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Publisher's Summary

A fascinating chronicle of how the character of American society revealed itself under the duress of World War II.

The Second World War exists in the American historical imagination as a time of unity and optimism. In 1942, however, after a series of defeats in the Pacific and the struggle to establish a beachhead on the European front, America seemed to be on the brink of defeat and was beginning to splinter from within. 

Exploring this precarious moment, Tracy Campbell paints a portrait of the deep social, economic, and political fault lines that pitted factions of citizens against each other in the post-Pearl Harbor era, even as the nation mobilized, government-aided industrial infrastructure blossomed, and parents sent their sons off to war. This captivating look at how American society responded to the greatest stress experienced since the Civil War reveals the various ways, both good and bad, that the trauma of 1942 forced Americans to redefine their relationship with democracy in ways that continue to affect us today. 

©2020 Tracy Campbell (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Year of Peril

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Disappointing

This book was reviewed favorably in the WSJ, but I found it disappointing. As an avid reader of WWII non-fiction, I can say with confidence that the author makes some obvious errors in recounting historical events for 1942. For example, the fact about some Doolittle Raider aircraft being “downed in Japan” is wildly inaccurate. If this is wrong, what else is misleading due to sloppy research? Also, the author takes the reader on a strangely irrelevant detour by reviewing the contraception and abortion practices in the U.S. in 1942. To me, it seems a crude attempt to inject into the narrative an editorial supporting modern-day abortions to avoid the back-alley operations of 1942. The author, the editors, and the fact-checkers can do better than this.

5 people found this helpful

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History does indeed repeat

An excellent review of one of the most tumultuous years in history. A great reminder of how resilient we are and yet how much we cling to the past

2 people found this helpful

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irritating & frustrating book

I usually love listening to books about WWII, but not this one. Although the author's emphasis on the many divisions that existed in the US back then is important and interesting, the flaw in the book overwhelm that topic. The book feels very disorganized - the organization by month is not a good substitute for organization by topic. The presentation is superficial. Although some of its the quotes provide insight, many others add little and become very tedious. Finally, the narration got on my nerves - it was like an imitation of Edward R. Murrow's war reports from London. I'm only about half way through it and will not finish it.

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Pause please

The narrator' consistent failure to pause between sections made for awkward bumpy transititions. Good story overall though.

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An excellent piece of history

Both enjoyable and thoroughly researched. A great addition to the history of WW II. Recommended!

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21st Century Parallels Abound

While we may disagree with some of the author’s inferences and conclusions at the end, this is still a great read. It reminds one of the futility of trusting in world leaders or finding satisfaction in a particular economic model. What is the most striking to me is the parallels between 1942 America and 2021 America. It seems that most years are years of peril in America.