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Day of Infamy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,961 ratings  ·  151 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
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
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."
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great, concise one volume treatment.

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
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
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.
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.
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
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I borrowed this book from the library because it's so highly regarded as a narrative of Pearl Harbor and the horror of that event. It's my first Walter Lord book, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading.

Walter Lord is a historian who has covered many different and famous events in history in his writing. He is a master of research and has taken care to find and interview as many survivors as he can in order to put together this gripping tale.

I admit, however, that I didn't enjoy t
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
David Christensen
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Walter Lord is the grand master of turning a vivid phrase when it comes to writing about disasters of historical significance. I was a middle-school early teen when I read one of my first serious-topic books, his iconic “Night to Remember”, and it was one of the early books that got me hooked on reading as a lifelong hobby. So after all these years, after reading so many other authors, after reading about so many other events in history, after movies, etc. ... I wanted to go back and read other ...more
David Read
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of the Pearl Harbor attack. It describes Japanese planning and execution of the attack, as well as the experience of the American military at Pearl Harbor, both their surprise and eventual response.

I learned a few things, e.g., the Americans at Pearl Harbor were fully expecting a second attack (actually it was a third attack since the attack on Dec. 7th was in two waves) in the day(s) following the Dec 7th attack - and they were right to think so since the Japanese military leaders
Joey Westhoff
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the novel, Day of Infamy by Walter Lord, it told me and taught me a lot about Pearl Harbor. This book gave me a bunch of different perspectives and stories of heroic acts through the attack. This novel was a very interesting and fun story to read. I enjoyed reading it and I think you will too. It teaches a lot about the attack.
Throughout the novel, it explains what happened in the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. We get to read all sorts of interesting stories from veterans that were serv
Christopher Lutz
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Essentially the eyewitness accounts of hundreds compiled to make a cohesive narrative of events before, during, and immediately after the attack. You’ll quickly understand that you are experiencing the same moments of the battle over and over from several points of view as the book (and the attack) progresses. An interesting approach that helps remind you that these were just ordinary people experiencing this terrible moment In American history. Most fascinating to me was the accounts of the civ ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: main-2
An extremely impressive account of the Pearl Harbor attack. Similar to A Night to Remember, Walter Lord's narrative of the Titanic disaster, this book focuses primarily on personal accounts of the attack. In this regard, Lord indeed hit another home run. He obviously conducted an astounding number of interviews and stitched them together to form an enjoyable, readable narrative. He even gathered personal stories from the Japanese side, documenting the story of the two-man crew of a Japanese midg ...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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