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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941
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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  261 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Preeminent historian Stanley Weintraub's compelling history of perhaps the most remarkable holiday season in twentieth-century history-December 1941
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Da Capo Press
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As a seasonal reader who loves history, Stanley Weintraub’s Pearl Harbor Christmas proved an irresistible purchase. I must admit – I was also drawn in by its truly horrible title, conjuring discordant images of glittering pine trees and burnt-out, half-sunk warships. Come, children! It’s time to open presents, sing songs, and think about corpses floating on an oil-slicked tide.

Weintraub has made something of a literary career with the atypical meshing of war and yuletide. Aside from this book,
Sep 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
There was very little about Pearl Harbor, I don't understand why this was the title. Lots of rambling, skipping around.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
It's probably a bit backward to do it this way, but this is a book whose excellence is due, in part, to the audio narration. Of course, I would never discourage you from the print or Kindle editions of this, but if you can easily get to an audio edition, you should. I think the experience will enhance the book's value.

This is the account of America's first World War II Christmas. Of course, the author couldn't describe Christmas for the entire nation, so he focused on how U.S. And British leader
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was ok

The premise of the book was to highlight various theatres of war during the same timeframe – between Pearl Harbor, through Christmas and up to New Years. The niche idea of framing these dates while Churchill was in DC with Roosevelt appealed to me, however the actual read was disappointing. Too many dry, irrelevant facts and not the kind of personal anecdotes and insight you would expect made for disappointment.

The author obviously has personal dislikes for Churchill and McArthur. He didn’t miss
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a WWII history fan I wanted to love this book. Dr. Weintraub does a very good job taking the reader back into time to the mega-events that Christmas, such as Churchill's visit and the terrible news filtering back to the Home Front from the battlefields. The author's focus on the three week period following Pearl Harbor and the gathering of British, US and other allies to strategically determine future battle plans makes this particular book quite interesting. One can easily imagine Winston Ch ...more
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
"This is a strange Christmas Eve," Churchill began. "Almost the whole world is locked in deadly struggle."

...And so describes this non-fiction work, Pearl Harbor Christmas.

Although I expected to learn more specifically about the horrible event at Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), the author doesn't spend much time telling of it. Instead, Weintraub tells about the holidays of 1941 and the stress that our U.S. Commander in Chief, FDR, was under at the time, and the exchanges he had during Christmas wee
Vicki G
Dec 02, 2013 marked it as to-read
I only had to get 30 pages into this book before finding out that no Republican alive to day has any REAL memory of WWII OR Pearl Harbor, as evidenced by the fact that so many of them are POSItive this president is Hitler's equivalent, without ever even knowing that Hitler forbade his people from celebrating Christmas in 1941, forbidding trees to be erected in homes and even stopping Christmas cards from being sent. Under threat of death, as I'm sure he made obvious in spirit even if he never sa ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book examines the sense of the world at war during the last ten days of December 1941. The vignettes focus on (1) the Anglo-American strategy meetings in Washington between Churchill and Rossevelt, and their military and diplomatic teams, (2) and a number of different combat situations and the people involved in the Philipines, Southeast Asia, and Europe. One does get a good sense of the world-wide impact of the war and the confusion and false starts as the allies tried to figure out what w ...more
Margaret Sankey
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Weintraub continues his chronological microhistories with the fifth set at Christmas (1783, 1864, 1914, 1944). This isn't rigorous, thesis-based history, but Weintraub has an eye for vivid detail from the sources and this roundup of late December 1941 includes the British stunned by the East Coast's Christmas lights as they flew into Washington D.C., Churchill's obnoxious requirements as a White House guest, Goring wallowing in Dutch loot at Karinhall, holdouts on Wake Island, MacArthur doing la ...more
Chad Fairey
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-booklist
I've always appreciated Weintraub's microhistories -- he lends a narrative thread to very detailed pockets of history, weaving in very human and base elements that breathe life into the weeks that he covers in his historical treatments whether it be in 1783, 1864, 1914, or 1944. This book peeks into a dark chapter in history, but weaves together some charming narrative threads between Churchill and FDR, Goering, Heydrich, McArthur, etc. A consummate Churchill fan, I found the narrative moments o ...more
Brian Eshleman
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Something in the title led me to expect more of the domestic focus, to get to see this shift in the American mindset from a piece time isolationist footing to a wartime and determined nation. I got to see some of that, but not enough.

This wasn't about culture and texture of domestic details primarily. The most frequent seven, it seems, was in the environs of the White House as Winston Churchill set up shop there and conferred with Franklin Roosevelt. Getting to see just how war-weary Churchel an
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
The author really needed to do some fact-checking in his writing (cases of mentioning one person or number on one page, then using another in the next when it should have remained the same) and adding further explanations (naming people without telling who they were or using nicknames and never providing real names). This book also jumped around geographically a lot and I think much of the content is in other, better written, books. After this work and Silent Night: The Story of the World War I ...more
This was an interesting book. I really enjoyed learning about what happened after Pearl Harbor and how it affected America (Americans were still lighting up the night with their Christmas lights while MacArthur fled Manila). But at some points it felt like a baseball play-by-play. Weintraub gave all the stats and tried to give context, however, it got boring. It was very difficult for me to finish the book. It could have also have been the narrator. His voice was almost too sonorous. The words b ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book brings an interesting perspective to the events just after Pearl Harbor in which FDR and the US begin to plan the US participation in WWII. I found the detailed accounts and weaving together of different events which were occurring in different parts of the world quite enlightening. The contrast of the US before Pearl Harbor and after in the context of Christmas and New Year's was also insightful. The book suffers from not having a clear goal nor a clear conclusion, so it reads like a ...more
Liz Murray
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Brown
I think that the Christmas of 1941 is a fascinating holiday season to examine, and I learned a lot about America's unpreparedness to enter the war and the mentality in those first few weeks. The chapters being formatted by day was a bit confusing for me; I think it would have made more sense to organize the stories by person or location, rather than jumping around all over the globe every few hours or each day.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, world-war-ii
For what the book is, a snapshot of the US situation in December 1941, it's good. But the scope of the book necessitates a lot of jumping around, which could be distracting at times.

I liked the coverage of the situation in the Philippines and a lot of the other interesting points. In the beginning, there is a lot of coverage of Winston Churchill at the White House, which is a great story in itself. I listened to the audiobook, and the Winston Churchill "voice" was fun.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book, in that you learn more about the meetings and the mindset of the President and Winston Churchill as they meet to discuss the U.S. focus in the war following Pearl Harbor. For that reason, I liked the book. It gave some interesting information about those meetings and how the British felt arriving in the U.S. and the differences between the two countries at war. If you are looking for information on Pearl Harbor this is not the book to check out.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
An entertaining synopsis of what the Christmas season before America enter WW2 was like. I feel like this is a very brief description of what was going on at that time. The story of the destroyer Peary in the South Pacific and the mission of UK Anthony Eden to Russia would be good stories to follow up on.
Rk Wild
Reads like a "This Day in World War II History" retrospective for 11 days--Dec. 22, 1941 to Jan. 1, 1942--which happens to encompass UK PM Churchill's post-Pearl Harbor visit to the USA in order to take measure of FDR's resolve in entering the battle. Those knowledgeable of WWII history will find nothing new here, and those with little knowledge will be left wanting more. Gimmicky.
On BookTV, Stanley Weintraub discussed his book, "A Pearl Harbor Christmas." He takes the reader back in time to when the dark day came to America ( He, also, actually lived during WW2, and he always brings so much depth and history to his books.
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it

Interesting microhistory of the days following Pearl Harbor. The author pulls bits and pieces from a wide range of sources to give you a sense of the mindset that existed in various regions of the world following the US entry into the war. One thing that was quite clear was his disdain for MacArthur.
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its a nice litle book, telling about a December unlike any other in our nations history. The author primarily tells about the friendship of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt during the last dark days of 1941. The author tells the story against the backdrop of the events abroad and the various meetings to plot strategy that the two leaders held that month.
Julian Pecenco
Oct 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooks
The title is deceptive. There is very little about Pearl Harbor, and even less about Christmas. I was hoping for something more along the lines of his Silent Night (about the Christmas Truce in WWI,) with personal stories, but this was primarily about politics. It also ended so abruptly that I was taken aback. It seemed to end in the middle of a paragraph.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was visiting Pearl Harbor on vacation while listening to this audiobook. It's not really about Pearl Harbor, but rather all the days in December 1941 from the point of view of the FDR White House. So there is quite about about the famous speech (about Infamy) to Congress, as well as Churchill's immediate diplomatic visit to the US, along with meetings of the military leaders of the US & UK.
Todd Wardwell
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book really dealt with a history of what went on in Washington D.C. right before and right after Pearl Harbor. I learned some interesting facts about Elanor R's role in the affair, and some interesting personal insights into FDR's issues at the time. It was pretty light on what was actually going on in Hono at the time, but it was a fairly short book and worth a read.
Paula Schumm
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I listened to the audiobook from the library. This one tells of a World War II Christmas with Roosevelt, Churchill, and the men and women who fought during that time. This one was okay. Recommended to lovers of WWII history.
Kenneth Flusche
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Verry interesting book but a dry read, for historical information I rate it a 5, for intertainment a 2, but I learned a lot and wish some one would write about 5 books in an interesting format to give the complete story from within the story.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the details of this work and learned a great deal from it, but I felt, too often, that a critical sentence was missing before analysis of a key notion was proffered. Thus, while I enjoyed the content and the research, the flow left a great deal to be desired.
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww2
A broad look at what was going on in the world in December 1941, with a focus on Churchill's visit to North America. Well researched and accessible, with a few dry spots.

Recommended for: WW2 buffs, students of history.
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Weintraub was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 1929. He was the eldest child of Benjamin and Ray Segal Weintraub. He attended South Philadelphia High School, and then he attended West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University of Pennsylvania) where he received his B.S. in education in 1949. He continued his education at Temple University where he received his mast ...more
More about Stanley Weintraub
“Well more than two thirds of the press releases from Douglas MacArthur's command reference only one person – himself.” 1 likes
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