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At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange
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At Dawn We Slept (1981)

by Gordon W. Prange

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Holy cats! This text is such an incredible source of historical information regarding Pearl Harbor. The book is written in an easy-to-follow narrative and all is easy to understand (not too many nautical/aeronautical terms thrown everywhere). This text covers the building up to, the attack itself and the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. It includes all the planning and trials, the espionage and war games, the powder keig build up, the devastation, and the consequences and trials that followed. This is an amazing piece of literature that should definitely earn it's place next to classics such as War and Peace. Highly recommend! ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Jan 2, 2018 |
An ambitious, academic work on the causes, reasons, outcomes and aftermaths of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Its probably one of the most well known events of WWII, but there was a lot that I never knew. Especially on the Japanese side, where the idea came from? how and when it was decided to go, and the logistical problems that arose. Not the least of which was that they had to completely redesign torpedo bombs, as they would not work in the shallow draft of the harbor. On the US side, I was amazed to see that bureaucracy and partisanship is nothing new and existed even during the unifying events of the war.

In the rear-view mirror of history, it is very easy to see where things went wrong and how the attack couldn't have been anticipated or prevented. In the book relatively little time is spent on the actual attak itself and the last big section deals with the aftermath, mostly around the many hearings and investigations that were undertaken to assign blame. Someone has to be blamed, right? To be honest, it was here that I tapped out and put the book down and decided to call it finished. The politics and who did what to whom, or who didn't do what to some other whom, didn't really interest me.

Despite this disappointing finish (for me), it is a worthwhile read for any history buff. Truth is always stranger and more interesting than fiction, or at least it usually is.

"He stands before the inquisitive historian in taut watchfulness, courteous, painstaking, and inscrutable, forever holding the citadel of his own personality"

6/10

S: 6/26/16 - F: 10/30/16 (127 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Oct 30, 2016 |
Rated: B- ( )
  jmcdbooks | Jan 29, 2013 |
It’s not often that I get to use the word, definitive, but it certainly fits [At Dawn We Slept]. This book offers its readers everything they could possibly want with regard to the who, what, when, where, and why of the planning and execution of the raid, as well as the who, what, when, where, and why of how the U. S. failed to anticipate their actions and protect Pearl Harbor from a likely attack. It is filled with the incredible research done by Gordon Prange over almost 40 years, tracing down not only written information in letters, diaries, newspapers, magazines, and government records, but finding and interviewing well over 100 people, both in the U. S. and Japan.

I was surprised that I grew to be so interested in some of the major players in this moment in history that I actually felt for them a great deal of sympathy or, in the case, of some, cheered them on. Through this very long book they became like family or close friends.

Of course, I’ve lived my entire life knowing much about the Pearl Harbor attack. The following are some of the things I learned which were new to me or different than I had come to believe:

Yamamoto clearly understood that Japan had no hope of ultimate victory over the United States. He perceived Pearl Harbor as a knockout punch – damage and temporary containment.

The Japanese gathered mounds of information about Pearl Harbor merely by having one of their agents drive around the area and take notes. Security was so lax that the comings and goings of all ships were published in the newspapers every morning.

Neither Short nor Kimmel were privy to the Honolulu intercepts of Japanese coded transmissions, which were translated daily, and delivered to a very select few.

The Japanese originally estimated that the Pearl Harbor attack would cost them one third of their task force because they anticipated that the U. S. would discover them and respond accordingly.

Ambassador Nomura had no knowledge of the planning of Pearl Harbor. He only learned of it after he had returned from his final trip to the U. S. Ambassador. The Japanese government purposely kept him in the dark.

As early as October 11 Japan chose the date of December 7 (Hawaii time) for the attack.

FDR did not know about Pearl Harbor prior to its occurrence. He did not intentionally suppress information in order to bring it about.

The first blood spilt was by a Japanese and first shot fired was by the U. S.

On a personal note, the book was too inclusive. The editors did the reader no favors by putting in all that was gathered. Also, I found it very annoying that they used [sic] so often when the text was grammatically incorrect, especially since Prange misused forms of bring and take. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jul 31, 2011 |
In depth investigation and analysis. Highly recommend. ( )
  Hedgepeth | Nov 28, 2009 |
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Long before sunrise on New Year's Day, 1941, Emperor Hirohito rose to begin the religious service at the court marking the 2,601st anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire.
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Awaiting authentication of the submarine sinking report, Ramsey stood near a window of the Ford Island command center, watching the color guard prepare to hoist the flag. At about 0755 he heard the scream of a plane diving over the station, turned to Ballinger, and said, "Dick, get that fellow's number, for I want to report him for about sixteen violations of the course and safety regulations." As the plane went into its dive, each man looked out separate windows to follow its course. "Dick, did you get his number?" Ramsey asked. "No, but I think it was a squadron commander's plane because I saw a band of red on it," replied Ballinger. "Check with the squadrons and find out which squadron commanders' planes are in the air," Ramsey ordered. That very instant Ballinger reported, "I saw something black fall out of that plane when it completed its dive." At precisely 0757 an explosion reverberated from the hangar area. Ramsey's face changed in swift comprehension. "Never mind the squadron commander, Dick," he exclaimed. "That was a Jap plane and a delayed action bomb." The words scarcely out of his mouth, Ramsey raced across the corridor to the radio room and ordered all radiomen on duty to send out in plain English""AIR RAID, PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT DRILL!" Thus, at exactly 0758 one of the most famous radio messages ever dispatched clicked over the airwaves.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140157344, Paperback)

At 7:53 a.m., December 7, 1941, America's national consciousness and confidence were rocked as the first wave of Japanese warplanes took aim at the U.S. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. As intense and absorbing as a suspense novel, At Dawn We Slept is the unparalleled and exhaustive account of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is widely regarded as the definitive assessment of the events surrounding one of the most daring and brilliant naval operations of all time. Through extensive research and interviews with American and Japanese leaders, Gordon W. Prange has written a remarkable historical account of the assault that-sixty years later-America cannot forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The monumental history of Pearl Harbor that The New York Times called "impossible to forget"--Now with a new chapter by Goldstein and Dillon. Based on 37 years of massive research and countless interviews, this is a landmark study written with the dramatic sweep of a martial epic. Record of how Japan planned and executed the attack on Pearl Harbor.… (more)

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