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Day of Infamy

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,697 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
The Day of Infamy began as a quiet morning on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. But as Japan’s deadly torpedoes suddenly rained down on the Pacific fleet, soldiers, generals, and civilians alike felt shock, then fear, then rage. From the chaos, a thousand personal stories of courage emerged. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, letters, and diaries, Walter Lord recoun ...more
Paperback, 60th Anniversary Edition, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

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We are fast approaching the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the (in)famous Japanese air raid that caught the American fleet at anchor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. In honor of that milestone, and with the expectation of the release of fresh volumes, I reread Walter Lord’s classic Day of Infamy. Despite being first published in 1957, it remains the best narrative of the battle ever written.

Lord is most famous as the chronicler of the RMS Titanic, the doomed luxury liner that Lor
Annie Vu
Dec 20, 2013 Annie Vu rated it liked it
Walter Lord's "Day of Infamy" retells the small details and planning leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which was where one of the U.S.'s most important fleets resided. The book is set in Japan to Hawaii on December 7, 1941, a day significant to the larger event of World War II. Meticulously planning an attack on the U.S., a group of Japanese generals and commanders gathered an army and began sailing toward Hawaii, a dreaded trip that was not only long and boring but also full of caution ...more
Doreen Petersen
Jul 21, 2016 Doreen Petersen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
Very well written account of the attack on Pearl Harbor for the Japanese and American perspective. Now the US is in the war too. I would definitely recommend this one if you like WWII history. Will never forget Yamamoto's reply to the attack, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
Jul 17, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read Lord's book on the Titanic years ago, and knew that prior to the movie in the 1990's, that book was considered one of the ultimate texts on the Titanic because of the research Lord did on his topic. Lord did as much, if not more, research into Pearl Harbor...using different sources, both official and non-official (such as letters and diaries of the men involved). This made this book a classic 'must-read' for anyone interested in the Pacific part of World War II. Yes, it's an older boo ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
I chose this book as background reading in preparation for a visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona. Though I knew the basics of the attack and the US entrance into WWII, I wanted to learn more.

The book itself was very readable. The individual perspectives ran the gamut from:
sadly moving as men and some women risked and in many cases lost their lives serving their country and their fellow soldiers

infuriating as you could see the mistakes being made and knew of the impending attack


Sep 24, 2011 Hirondelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It is very difficult to judge this book. Its a 200 pages "easy" take on one of the most historical of days involving thousands of people doing remarkably historically significantly things. So you know, its not exhaustive (nor could it be. Maybe even at 100 times the length it could not be). The style is jerky and very much geared to the *good* stuff witnesses said. But it works, against the odds, at showing what that day was - and more than just being about *that* day, it is an interesting exper ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, military
I picked up this "classic" (yup, I bought the "sixtieth-anniversary edition) while touring Pearl Harbor (and the Arizona, the Bowfin, and the Mizzou - all of which, by the way, are well worth the time). The folks in the gift shop told me this was the best seller out of a massive collection of Pearl Harbor, Navy History, and WWII history on the shelves. Basically, it's a mostly chronological retelling of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor through the eyes of literally hundreds of folks involved ...more
May 11, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago I read Gordon Prange's "At Dawn We Slept," a very comprehensive history of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This short book cannot, nor does it pretend to, compare to that masterful work. However, what it does is put a very personal face on that day. In this book you are privy to the actions and reactions of Japanese sailors and airmen who instituted the attack, and the soldiers, sailors, airmen, wives, and Hawaii citizens who experienced every bit of it. I learned some things I had ...more
John Mccullough
Feb 06, 2016 John Mccullough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was one of the most brilliantly planned and executed battles in military history. Too bad we were on the bad end of the stick. The whole attack was meticulously planned and carefully carried out. In the middle of the battle, especially from the US side, it looked like total chaos. In fact, that was not the case. Walter Lord gives a skeletal description of how the attack was carried out, but the vast majority of the book is comprised of the personal experience ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Lis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In quarta copertina si legge che "...racconta questa decisiva pagina di storia in tutti i risvolti e i retroscena politici, diplomatici e militari.".


Quella parte è relegata alle ultime 10 pagine del libro dove viene raccontato brevemente il discorso in cui Roosvelt chiede al Congresso di dichiarare guerra all'Impero giapponese.
Tutto il resto è una cronaca minuto per minuto del 7 dicembre, così dettagliata e così piena di aneddoti che sembra di guardare Pearl Harbor al microscopio, senza
Jeff Sellenrick
Feb 04, 2016 Jeff Sellenrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
This is a very old book written in the decade or so following Pearl Harbor. Walter Lord really brings out the immediacy of the event through a myriad of interviews with survivors and witnesses, fleshing out small details that most likely would have gone unrecorded had Lord not found these people to interview. Details like two kids fishing within view of Ford Island, a shell landing in a candy shop in Honolulu, and so much more add to the tragedy of the event. The movie Tora Tora Tora! is based o ...more
Jerry Smith
Feb 01, 2015 Jerry Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: war, 2015-read
I like Lord's approach especially in the previous works of his that I have read. This is very much a text of its time and by that I mean it reads as a dated history in comparison to similar accounts penned today. It lacks the complexity and literal depth that a similar contemporary account would likely include. In other words this is a straightforward account of the facts, or at least the recollections, of those who were there and a description of the events of that terrible day. To that end it ...more
Oct 17, 2008 Denise rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in recent history, WWII, nonfiction, the truth about Pearl Harbor
William Lord's Day of Infamy is an extremely well detailed account from many sources of the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lord does a fantastic job of bringing you back to that day, minute by minute almost. Not only does he give us details leading up to the attack and the "blow by blow" of the attack, but he also takes you into the thoughts, reactions, mindsets and feelings of the actual people that it was happening to. To get this first hand account was like actually reliving that day with ...more
Greg Gates
Dec 26, 2014 Greg Gates rated it really liked it
I've liked Walter Lord's writing since I was a young boy. I'm not sure why I was so slow to finally read this book, but somewhere along the line I decided Pearl Harbor was important to read about. This has some good insight into the actual attack on Pearl Harbor. You would need to go much further back - look to Japanese culture, the Koreans, the Chinese, the British - the Sino-Japanese War, economics (US metal ore and oil) to see that the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor was no surprise...
Narrated by Grover Gardner 6 hrs and 50 mins

Description: Day of Infamy is Walter Lord's gripping, vivid re-creation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. The listener accompanies Admiral Nagumo's task force as it sweeps toward Hawaii; looks on while warning after warning is ignored on Oahu; and is enmeshed in the panic, confusion, and heroism of the final attack.

The best title for today, after the Friday 13th terrorism in Paris yeah, Day of Infamy indeed.

Short enoug
Oct 23, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading different people's perspective on the attack at Pearl Harbor, some were heartwrenching, while some were actually pretty funny.

This was really well researched, but it could get a little confusing with the changing of one person's story to another.

I recommend this book if you have some knowledge of that infamous day of December 7th, 1941. This book adds to that knowledge, by adding the personal touch instead of feeling as if your reading a history book.

Feb 09, 2016 Russ rated it really liked it
worth reading if you want a straight forward account of what happened at Pearl Harbour, this doesn't go into any of the conspiracy theories about who knew what or who should have done what instead of what they did, this recounts the stories behind a whole host of people, military & civilian who were there on that fateful day. Not a new book by any means, thanks to this it misses out a lot of the quirks or biases that more modern historians might employ, & doesn't come to any moral conclu ...more
Peter Wolfley
Nov 23, 2011 Peter Wolfley rated it really liked it
I really didn't know a whole lot about Pearl Harbor until Hilary and I read this book, even though I've been there. The amount of detail is staggering. It combines everyone's story from that day into a minute by minute retelling of the entire day.

There are some crazy stories, especially at the end. Like a Japanese fighter crashed on a little island and was taken prisoner by the locals. That prisoner than went ballistic, stole some guns, and started tearing up and burning the village.

One big na
Jun 18, 2008 Selena rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: WWII buffs, people who have visited Pearl Harbor
Walter Lord is really great for bringing you into the moment of amazing events. Just like "Night to Remember," you feel as though he was there taking notes from some other dimension. This story of the bombing at Pearl Harbor is so detailed (but not overly done) that you get to tap into so many of the different mens' lives to see what their average day was like. The story didn't focus on just a select few, which is great for me because I want to know what a mess attendant did that day as much as ...more
Jeni Filipiak
Although I enjoyed the overall knowledge of this book, it was very difficult to follow all of the different technical terms. The author seems to assume that anyone reading the book will be familiar with the ranking systems of the Army and Navy, and have a very good understanding of boating terms. I have neither, and so, found it very difficult to follow several of the most important parts of the book.
Aug 05, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
December 7, 1941, Japan hit us at Pearl Harbor. Bombing and sinking one of our battleships, the Arizona. President Roosevelt stated that it was a "Day of Infamy". This book is all about the bombing the story of why and all the details about the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I can make a text to text connection there are a lot of attacks that are being planned right now. Anyone who has an Ally should watch what they do carefully, you never know if they will bomb your country.
I gave this book 5 stars
Feb 02, 2015 Arielle rated it it was amazing
My love affair with modern military history has been short but intense so far. This book did not disappoint in its humanization of the figures integral to the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941. This was an entertaining and insightful read.
Feb 15, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
A very good book. I am an amature history buff so reading this book gave me a feeling of being there December 7 1941. If you like history and want to see it from someone who had been there, read this book.
Bill Bradford
Sep 27, 2014 Bill Bradford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book, like all of Lord's shares a strength that is also its weakness. Lord did extensive research (take a look at the number of people he interviewed). The story is not told as a dispassionate story but instead is composed of many small vignettes of individual's stories. This is fascinating and takes you into what was happening; it is also hard at times to remember if you had met a particular person before, and, if so, what the earlier story was.

So, if you want lots of analysis, this is pr
Tim Ganotis
Mar 23, 2016 Tim Ganotis rated it really liked it
Pretty good. The story of the Pearl attack as told by many differing points of view, from both the Japanese, Americans, and civilians. Lots of information, well written, very visual.
Ann Otto
Jul 05, 2016 Ann Otto rated it liked it
Not as researched as Lord's A Night to Remember as it is based mostly on interviews with those who lived through the 1941 Pearl Harbor disaster. More photographs, which is good.
Arthur Gibson
Aug 26, 2015 Arthur Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book explaining the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
Was light and entertaining and kept the reader informed.
Did not drag out with pointless info.
I enjoyed it
Sep 27, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
excellent anecdotal history of Pearl Harbor. stole it off Dad's bookshelves years ago, glad I pulled it off mine to reread. A and , who knew Edgar Rice Burroughs was in Hawaii on Dec 7th 1941
Dale Roller
Aug 27, 2014 Dale Roller rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. It was so interesting to examine Dec. 7, 1941 in a linear fashion from the perspective of lots of folks who participated.
Keith Slade
I read this a long time ago and found it good but I don't remember when it was. I'm guessing on date.
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Walter Lord was an American author, best known for his documentary-style non-fiction account, A Night to Remember, about the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

In 2009, Jenny Lawrence edited and published The Way It Was: Walter Lord on His Life and Books.
More about Walter Lord...

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