Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack
Steve Twomey. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016. 384 pp. Illus. Notes. Biblio. Index. $30.
A Matter of Honor—Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame, and a Family’s Quest for Justice
Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. New York: Harper Collins, 2016. 544 pp. Illus. Maps. Notes. Biblio. Index. $35.
Reviewed by Captain Craig C. Felker, U.S. Navy (Retired)
The increase in the number of popular histories published on the cusp of anniversaries of great historical events should surprise no one. Nor should it seem strange that journalists and not historians are the most prolific at such times. Historians by their nature are lousy planners. They methodically ply through archives, agonize over evidence, and wrack their brains tying evidence to arguments to make sense of the past. Journalists and popular historians are no less committed to evidence, but for them, it seems the story itself is what matters. Arguments can add color to a narrative, but historical context and deep analysis take a backseat to the story.