On the 75th anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor - and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming.
The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of duty, and publicly disgraced.
But the admiral defended his actions through eight investigations and for the rest of his long life. The evidence against him was less than solid. High military and political officials had failed to provide Kimmel and his army counterpart with vital intelligence. Later, to hide the biggest US intelligence secret of the day, they covered it up.
Following the admiral's death, his sons - both navy veterans - fought on to clear his name. Now that they in turn are dead, Kimmel's grandsons continue the struggle. For them 2016 is a pivotal year.
With unprecedented access to documents, diaries, and letters and the family's cooperation, Summers and Swan's search for the truth has taken them far beyond the Kimmel story - to explore claims of duplicity and betrayal in high places in Washington.
A Matter of Honor is a provocative story of politics and war, of a man willing to sacrifice himself for his country only to be sacrificed himself. Revelatory and definitive, it is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this pivotal event.
©2016 Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
A Matter of Honor, is a story that needs to be told, every American should know the truth about Adm. Kimmel and how unfairly he was treated after Pearl Harbor. The book is filled with facts and citations of various eye witness statements that make the book have a very textbook feel.
I don't know how else the authors could have gotten all the information out to the public but it is not a very entertaining book because it is not really a story. It is more of a research paper.
I think the authors did an excellent job of dispelling some of the more common conspiracy theories that exist about Pearl Harbor and Roosevelt and stuck to the facts of the case as they pertain to Kimmel.
Anyone who reads this book will have no doubt that Kimmel was treated unfairly and deserved better. And still does deserve better.
A lot of mistakes were made leading up to the surprise attack but they were not all Kimmel's fault and he should not continue to shoulder the blame as he has for the last 75 years. A Matter of Honor will convince even the most ardent skeptic.
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