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Day of Infamy (1958)

por Walter Lord

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Describes the events of December 7, 1941, before, during, and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as the reactions of the men who lived through the attack.
Adicionado recentemente pormierdogs, jinx66, arlenem7, ambrs57, r3shaver, rick98579, DarrellZ
Bibliotecas LegadasErnest Hemingway
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I read this a long time ago and found it good but I don't remember when it was. I'm guessing on date. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Day of Infamy, published in 1957, provides a minute-by-minute account of the Japanese attach on Pearl Harbor. The author, Walter Lord, also wrote the classic history of the sinking of the Titanic, A Night to Remember. This book is akin to Cornelius Ryan's book about D-Day, The Longest Day, which I read earlier this year, in that Lord ran down as many of the survivors/participants/witnesses to the Pearl Harbor attack as he could and created a "you are there" pastiche, from the planning of the attack by the Japanese, to the innocent, unaware early morning spent by so many around the harbor and the town, to the experience and horror of the attack and battle itself, to the aftermath. Time is spent, also, on the frustrating, tragic string of miscommunication and incredulity about early warning signs of trouble.

I raced through this book in three or four sittings. Lord spends almost no time on the geopolitical context for the attack, nor on the many conspiracy theories that arose later. He just wanted to put you in that place. Thereby, he has created a lastingly important document of what was experienced that day. In addition, the narrative stands as a horrifying testimony for what it's like to be the target of such an attack, no matter who you are or where you live. ( )
  rocketjk | Oct 25, 2018 |
A great narrative of the events of December 7th, 1941 – and only December 7th, 1941. If you are looking for a military history of the importance of the "battle" in the context of the war, of the preparations for it, and its effect on policymakers and the American public, Walter Lord's Day of Infamy isn't it.

But it is an excellent narrative of that day, pieced together from eyewitness accounts into a story that reads almost like a novel. As with A Night to Remember, his book on the Titanic disaster, Lord impressively chronicles the little stories that sometimes get lost in the big picture: the heroism, the sacrifice, the bewilderment and, yes, sometimes the loss of nerve. It is hard to keep track of all the different goings-on and, as Lord admits at the end, it is very difficult to accurately convey a hectic day which was all about surprise, deception, anxiety and fear.

But you get a sense of the individual struggles: the little wars fought by ordinary people on that day, and the examples of unorthodox and spontaneous heroism (I was particularly touched by the example of the civilian crane operator who drove his huge contraption up and down the quayside to deter dive-bombers from attacking a nearby battleship which was in dry-dock – a scene which is visible in the photo on the cover of the book). Lord is a gifted writer as well as a diligent researcher and historian, and there is plenty of evocative imagery: of the Japanese listening to Oahu radio in the night as they approach; of the trapped sailors banging away from inside the capsized hull of the Oklahoma; and of the Nevada underway through the flames with the Star-Spangled Banner flying.

Lord also mentions some of the little trivia that really helps bring out the oddness of the scene: the jukebox that plays 'I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire' because no-one has turned it off since the attack began; the writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan, residing as a civilian in Honolulu and arriving to help dig slit trenches; and, in the sort of eerie coincidence that always seems to accompany great tragedies, the army-and-navy magazine from eight days before the attack, in which a picture of the Arizona – blown up on December 7th – was accompanied by a caption stating 'despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs'. Then there is the weird coda that is the battle for Niihau – of which I knew nothing about beforehand – which reminded me a bit of the Scouring of the Shire in The Lord of the Rings.

And for all Lord's diligence in piecing together experiences of the attack, it is the aftermath where some of the most interesting stuff is to be found. People expected another wave of bombers, others expected a land invasion; some heard that the invasion was already taking place, yet others heard it was taking place in California. We also follow the Japanese after they return to the carriers following their crime. Lord tells us on page 178 that they didn't bother trying to cover their tracks on the flight back: there "just wasn't enough gas for deception". But there was on the way in, and it was to be war. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Dec 7, 2017 |
This was first published in 1957 and I read a 2001 edition published for the 60th Anniversary of the event.

This book was reminiscent of the style that Lord used in his book of two years before, "A Night To Remember" (1955) about the sinking of the Titanic. The story recounts events from official records and eyewitness reports and interviews. The story is told very matter-of-factly and recounts events small and large from the beginning of Japan's plans through the attack. It primarily is told via little bits of many, many people's stories from the night before through the day of the event. The small pictures let us see the big picture unfold. This really isn't so much about how the attack was carried about but rather about some of the people on both sides of the event.At the end of the book is a 9 page list of contributors and a detailed index.

I don't find it so shocking that signals and clues were ignored. This was a very different time than the modern day - there was no instant communication. What is shocking and disturbing is the apparent lack of preparedness by the armed services. I was also bothered by how the events are presented by the author - quite a bit is virtually like a slapstick comedy. No one believes an attack is happening - time after time after time. Since this is apparently how it really was I just found myself shaking my head in disbelief.

I very much appreciated the inclusion of a very detailed map of Ford Island and nearby as well as the path the Japanese navy took.

My overall impression was I wanted more from this book. I've read eyewitness reports of the attack before and this surprisingly didn't seem to rise to the challenge. ( )
1 vote RBeffa | Nov 25, 2016 |
This book, like all of Lord's shares a strength that is also its weakness. Lord did extensive research (take a look at the number of people he interviewed). The story is not told as a dispassionate story but instead is composed of many small vignettes of individual's stories. This is fascinating and takes you into what was happening; it is also hard at times to remember if you had met a particular person before, and, if so, what the earlier story was.

So, if you want lots of analysis, this is probably not the best history of Pearl Harbor. If you are interested in how people felt (the way various rumors spread after the attack is one fascinating example), then this is a great read. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | Sep 27, 2014 |
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Monica Conter, a young Army nurse, and Second Lieutenant Barney Benning of the Coast Artillary strolled out of the Pearl Harbor Officer's Club, down the path near the ironwood trees, and stood by the club landing, watching the launches take men back to the warships riding at anchor.
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Describes the events of December 7, 1941, before, during, and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as the reactions of the men who lived through the attack.

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