, Pearl Harbor attack.
Pages: 544.
Source: Library.
Rating: Excellent.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. Their primary focus was at Pearl Harbor; however, they attacked other airfields on the island, and they even attacked civilians who were in their path. There were two attack waves of planes. The attack lasted about two hours. The planes caring torpedoes inflicted heavy damage to the ships. Several ships were tied to each other and at dry dock. The Japanese had wanted to attack and destroy the aircraft carriers, but they were out at sea. There were 96 ships at Pearl Harbor during the attack. This is a list of the ships and what happened to them: List of United States Navy present at Pearl Harbor. Another valuable source is a fact sheet from the government: Pearl Harbor Fact Sheet.
Pearl Harbor is a detailed history of the attack, Imperial Japan, the building up of the Great Pacific War/World War II, America’s response before and after the attack, and eyewitness stories.

The death count was 2,403. Most of the deaths were aboard the Arizona.
The names of 669 deaths are unknown to this day, and this is an estimate.

My Thoughts:
I have many thoughts, and most of them are emotions without adequate words.
I love this book, and several reasons are listed below.
To begin with, there are two strong points about this book.
1. Craig Nelson lets the history and eyewitness stories support the book.
2. It is a strong testament to the courageous American military men.
Pearl Harbor gives a close-up examination of Imperial Japan. Their mindset, aggressive actions against other countries, and preparations for the Pearl Harbor attack. The rape and murderous rampage in China is shocking to me. They were swept up in a frenzy of evil. One of the Japanese men remarked, “It was almost like being addicted to murder.”
How Americans perceived the Japanese, as well as how the Japanese perceived Americans are shared.
The island of Oahu, Hawaii. It was a peaceful, relaxed type atmosphere. On the day of the attack, it was a beautiful day. It was believed to be a safe paradise.
The process of the attacks on the island are carefully and chronologically shown. Beginning at Wheeler Field, Schofield Barracks, and followed by Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Bellows Field, Ewa Field, Hickam Air Force Base, Ford Island, and the Pearl Harbor U.S. Naval Base.
Pearl Harbor is filled with eyewitness stories from men and women (military and civilian), including those who were children during the attack, both Americans and Japanese.
A nurse remarked she was at the new Hickam Field Hospital. It had been open three weeks. There were six nurses. They did not have all the mattresses yet to cover the beds. They gave the wounded morphine, not much else could be done in many cases.
Craig Nelson organizes the ships according to the events of their attack, damage, loss of life, and those that were wounded.
How President Roosevelt handled hearing the news. His words and behavior are given.
After the attack, the Doolittle Raid; and in brief, the Pacific War and the Japanese surrender.
The book ends with the historical figures involved. What happened to these men during and after the war.
When I finished the book it was the day after Memorial Day. Books like Pearl Harbor are a vivid reminder of the true meaning of Memorial Day. I’ve read quotes on Facebook pertaining to the holiday-to remember why we have this special day. Pearl Harbor is a testament of the men (and women) who gave courageously and sacrificed for America.

Additional links on the Pearl Harbor attack:
Pearl Harbor Warbirds


World War II is a favorite genre for me, because my dad was in the army during World War II. Today is the anniversary of D-Day, Normandy, France. My dad was one of the soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. The photograph below is my dad receiving the Bronze Star.
dad getting Bronze Star


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