Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War” as Want to Read:
Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  202 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Franklin D. Roosevelt famously called December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.” History would prove him correct; the events of that day—when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor—ended the Great Depression, changed the course of FDR’s presidency, and swept America into World War II. In Pearl Harbor, acclaimed historian Steven M. Gillon provides a vivid, minute-by-mi ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Basic Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pearl Harbor, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pearl Harbor

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinTruman by David McCulloughJohn Adams by David McCulloughWashington by Ron ChernowAmerican Lion by Jon Meacham
Positively Presidential
67th out of 120 books — 29 voters
Divergent by Veronica Roth11/22/63 by Stephen KingDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsMockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Top Five-Star Reads of 2011
343rd out of 421 books — 731 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Michael Flanagan
Feb 22, 2014 Michael Flanagan rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-2
A very interesting read if not a slightly misleading title. What you get in this book is a look at Franklin D Roosevelt’s leadership of the USA into war. Pearl Harbour is the catalyst for this but if you are looking for a history of the Pearl Harbour incident look elsewhere.

The author gives us great insight on the high level of leadership required to take a nation to a war footing and rally a nation. This is my first book on FDR and I found this book gives a great understanding of the man and ho
Kristi Thielen
Jul 31, 2012 Kristi Thielen rated it really liked it
Short, concise book about the first 24 hours after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, as FDR labors to gain a sense for what actually happened and shapes the official response he will deliver to the public. To anyone who has read much history of the era, the general sweep of the book is familiar.

There are, however, some smaller details that are interesting to note: the concern about the security of the phone line over while FDR conversed with military leaders - one participant actually implored that
Len Knighton
Apr 04, 2014 Len Knighton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gillon's portrait of FDR in the 24 hours after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is
one which illuminates and inspires. He paints FDR as a flawed man in many ways, but a man who overcame most of them to lead his nation into the greatest conflagration the world has ever seen. He brings Roosevelt's supporting cast into the narrative skillfully, making each a major player in the drama while they occupied the stage. A page turner.
Jul 30, 2016 Donna rated it it was amazing
Another fascination for me is FDR and Churchill.... I loved the idea of this book. I'm always looking for books on these two. Such a an extraordinary time...I hope it never happens again. We certainly do not have the quality of leadership.

In many ways it probably was a very good thing that news did not travel instantaneously. I wonder what would have happened if the package that carried the warning for Pearl Harbor was marked correctly.

I was happy that it was admitted that the internment of Ja
May 25, 2015 Cincylitigator rated it really liked it
Ok took me a while to read this because I picked it up and put it down a couple of times. The best thing is that I finished it on Memorial Day - not necessarily planned but serendipitous. I had never read a book focusing on FDR so welcome the insight. There are some tidbits here that are very interesting such as the role polio played in steeling FDR for the Pearl Harbor ordeal. It is mind boggling that his handicap could have been concealed so that an average American had no idea FDR never walke ...more
Tom Burkhalter
Dec 11, 2012 Tom Burkhalter rated it really liked it
Steven Gillon has written a well-paced and apparently minutely researched book mostly concerning the events of the 24 hours on either side of the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, learning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. "Mostly" covers contextual matters about the President's early life and formative events, such as his affliction with infantile paralysis. This is pretty close to a must-read book for someone with an interest in the events leading up to the US entry into World War II. It ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Roger rated it really liked it
This is a short book about how FDR was informed and how he acted once he understood what had happened. It gave a good run-up to the attack and what FDR was worried about.

What surprised me was how FDR just trampled on the constitution. His immediate worry was that the US citizens would be demoralized if they knew the scope of the destruction at Pearl. So he quickly began to figure out how to institute censorship. And then the fear that Japanese-Americans would sabotage military operations/facili
Sep 11, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it
Definitely well-worth the $3 on audible (which, I'm assuming, was a D-Day special).

Once again, my mind is blown by my own ignorance. I really knew very little about what was going on stateside- actually, I'm realizing my knowledge of German internal politics during this era has far exceeded that of its US counterpart. This was a great, brief and fascinating crash course for me.

There were so many little tidbits that I discovered (e.g. Orson Welles' whole War of the Worlds radio stunt was quite
Apr 22, 2014 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: history, wwii, war
This book is okay and even enjoyable, but it is NOT a concise historical look at FDR's response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The author goes through an introduction about the lack of information about FDR's response during the day of December 7 and how it was time to correct that deficiency. However, about 75% or more of this book doesn't deal with FDR's response. Parts of it include mini-biographical sketches of FDR, Elanor, and a few other political and military leaders-American, Ja ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric England
Jul 23, 2012 Eric England rated it it was amazing
Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads The Nation Into War is an excellent and concise account of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's decision-making processes and leadership style in the 24 hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is an exhaustively researched piece of historical scholarship that reads like a page-turning political thriller. In other words, you will not be able to put it down...and will learn a lot in the process. The author also makes sure to ground some of the more sensat ...more
Sarah Mckelvy
Feb 05, 2015 Sarah Mckelvy rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I enjoyed this book. My biggest frustration with this book is that Steven Gillon wrote he wanted to focus on what happened the first 24 hours after Pearl Harbor. In reality, at least 1/4-1/3 of the book was background information. At most 1/2 of the book was actually what happened the first 24 hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, so it was not what I expected it to be. It is a good beginning place to start on how the US came to enter WWII.
Mar 21, 2012 T.J. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mp2
Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation into War, by Steven M. Gillon is mainly about how Franklin Delano Roosevelt reacted to the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. As it shows Roosevelt’s reaction it also provides background details and information on how World War II started for the United States. Details like the ships being sunk on on the Atlantic by German U-Boats pushed America closer to war. But on December 7th 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor at 7:55 in the morning the Japanese attack resu ...more
Joseph Whitt
Dec 12, 2013 Joseph Whitt rated it really liked it
I picked up this historical book because of a sale for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor - it was well worth it and would (probably) be worth its usual price. A short book on FDR and Pearl Harbor, it is centrally focused on the 24-hour period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war on Japan. What I found most interesting is that the nation's demand for information is exactly the same then as it is now but the technology was nowhere near capable of providing information in a ...more
Valerie L
Sep 05, 2015 Valerie L rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-story
This book takes you through the 24 hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed. It is a great look into FDR and the tuff decisions he had to make. This book is well written and not too lengthy. I think it is a little more for the historian than for the casual reader, unless this subject is your passion - then historian or not - you'll not want to miss it! 3 stars because I couldn't get really into it - skimmed more than read deeply.
Jan 04, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, audio
This book could aptly be titled, "FDR in the 24 hours following the raid at Pearl Harbor." It is a good, concise snapshot (with appropriate background) of what FDR did, and why. And how lucky we were to have president with such presence of mind and clarity of purpose.

I listened to the audio version of this book. John Pruden, as always, does an excellent job with the narration.
Mar 21, 2012 Joshua rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
I've read a few other books on Pearl Harbor but Steven Gillon's short, succinct look at the first 24 hours in the attack's aftermath, particularly from the perspective of President Roosevelt, is an engaging, well-written book that gave me a lot of insight into the topic. This one uncovers a ton of things about what went on behind the scenes at the White House and in the government in the hours following the attack as well as things I didn't know about FDR. Looks into a lot of side topics as well ...more
Kaylee Hamm
Dec 09, 2013 Kaylee Hamm rated it liked it
This book is very interesting and I would say intense. I would say intense because its about Pearl Harbor being bombed. I love true story books so this book was a great pick for me. I don't like many history books but I was very interested in reading this book. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes history or likes intense action books. This book is very educational as well because it gave specific details. At some points in the book it was hard to understand because there were a lot ...more
Apr 09, 2014 Pete rated it liked it
Audio Version: Short summary of the events surrounding Pearl Harbor. It was OK for what it was, but I should've opted for a more in-depth account.
Gary Land
Jan 26, 2012 Gary Land rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a gripping narrative, Gillon follows Roosevelt's actions in the twenty-four hours following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, meanwhile working in background material on Roosevelt's health, marriage, and advisors. Faced with both lack of information and misinformation as well as needing to unite a previously divided nation, Roosevelt carefully managed the flow of information to the public and congress as he attempted to steer through the murky waters. The book ends with his speech asking f ...more
Tim Jin
Dec 09, 2013 Tim Jin rated it it was ok
Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation into War by Steven M. Gillon is just okay. There is nothing new that I haven't read about. I've listened to numerous of hours on this war and the 32nd President, that I have became a nerd on this subject. There are way better books out there.

If you are a total novice on the subject, or teaching history in high school and need reading material on Pearl Harbor and FDR, then this is a good start. But, if you are a history geek, I would simply pass on Gillon's wri
Kent Winward
Dec 23, 2013 Kent Winward rated it liked it
The pretext of the book was sort of a comparison of FDR and GWB and how they handled/botched the first 24 hours after their respective attacks. Gillon brings little new to the table and doesn't really even spend much of his focus on FDR in the 24 hours, but rehashes much of the historical terrain surrounding Pearl Harbor.

The most interesting aspects were also glossed over, such as the critical role that communication/lack of communication played in the events of Pearl Harbor, which pales to the
Oct 09, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, accessible read about the first 24 hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Once in a while, Gillon rabbit trails off course and moves more into FDR biography mode, but I suspect he decided that would be helpful for readers new to reading about the man and the era. He also spends some time unpacking the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and explains Japanese-American relations clearly and concisely.

Most of all, he brings life and color to a very important day, providing anecdot
Jan 09, 2014 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Roosevelt's leadership between Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the "infamy speech" is the focus of this book--a 24 hour period in US history. A short listen, it defines a transition from isolationist to world power. The book was also a short biography of FDR, including his career and personal life, with particular emphasis on his polio disability; how he managed the duties of the president. In the afterward, the author draws parallels with the present day. I enjoyed the book and would read/li ...more
Dec 18, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW2 history buffs, anyone wanting to know condensed history about Pearl Harbor
Recommended to Lori by:
Its a good short 6hr & 40min listen. If you want to know an account of that day, Dec 7, 1941, this book is a 24hr account of it, with back up history.
I've read many many books on WW2 and knew most of this but still did learn some new things.
Overall its written & read well which makes it flow pretty quickly. It is also written in such a way that you can leave it and pick it up again a few days later and not have to backtrack to catch up.

Colin Slider
an interesting take on the events - focussed almost exclusively on FDRs immediate reactions up the declaration of war the day after. That aspect of the events has probably not been looked at in quite so much detail before. Quite revealing on how FDRs paralysis as a result of polio was kept from the American public, and the lengths to which FDR himself went to in order not to be seen as being crippled
Dec 14, 2013 Craig rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A detailed look at the events in the life of Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 7 and 8, 1941, just prior to and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The author also inserts flashbacks to FDR's earlier life and the lives of Eleanor, his wife, and other associates (Harry Hopkins for example). The details shed light on what FDR knew and thought and how he reacted to the attack.
Apr 02, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone who is interested in the events leading up and the day of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. It's amazing to read how completely Japan caught America with its pants down on December 7th and how chaotic was American response in the hours after the attack. If Japan had pushed its advantage it might have been able to take the Island.
Sam Motes
Dec 30, 2014 Sam Motes rated it really liked it
Builds the history of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and then focuses on FDR and his staffs response to the events of that day. It gives interesting insight into men grappling with an insane event and how to respond appropriately. The book focuses on the time span from the attack until congress gives the vote to go to war. ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. I learned a lot about FDR that I never new before as well as how the information about the attacks was slowly given to the public which is very different from how fast information spreads around the world now days. Look at how fast information about 9/11 spread around the world. I need to add this book to my collection.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance After Operation Valkyrie
  • Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
  • No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle For Bastogne
  • Stalingrad: The City that Defeated the Third Reich
  • Conversations with Major Dick Winters: Life Lessons from the Commander of the Band of Brothers
  • Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News
  • Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring
  • The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
  • Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War
  • World War One: A Short History
  • In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers: A Return to Easy Company's Battlefields with Sgt. Forrest Guth
  • Shiloh, 1862
  • Weird Civil War: Your Travel Guide to the Ghostly Legends and Best-Kept Secrets of the American Civil War
  • George Washington: The Crossing
  • Brave Men
  • KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
  • A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War
  • The Last Battle: When U.S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe

Share This Book