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Day of Infamy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  4,143 ratings  ·  171 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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Average rating 4.12  · 
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"[H]ardly anything was going on. Sergeant Robert Hey began dressing for a rifle match with Captain J. W. Chappelman. Captain Levi Erdmann mulled over the base tennis tournament. Nurse Monica Conter - in between dates with Lieutenant Benning - took pules and temperatures at the new base hospital. Private Mark Layton squeezed under the 7:45 breakfast deadline, but most of the men didn't even try. At the big new consolidated barracks, Staff Sergeant Charles Judd lay in bed, reading an article debun ...more
Paul Haspel
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“A date which will live in infamy.” Thus did U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt refer, in one of the most memorable addresses ever given by an American statesman, to December 7, 1941 – the Sunday morning on which air and naval forces of the Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. A pedantically minded English teacher might point out that F.D.R., in his December 8 speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, used the wr ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting read with lots of eye witness accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbour

Easy to read, told from the perspective of dozens of individuals from the US side who lived through the battle and interesting from beginning to end. I have read a few books about the attack on Pearl Harbour (for example Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack) which dealt with the topic from a strategic and operational point of view, so this book was a nice follow up.

Beware, if you are looking for
David Eppenstein
Thanks to a review and recommendation of a GR friend (thanks Matt) I was reminded of the upcoming 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and that further reminded me of the trip my wife and I made there a few years ago. My friend's review piqued my curiosity and made my book selection much easier though after reading the book I have to say it wasn't what I was expecting. I have read several books about the war in the Pacific and Pearl is certainly mentioned and given considerable attention in many of ...more
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
Despite my Herculean internal struggle to discipline myself and reign in grade inflation, I simply cannot give this book anything less than five stars. Pre-selecting classic books that I know in advance are going to be good and not waste my time would tend to result ultimately in a good rating, in any case.

I will keep this short, because giving the world's richest man uncompensated content to help him sell books is not a good use of my time, and, at any rate, my GR friend here, Matt, has writte
Dec 20, 2013 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
William Richardson
December 7,1941 a day which will live in INFAMY. Have read this book many times and never get tired of reading it. The accounts of the people involved can leave a person spellbound. This was the 1st adult book I read on Pearl Harbor. As a teenager I read a Landmark book titled From Pearl Harbor to Okinawa by Bruce Bliven Jr. Even now I still feel a sense of anger at the Japanese for this sneak attack. One thing I do remember reading in another book that one of the Japanese leaders said after the ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great, concise one volume treatment.

Doreen Petersen
Feb 03, 2014 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." ...more
Mar 15, 2014 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


Jun 27, 2014 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
John Yingling
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
Still, after reading uncountable books in my lifetime, this remains my favorite book ever. History, at times, has taken a bad rap for being taught as dates and events, or as being written about the same way, with the opinion that the subject is boring, or irrelevant. This book dispels all those remarks and then some. It is written the way history should be written--and taught: focusing on people, their interactions with one another, and their reactions to events, all within the context of the ti ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just reread this after fifty years, and boy howdy, does it hold up. Lord is famous for A Night to Remember, the book that provided the first real account of the Titanic sinking. As with Night, in which the stories of Titanic passengers and crew were organized into a deeply personal narrative, Day utilizes copious interviews Lord conducted with survivors of Pearl Harbor. These included military and naval personnel on both sides of the attack as well as civilians, Navy wives and other eyewitnesses ...more
TJ Wilson
Walter Lord is an amazing writer. I read *A Night to Remember* in one four hour sitting. While this in that same vein—witness accounts expertly strung together to tell the totality of an immense and traumatic event—the shear scope of the hundreds of stories kind of deadens the pace of the book. Sounds awful to say, but it’s true.

I was wishing for a couple perspectives that I could stay with, to follow more specifically, but I understand why that wasn’t the case. To get through this book is to le
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the book on Pearl Harbor that I was looking for, even if I didn't know it. You can read a thousand books on the tactics, the diplomatic poses, the command level decisions. But this work was written originally in '57, when there were still a significant number of survivors from both sides, and the author weaves their individual stories together for a much richer tapestry than you get from a normal account. The near misses, the rapid (and not so rapid) responses, the individual heroics an ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always known about "the bombing of Pearl Harbor", but what I love about Walter Lord is his focus on the minutia that make up the bigger moment. This book doesn't focus on the bombing in context or what it "meant" to the war; it's entirely about what it was like in Pearl Harbor on that day and nothing more. This approach makes room for the tragedies, the comedies (even on a day like this one, they existed), and the surreal moments that happen underneath the "big story" of the day. A very int ...more
Jun 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant-in prose, research, detail, and readability. This is a quick read, but covers the details of the Pearl Harbor attack very well. I don't want to say I enjoyed the book per se, because the content and context are very sobering. I will say, however, that this book is a must read for every American citizen. ...more
P.S. Winn
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great story that really covers a horrible day in history extensively. You don;t have to be a war buff or a history buff to enjoy this book, just someone who likes a good story.
Louise Behrendt Miller
Had to; just went to Pearl Harbor...
Stacy Rogers
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a good entry book for someone who doesn't know anything about the attack. He did a good job tying in what servicemen families and civilians went through that morning. ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 08, 2011 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 10, 2014 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
Daniel LeBlanc
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
n the morning of December 7, 1941, the sky turns to hell as Japanese planes make a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet Moored at Pearl Harbor. This book refers to the details leading up to the attack and also sailors personal accounts of that day. Walter Lord really encompasses all the details of this attack in his book. This book covers details form days before the air raid to the days and rescue efforts following. As someone who enjoys history, I really enjoyed this book. The details rea ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book, originally written in 1957, goes through the attack on Pearl Harbor. It uses official records of the military and personal experiences to tell the tragic story. The book does jump around a lot but it tells literally hundreds of stories from all aspects of the attack, including the Japanese. With the 75th anniversary of Pear Harbor last year, I wanted to read a good book about the attack and this one is great.If you enjoy and are really in to history I highly recommend this book
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating telling of the attack from hundreds of vantage points each describing what the individual was doing and thinking during each phase of the attack. The vantage points include those of the Japanese, American military, the regular citizenry as well as spouses and families of the American military. I learned more about this Day of Infamy reading this book than I remember learning anywhere else.
Sandip Balakrishnan
A minute by minute description of the attack which is etched in American minds .The Japanese scheme and the American misery is well articulated.
Mike Futcher
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great narrative of the events of December 7th, 1941 – and only December 7th, 1941. If you are looking for a military history of the importance of the "battle" in the context of the war, of the preparations for it, and its effect on policymakers and the American public, Walter Lord's Day of Infamy isn't it.

But it is an excellent narrative of that day, pieced together from eyewitness accounts into a story that reads almost like a novel. As with A Night to Remember, his book on the Titanic disast
Eric C
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Walter Lord did an excellent job at bringing readers a non-biased look at the tragic events that took place on December seventh 1941. He brings the reader an in-depth look inside the Japanese war room, where Japanese Navy Admirals, and Generals devised the attack. From unsuspecting civilians, to even more unsuspecting military personnel, The reader gets an experience to learn history from eye-witness accounts. Walter Lord places readers inside the cockpits of Japanese fighters, and ground attack ...more
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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.

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