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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941
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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941

3.03 of 5 stars 3.03  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Preeminent historian Stanley Weintraub's compelling history of perhaps the most remarkable holiday season in twentieth-century history-December 1941
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Da Capo Press
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As a seasonal reader who loves history, Stanley Weintraub’s Pearl Harbor Christmas proved an irresistible purchase. I must admit – I was also drawn in by its truly horrible title, conjuring discordant images of glittering pine trees and burnt-out, half-sunk warships. Come, children! It’s time to open presents, sing songs, and think about corpses floating on an oil-slicked tide.

Weintraub has made something of a literary career with the atypical meshing of war and yuletide. Aside from this book,
As a WWII history fan I wanted to love this book. Dr. Weintraub does a very good job taking the reader back into time to the mega-events that Christmas, such as Churchill's visit and the terrible news filtering back to the Home Front from the battlefields. The author's focus on the three week period following Pearl Harbor and the gathering of British, US and other allies to strategically determine future battle plans makes this particular book quite interesting. One can easily imagine Winston Ch ...more
"This is a strange Christmas Eve," Churchill began. "Almost the whole world is locked in deadly struggle."

...And so describes this non-fiction work, Pearl Harbor Christmas.

Although I expected to learn more specifically about the horrible event at Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), the author doesn't spend much time telling of it. Instead, Weintraub tells about the holidays of 1941 and the stress that our U.S. Commander in Chief, FDR, was under at the time, and the exchanges he had during Christmas wee

The premise of the book was to highlight various theatres of war during the same timeframe – between Pearl Harbor, through Christmas and up to New Years. The niche idea of framing these dates while Churchill was in DC with Roosevelt appealed to me, however the actual read was disappointing. Too many dry, irrelevant facts and not the kind of personal anecdotes and insight you would expect made for disappointment.

The author obviously has personal dislikes for Churchill and McArthur. He didn’t miss
Vicki G
Jan 17, 2014 Vicki G marked it as to-read
I only had to get 30 pages into this book before finding out that no Republican alive to day has any REAL memory of WWII OR Pearl Harbor, as evidenced by the fact that so many of them are POSItive this president is Hitler's equivalent, without ever even knowing that Hitler forbade his people from celebrating Christmas in 1941, forbidding trees to be erected in homes and even stopping Christmas cards from being sent. Under threat of death, as I'm sure he made obvious in spirit even if he never sa ...more
Brian Eshleman
Something in the title led me to expect more of the domestic focus, to get to see this shift in the American mindset from a piece time isolationist footing to a wartime and determined nation. I got to see some of that, but not enough.

This wasn't about culture and texture of domestic details primarily. The most frequent seven, it seems, was in the environs of the White House as Winston Churchill set up shop there and conferred with Franklin Roosevelt. Getting to see just how war-weary Churchel an
Chad Fairey
I've always appreciated Weintraub's microhistories -- he lends a narrative thread to very detailed pockets of history, weaving in very human and base elements that breathe life into the weeks that he covers in his historical treatments whether it be in 1783, 1864, 1914, or 1944. This book peeks into a dark chapter in history, but weaves together some charming narrative threads between Churchill and FDR, Goering, Heydrich, McArthur, etc. A consummate Churchill fan, I found the narrative moments o ...more
This book examines the sense of the world at war during the last ten days of December 1941. The vignettes focus on (1) the Anglo-American strategy meetings in Washington between Churchill and Rossevelt, and their military and diplomatic teams, (2) and a number of different combat situations and the people involved in the Philipines, Southeast Asia, and Europe. One does get a good sense of the world-wide impact of the war and the confusion and false starts as the allies tried to figure out what w ...more
Margaret Sankey
Weintraub continues his chronological microhistories with the fifth set at Christmas (1783, 1864, 1914, 1944). This isn't rigorous, thesis-based history, but Weintraub has an eye for vivid detail from the sources and this roundup of late December 1941 includes the British stunned by the East Coast's Christmas lights as they flew into Washington D.C., Churchill's obnoxious requirements as a White House guest, Goring wallowing in Dutch loot at Karinhall, holdouts on Wake Island, MacArthur doing la ...more
Carol Holcomb
Don't be fooled by the title . Not sure there was even one paragraph about Christmas in Hawaii . Not at all what I expected and very little entertainment in this book.
The book, for me, did not live up to the promising title. Lots of interesting historical facts, but the presentation was not as expected. A rather dry read.
Aug 09, 2013 Ann rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
This book brings an interesting perspective to the events just after Pearl Harbor in which FDR and the US begin to plan the US participation in WWII. I found the detailed accounts and weaving together of different events which were occurring in different parts of the world quite enlightening. The contrast of the US before Pearl Harbor and after in the context of Christmas and New Year's was also insightful. The book suffers from not having a clear goal nor a clear conclusion, so it reads like a ...more
For what the book is, a snapshot of the US situation in December 1941, it's good. But the scope of the book necessitates a lot of jumping around, which could be distracting at times.

I liked the coverage of the situation in the Philippines and a lot of the other interesting points. In the beginning, there is a lot of coverage of Winston Churchill at the White House, which is a great story in itself. I listened to the audiobook, and the Winston Churchill "voice" was fun.
Its a nice litle book, telling about a December unlike any other in our nations history. The author primarily tells about the friendship of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt during the last dark days of 1941. The author tells the story against the backdrop of the events abroad and the various meetings to plot strategy that the two leaders held that month.
Todd Wardwell
The book really dealt with a history of what went on in Washington D.C. right before and right after Pearl Harbor. I learned some interesting facts about Elanor R's role in the affair, and some interesting personal insights into FDR's issues at the time. It was pretty light on what was actually going on in Hono at the time, but it was a fairly short book and worth a read.
Julian Pecenco
The title is deceptive. There is very little about Pearl Harbor, and even less about Christmas. I was hoping for something more along the lines of his Silent Night (about the Christmas Truce in WWI,) with personal stories, but this was primarily about politics. It also ended so abruptly that I was taken aback. It seemed to end in the middle of a paragraph.
On BookTV, Stanley Weintraub discussed his book, "A Pearl Harbor Christmas." He takes the reader back in time to when the dark day came to America ( He, also, actually lived during WW2, and he always brings so much depth and history to his books.

Interesting microhistory of the days following Pearl Harbor. The author pulls bits and pieces from a wide range of sources to give you a sense of the mindset that existed in various regions of the world following the US entry into the war. One thing that was quite clear was his disdain for MacArthur.
A nonfiction report of worldwide events for ten days at the end of 1941 as Winston Churchill and FDR meet in Washington to discuss America's entry into WWII. I found the info interesting but transitions were abrupt and sometimes hard to follow, not especially well written.
I learned so much about the start of W.W. II. It has now made me want to read more.
Kenneth Flusche
Verry interesting book but a dry read, for historical information I rate it a 5, for intertainment a 2, but I learned a lot and wish some one would write about 5 books in an interesting format to give the complete story from within the story.
A broad look at what was going on in the world in December 1941, with a focus on Churchill's visit to North America. Well researched and accessible, with a few dry spots.

Recommended for: WW2 buffs, students of history.
2.5 stars. I did like that the narrator included footnotes from the print edition in the audiobook. I just found him too easy to "drown out" when driving, as I listened to this in the car on my commute.
Christine D
I tried to read this but nothing about this book engaged me. The topic seemed really interesting but I gave up quickly and considering it's only 200 pages, that is not saying much for the book
Quite interesting. The author has a unique point of view. The writing style is a little disorganized, and this can make it harder to follow. But overall, definitely worth reading.
Easy read about the post Pearl Harbor period and the meetings between Churchill and FDR. Shocked to read of all the mistakes made by General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific theater.
Feb 18, 2012 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs
Recommended to Margaret by: Saw at library
Even though I read obsessively about this period in time (World War II) , I still have a lot to learn, and I learned quite a bit from this book. Well-written and well researched.
This book isn't exactly about Christmas at Pearl Harbor. It is about the Christmas season of 1941, right after PH! It is completely dry history, but, actually I enjoyed it!
Leah (packfan20)
Some parts were interesting but the writing was a bit dry and choppy. I felt like I was reading a textbook. Lots of name dropping that was hard to keep track of.
Interesting book, but a little disjointed due to the style of the book, which is to summarize activities in various theaters of the war during the last week of 1941.
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