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Pearl Harbor

From Infamy to Greatness
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 18 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Published in time for the 75th anniversary, a gripping and definitive account of the event that changed 20th-century America - Pearl Harbor - based on years of research and new information uncovered by a New York Times best-selling author.

The America we live in today was born not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when almost 400 Japanese planes attacked the US Pacific Fleet, killing 2,400 men and sinking or damaging 16 ships. In Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness, Craig Nelson follows, moment by moment, the sailors, soldiers, pilots, admirals, generals, emperors, and presidents, all starting with a pre-polio assistant secretary of the navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, against the backdrop of the imperial, military, and civilian leaders of Japan lurching into ultranationalist fascism, all culminating in an insanely daring scheme to shock the Allies with a technologically revolutionary mission in one of the boldest military stories ever told - one with consequences that continue to echo in our lives today.

Besides the little-understood history of how and why Japan attacked America, we can hear the abandoned record player endlessly repeating "Sunrise Serenade" as the Japanese bombs hit the deck of the California; we feel terror as navy wives, helped by their Japanese maids, upturn couches for cover and hide with their children in caves from a rumored invasion; and we understand the mix of frustration and triumph as a lone American teenager shoots down a Japanese bomber. Backed by a research team's five years of efforts with archives and interviews, producing nearly a million pages of documents, as well as a thorough reexamination of the original evidence produced by federal investigators, this definitive history provides a blow-by-blow account from both the Japanese and American perspectives and is a historical drama on the greatest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy, and heroism of the attack in stunning detail and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen and resonant consequences.

©2016 Craig Nelson (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

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From Nadir to Zenith

The story is well organized and thoroughly written. Hugely satisfying in the end to revisit this pivotal moment in history. That said, there were issues. I almost did not make it past the first half of the listen. The audio was annoying. Every 30-40 seconds the timber of the narrator voice changed significantly. It seemed there were either multiple speakers or the narrator was struggling. It was finally apparent that either the recording equipment was sub-par or the media used was poor or damaged. Being early on, the author was relating a lot of mundane but required details about the characters involved. It was tedious. With all that, I am glad I stuck with it as the audio improved at the time the story fully blossomed. The personal stories detailing the events made it personal in a way other books have not accomplished. It’s a must listen. And the story is deserving of being either refurbished or a new recording.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An excellent recounting

From Nanking to the deck of the Missouri and the wars end. A wonderful examination not only of the attack (though that's exhaustively documented) but of the far reaching implications of Imperial Japan's foreign policy decisions. With primary source accounts from both sides it's a gruesome yet compelling look at the defining moment of 20th century American history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Poorly researched, author loses credibility.

If you know nothing about Pearl Harbor, do not buy this book it will misinform you. If you know anything about Pearl Harbor in particular or the War in Pacific in general this book will anny you.
Unlike other reviewers I found the narration compelling and the writing very good. Before listening to this book, I would say George Guidall could make any book worth listening to. I can no longer say that. The author makes several technical errors ( for example he speaks of Japan sinking Russian dreadnoughts in 1905 while in fact there were no dreadnoughts at Tsushima in 1905, the ship that gave its name to the class was not launched until 1906, Mayor Cermak was shot with a handgun, not a rifle, in the attempt o FDR's life and the Japanese 24 inch torpedo was not 2 feet long but 24 inches in diameter--its actual length was 9 meters, a little of 29 feet).
I stopped listening however when Mr. Nelson stated the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Dutch East Indies occurred in September 1940 as well as the total occupation of French Indochina . How he came across this information is baffling. The reason Japan attacked Pearl Harbor is that Japan feared that if invaded those territories then the USN would use the Philippines as a base to attack Japanese supply lines. If the US had stood idly by when these colonies were seized ther would be no need to attack the USN at Pearl Harbor.
In sum whatever new insights the author brings to the table can not be given credence due to very basic historical and technical misinformation.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Worst recording ever from audible

I have downloaded dozens of books from audible. Undoubtedly, this is the absolute worst recording I've ever listened too. Bad audio, glitches, varying speed. I deserve my money back on this one. I was interested in the subject matter or I never would have made it to the end. Terrible.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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good not great

about what you would expect. 85% of the book was on Pearl Harbor so not a lot of post Pearl Harbor battles

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Amazing History

I have listened to this book twice. Just an amazing collection of knowledge from the Pacific front of WWII. So much detail that I haven't heard before.

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Know your history

I was fairly ignorant about the facts of Pearl Harbor. I wanted a book that would help me understand the time and what lead to it. This book did that for me. It placed me in the White House, in Tokyo and of course in Hawaii. The narrator was excellent in my opinion.
Highly recommend it!

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Great book and great info

Great book about Pearl Harbor. Good
Listen too. The story can jump around at times, sometimes making it hard to follow, but it mostly comes back to the major characters. So many stories to cover. Glad I bought this book.

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Great book, awful narration

Craig Nelson’s Pearl Harbor is a first-rate history of that formative event, weaving together global politics, regional tensions, and battlefield horrors. The text is well-organized and meticulously researched, and makes a riveting story. In Nelson’s convincing analysis, Pearl Harbor was not simply the impetus for America’s entry into World War II, but the seminal event that led to the birth of modern America as a global superpower. George Guidall’s narration, however, is awful, and just about ruins this excellent text. His delivery is broken and staccato, his voice asthmatic and nasal. He mispronounces Hawaiian and other Polynesian place-names. This was the second book I’ve listened to on Audible.com that was butchered by Guidall’s narration. Note to self: do not rent any other Audible books narrated by George Guidall.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book on old subject

I have a read many books on this subject, and this is one of my favorites.
The author brings new perspective to this much reviewed subject.