The True Story of a Man and a Nation Under Attack
By Michael Gannon, author of Black May

A John McCrae Book, Henry Holt & Company, New York, 339 Pages, Hardcover. ISBN 0-8050-6698-5

Reviewed for Keeping APAceKeeping APAce by Byron D. Varner.

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in December 1941, has long been maligned as the man most responsible for the alleged military incompetence that allowed Japan's victorious sneak attack against Pearl Harbor.

Some adversaries and historians believe President Franklin D. Roosevelt was so intent on going to war against Germany that he purposely allowed that disaster to happen.

Author Gannon's disputes both of these theories with a finely researched book both historically important and captivating for any seeker of the true facts about Pearl Harbor. For that genre of readers, this would be a timely and much appreciated Christmas gift.

Having read several books on this subject — AT DAWN WE SLEPT…DAY OF INFAMY…SCAPEGOATS…and others — I was impressed by information I had not read before. Certainly, his perspective of major players such as the president, several cabinet members, congress, and the Army and Navy hierarchy in Washington — in the days before there was a Department of Defense — gives a realistic view of that era of American isolationism and geopolitics of Europe and Asia.

Those who did not live in those times (and some who did) will learn about the Great Depression's negative effect on military budgets, and why the consequence of inadequate arms and materials was as much or more to blame than human error. Of course, there was an ample supply of that factor, much of it in Washington.

I highly recommend this book to you, if for no other reason than the dangers of military unpreparedness, and the importance of history. But there are other reasons for enjoying it. Above all, it is a good strong vote of approval for Admiral Kimmel's exoneration, long past due.