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

Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  35 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 McCulloughTheodore Rex by Edmund MorrisAmerican Lion by Jon MeachamWashington by Ron Chernow
Positively Presidential
54th out of 102 books — 12 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
347th out of 425 books — 712 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 213)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Michael Flanagan
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
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
Tom Burkhalter
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
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
Eric England
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
Mar 21, 2012 T.J. rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
Kaylee Hamm
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.

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.
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
Builds the history of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and then focuses on FDR and his staff’s 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.
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.
This work concentrates on the events immediately before and after December 7, 1941 and gives a great first hand account of the "point of view" in Washington, DC and America during those times. Very readable and a different perspective on the context of Pearl Harbor rather than the battle itself. I read it in two days.
In the Preface Gillon's stated purpose was to inform us on FDR's response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. This could have been compressed into 5 or 6 pages. The book was interesting, but really contained very little new information. Skip it, unless you are a total novice.
Christine B.
While I appreciate the New Deal, it seems like FDR was kind of an asshole, guys. Eleanor FTW. I want to read a biography of her now.

In all seriousness, I liked this book because it focused more on how the nation geared up for war and less on military aspects.
Michael Schafer
This account explores the mindset of FDR in the 24 hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the previous life events that created that world view. Some interesting quotes and factoids that may be useful in lecture.
Bill Boyd
Brief, but covers what it advertises, the first 24 hours after the attack. The difference between information flow now is quite startling. The characters are also well developed for such a brief coverage.
OK. A bit of "saint Franklin" to it, with whiffs of scandal and politically correct snipes. I don't recommend it for serious history readers.
Kurt Young
A brief book, focused entirely on FDR and the 24 hours right after Pearl Harbor. Really interesting in the light it sheds on the people around FDR.
Pretty good book on FDR's reaction to Pearl Harbor and the events that lead to America's official entry into WWII.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
  • The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
  • No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle For Bastogne
  • 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
  • Brave Men
  • George Washington: The Crossing
  • 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
  • Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War
  • 1775: A Good Year for Revolution
  • Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence
  • John Quincy Adams
  • A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War
  • Guadalcanal Diary
  • Home Front Girl: A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
  • July 1914: Countdown to War
  • The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows
10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America The Kennedy Assassination--24 Hours After: Lyndon B. Johnson's Pivotal First Day as President The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry That Defined a Generation Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live: Oswald, Kennedy, and the Conspiracy that Will Not Die The American Paradox: A History of the United States Since 1945

Share This Book