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Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th (Pearl Harbor, #1)
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Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th (Pearl Harbor #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  780 ratings  ·  90 reviews
"A Thrilling Tale of the Attack That Marked America's Darkest Day" --- W.E.B. Griffin
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech on December 8, 1941, lasted a mere six and half minutes. But his words and tone--in a monologue that would later be named the Infamy Speech--sent ripples into a nation and a world that continue even today. The historical implications that emerged f
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Historical Military Adventure
53rd out of 175 books — 110 voters
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Best Alternate History
97th out of 200 books — 405 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,359)
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With joint author William R. Forstchen. I thought this was a novel of historical fiction. Turns out it's "active history" (authors' description) - or what most people would call "alternate history." Much of the story is based on the normal, documented facts; but then at some point they choose to diverge and play the "what if" game. So you have to be sure you know what's "real" in order to play along. I suppose the "December 8" in the title is a clue; the actual attack was on December 7 in Hawaii ...more
BJ Rose
This alternate-history telling of the bombing of Pearl Harbor is mainly from the Japanese viewpoint - thus the December 8th in the title. Much of the book focuses on Japan's Manifest Destiny mindset - that this was their time in history to take control of the Orient, and therefore the United States needed to be neutralized as a fighting power so it could not interfere in Japan's plans. A big message here seems to be that wars do not just happen - Japan had meticulously planned every detail of th ...more
A nice "recreational read", a good way to escape after a day at the office. The literary equivalent of renting a Netflix film. But if you are looking for historical fiction ala Shaara (Dad or Son), then you'll want to stay away.... There are more than enough historical errors in this book to qualify it as pure fiction. I was surprised the Gingrich would play so lose with historical fact ex: Akagi was sunk at Midway, not Pearl; the Lexington is currently in Corpus Christi, TX, not at the bottom o ...more
Short and Sweet: I could not put this novel down. It is just as good as the trilogy the authors wrote about Gettysburg. In those books, the writers changed history so that Lee won at Gettysburg and what happened after that.

In this two-book series (of which this is the first), the writer basically one thing: Instead of sitting in Japan during the attack, Admiral Yamamoto sailed with the Japanese fleet.

***Spoiler Alert***

In the real battle of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Nagumo called off the third wave
Tará O'Sullivan
I had really high hopes for this novel...I got it signed on a cruise before I'd read it. [return][return]If you're looking for a novel glimpse into a famous historical period, look somewhere else.[return][return]This book is entirely too descriptive about every little thing, filled with far too much dialogue and 'conversing characters' that you feel like you're in a psychology lecture than a novel. [return][return]It has some parts that make it bearable to get through, but they are few and far i ...more
D.A. Bale
No disrespect, but this novel bored me to tears. It was not engaging in any way and they "played" with history too much in my opinion. I'm a very big World War II buff and read a good deal of non-fiction on the subject, but textbook material is more engaging than this attempt at a novelization of history. Didn't even bother to pick up the second in the series. Very disappointing!
The first 2/3 of this book should probably have been titled "Path To Pearl Harbor", as it requires the reader to take a much more patient approach to the events of December 7, 1941. Once this patience is mastered, the reader is then treated to a very personal set of events that describe the actions of key characters and their motivations through the years to the inevitable collision on that fateful Sunday morning. The last 1/3 flies by (no pun intended) as the reader really identifies with the c ...more
Stutley Constable
I've read history books and I've read novels. This particular book straddled the styles unsuccessfully. I know it is alternate history, but alternate history is supposed to be interesting and the manner in which this book is written is not. There are a number of interesting details but there is something lacking. The parts are knitted together in a cohesive story that moves along at an acceptable pace, but so what? Nothing really grabbed my attention in a way that made me want to keep reading. S ...more
Pearl Harbor by Newt Gingrich

Pearl Harbor by Newt Gingrich tells a story about the time after World War I. The Untied States have a new rival that is coming after them. It focuses on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the different perspectives of it.

Cecils and his friend who is an American officer are on a military ship in Japan. They meet a person named Fuchida who is Japan pilot. Cecils and Fuchida take a plane trip to Tokyo and Fuchida shows Cecils some flying techniques on how to bomb ships.
Rob Lever
Pearl Harbor is something of a "what if," with a slight turn-of-events that leads to a third wave of Japanese fighters on Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, that is not particularly clear as you read, making the actual happening a "what the hell?!" kind of moment. While I probably shouldn't be surprised that old Newt would openly distort the truth, even to make "better" fiction, the act seems unnecessary. I'm curious, in our pop-culture driven world how many readers actually 1. believe fiction is true ...more
Oct 13, 2010 Tim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gregory Mcdonald
An enjoyable read. This is far from my first book dealing with the Pearl Harbor attack. I seem to remember checking one out from the children's section of the library back in fourth or fifth grade after seeing the movie Tora!Tora!Tora! on televison. This one isn't a straight work of historical fiction,but is instead ,like the Civil War novels he co-wrote a couple of years ago, what is termed an alternate history,or alternate timeline novel. In the reality presented here the Japanese carried out ...more
Nachman Kataczinsky
Not badly written but it wasn't edited. Lots of problems with spelling (hanger - hangar), strange language (lots of "shippings" moving around a harbor). Also problems with continuity.
The alternate history point of departure makes sense. The book presents the Japanese point of view (to a degree) and the history is interesting. I hope the history is better than the editing.
This was not a page turner. It took me forever to get through it. I think the title is a little misleading, because it says "a novel of December 8", but it doesn't actually get to that part of the story until page 291. Most of the book is backstory, which is great for a history buff. It illustrates the story from Japan's point of view, which is pretty interesting. I tend to forget that it was not a divide and conquer strategy in league with the German side, but more of a manifest destiny kind of ...more
What's not to like about a true story of an event that changed the lives of every American, not to mention most of the rest of the world? But, you'd better be astute on the facts of Pearl Harbor and its aftermath or you won't get the alternative ending. Read some of the Goodreads reviews. And then, be prepared for the worst editing job ever. The punctuation and run on sentences in this book are laughing out loud funny. Seriously, I read some of the two and three paragraph sentences out loud to m ...more
Daniel Foxx
The approach used by Gingrich and Forstchen to tell the story of Pearl Harbor does what history can't do: create characters through whom an interesting back story can be woven. The authors have done this in their earlier works of historical fiction. This story is fast moving and held my interest, but I confess that I found myself comparing it to their Civil War novels. Had I read this one first I might have given it an extra star or two. But no matter, I do recommend this alternative telling of ...more
This is more of a 2 1/2 to 3 stars for me. When I bought the book it was on sale for like $5 or $6 and I wouldn't have paid anymore for it. It just isn't worth that much, and I thought it was non fiction, not fiction based on actual history from about 5+ years before Pearl Harbor to Dec 8, 1941. At one point of the book I said there is no way this could have happened and then I saw where it said novel on it... They wrote about the Civil War in a 3 part book and I would assume that this will be p ...more
Susanne Winterhawk
This is an alternate history but its hard to tell from the real history. There are subtle differences but the events and the people are historical.
Sorry I didn't read this book, not sure how it got on my currently reading. Please check a review from someone who read it.
Very well written book that kept me very interested. The book was well researched and is very factual besides the fact that Yamamoto leads the Japanese forces. It is an effective narrative of not only the events of Pearl Harbor, but the culmination of events that lead up to the attack such as the Panay incident etc. The novel does an effective job presenting the countries perspectives and viewpoints through ordinary characters representing their respective countries. Overall, it was a great nove ...more
Mark Bates
Well written, didn't know Newt was such a good writer.
Ben Knowlton
What a surprise. An old Navy veteran friend of mine in the neighborhood recommended this one and so I read it based on friendship rather than interest. I really got into it. It is the story of Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective written in an engaging style which the authors call "active history". It is full of dialouge and character development. It is written with a similar style to "Killer Angels". The only problem with it is that you don't know what really happened and what is the acti ...more
A well thought out tale of the events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. Includes a good amount from the point of view of the Japanese. Japan, with the alliance of the Germans expand their empire into an occupation of China. However, to expand further yet, the Japanese will need some "help" from the US by way of their massive oil reserves. The US and Japanese will surprise each other with their willingness to stick to their course. Remember, this is an alternative history, so a lot of facts ...more
Chuck Wullenjohn
Very imaginative in that the book changes the overall direction of history based on small circumstances that take place prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. It's pretty accurate when discussing American military strength in the Pearl Harbor area, but a small section of the book discusses the situation in the Philippines and Douglas MacArthur's efforts there, but the author totally screws up his facts for that area of the world. Maybe modern-day politics colored Gingrich's vision.
Having enjoyed his Gettsyburg triology I was very interested in this new active history series. He did not disappoint me. Weaving three fictional characters into what I already knew about pre-World War II political and military events with FDR, Churchill, ADM Kimball, Yamamanto, etc. Well written narrative darts back and forth between Pearl Harbor, Japan, Singaphore, and Washington to effectively picture military positions of all powers. Can't wait for the next installment.
Bernard Doddema Jr
This is my first book by Newt Gingrich and I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised. Great book!

I love alternate history. Sadly, I'm not familiar enough with all the events at Pearl Harbor where I can pick out all the alternate history. Yes, I'm a dunce. On that note, it would be great to have an index or something with either real events noted or vice versa but just my opinion.
While in Hawaii, I needed a book so I picked up one about Pearl Harbor. History is not my favorite subject. This book, however, did a good job of giving the history leading up to the attack and defining the fundamental cultural issues between American and Japan. If you are interested in history or this topic, you'd enjoy this. I would have probably given it 3.5 stars but 4 is just fine.
O M G!

Newt's alternative historical fiction machine takes on not just world war two, but the pacific theater.

Peel me off of this with a, forget that, I can't be peeled off of this. I'm attracted to this on a molecular level. Like that slippery coating on your non-stick cookie sheet.

This is a one sitting read followed by a year wait for the sequel!

Brittany Kay
This is the first book in the new Pacific Series. It follows a multitude of fictionalized characters from Britain, America, and Japan throughout the events leading up to Pearl Harbor. It also answers the often posed "what-if" there had been a third wave at Pearl among many others. Overall its a very interesting read and well-worth it.
I thought the book was really interesting and a quick read. However, if you want to read an accurate portrayal of the events surrounding Pearl Harbor, do not read this book. Although I enjoyed it, I personally would have liked to have read a historical fiction novel that didn't change any of the key events in history.
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Pearl Harbor 0 4 Apr 16, 2009 09:32AM  
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Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich (born Newton Leroy McPherson) is an American politician who served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Time magazine selected him as the Person of the Year for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the House, ending 40 years of the Democratic Party being in the majority. During his tenure as Speaker, he re ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Pearl Harbor (2 books)
  • Days of Infamy (Pearl Harbor, #2)
Gettysburg (Gettysburg, #1) To Try Men's Souls (Revolutionary War, #1) Grant Comes East (Gettysburg, #2) Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (Gettysburg, #3) Valley Forge (Revolutionary War, #2)

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