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Day of Infamy

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,899 ratings  ·  69 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 January 1st 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,905)
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Annie Vu
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
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
It is very difficult to judge this book. It´s 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, it´s 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 exp ...more
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
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


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
Jerry Smith
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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...
A clear, concise and riveting account of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The book's narrative is sharp and matter-of-fact which creates some out-loud "wow" moments as certain events are described. The audio book narrator is quite good although the reading pace is on the fast side of things.
Peter Wolfley
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
I really wanted to like this book but it was too hard to follow. As others have commented, the author jumps from one character to another and this makes the story very difficult to follow. I sadly couldn't finish it. I sent it to my dad who is a history fan hoping that he would like it more than I did.
Dara Tuck
I hate history! For me to read a book on history it has to resonate with me as more than just information and facts. Walter Lord did just that for me with this book. He took the history, the facts, information on individuals and told the story of Pearl Harbor in a timeline based on several hundred individuals as it happened.
The book was filled with facts, information not found else where and memories of the people involved from both Japanese side and the American side. These little details of w
Marcus P
Nov 01, 2013 Marcus P rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any one who likes world war 2
I think the book is a good book to read if you want to know more about Pearl Harbor and what it took for the Japanese to make up the plan, how many men were lost, what ships, and how. The book starts out pretty bland and gets better as you go because the way it is set up is by historical facts and notes about Pearl Harbor. The parts I didn't like were the huge section for maps, pictures, and images. The book is a nonfiction book but the way it is written is like a fiction book. The ways it is wr ...more
Gaylon Holder
This is the second time I have read this book. Wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Cannot even imagine all that went on then and even now in time of war.
In my mind, Walter Lord is, to history what Jane Austen is to literature. He is one of the best researchers there is out there. That said, sometimes he gets so bogged down in the little details that it's a little overwhelming. Personally, I like history that focuses more on one or two individuals and tells the story through them, whereas Lord tells the story and throws lots and lots of little stories in there. This was a good book to read as an American who knew embarrassingly little about Pearl ...more
Walter Lord really does an excellent job. Can I keep track of all the characters? Absolutely not. I can follow the general anecdotes, though. They're compelling, and I learned a lot.

I wonder if Lord has a special attraction to disasters? I read "A Night to Remember," and it was amazing--the sinking of the Titanic was even worse and more bumbling than I thought. The reader, if properly distanced, gets to sit there and watch events unfold, saying "You idiot, why would you do that?!" Oh, the beauty
Well researched and well written. I liked the style of writing that the author used to add plenty of personal experiences throughout the book. It almost makes it feel like you are there as it is happening including many of the Japanese. Unlike many other books written about the attack on Pearl Harbor this one focuses one that one day and the lead up to the actual attack. Great book for anyone interested in WWII history and the attack that brought the United States into the war.
I really enjoyed this book. The personal stories of heroism, bravery, disbelief, anger, joy (for the Japanese -- there are stories from both sides), frustration, humor, death, and life are superbly told.

I loved the humorous anecdotes that were included -- they were speckled all throughout the story -- I believe to try and lighten the mood a little, but also to show that the people involved were human and remembered more than just the terrible aspects of that day.
This book was difficult to read. Beyond the obvious devastating circumstances and tragedies of the day the book itself was a tedious list of every moment as it played out. With that said, this is a piece of history and a well documented one at that. If you are interested in the facts, Walter Lord did a thorough job. A suggestion: don't try to keep track of the names/people. There are too many. Rather, focus on the events/happenings as they played out.
Clear and detailed retelling of the events at Pearl Harbor. Sometimes a little *too* detailed -- talk about your cast of thousands! I had trouble keeping the many players straight. But I learned a lot about Pearl Harbor and the scope of the tragedy -- much more than I ever learned in history class. Lord's writing style was very linear and concise. I recommend both "Day of Infamy" and his book about the Titanic, "A Night to Remember."
Walter Lord's Day of Infamy is a collection of eye-witness accounts of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, told by soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict. It doesn't really attempt historical analysis, mostly because it was written just a few years after the incident, but the immediacy of the accounts have their own power. It was also short and accessible, which is rare in history books.
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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...
A Night to Remember The Night Lives On Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway Miracle of Dunkirk A Time to Stand

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