Posted by: montclairlibrary | December 7, 2016

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Books about Pearl Harbor, a list by the Friends of Montclair Library

Today (December 7, 2016) is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which catapulted the United States into World War II. It’s hard not to fall into hyperbole when describing the events that day, and books about Pearl Harbor tend toward red covers and bold pronouncements about “infamy” and “changed the world.”

Whether you remember that day vividly or are interested in learning more about it, here are 12 books in OPL, both fiction and non-fiction, that explore the day’s events and their aftermath:

December 6: A Novel by Martin Cruz Smith (Paperbacks FIC SMITH) – A “gripping novel of loyalty, betrayal and intrigue” (GoodReads) set on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attacks, as Harry Niles, “raised by missionary parents and educated in the shadows of Tokyo’s underworld,” must decide where his loyalties lie.

Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack by Steve Twomey (940.54266 TWOMEY – available soon) – Chronicles the twelve days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, examining the miscommunications, clues, missteps and racist assumptions that may have been behind America’s failure to safeguard against the tragedy.

Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation into War by Steven M. Gillon (940.54266 GILLON) – Explores the anxious and emotional events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor, showing how the president and the American public responded in the pivotal hours that followed the attack.

The USS Arizona: The Ship, the Men, the Pearl Harbor Attack, and the Symbol that Aroused America by Joy Waldron Jasper, James P. Delgado, Jim Adams (940.5426 JASPER) (not at Montclair) – “Featuring photographs and interviews with the sailors who survived, three authors present a riveting and detailed history of the USS Arizona before, during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, bringing to life the courage and bravery of ordinary men.” (Publisher)

Reflections of Pearl Harbor: An Oral History of December 7, 1941 by K.D. Richardson (940.5426 RICHARDSO) (not at Montclair) – “From eyewitness accounts to children on the home front, ordinary Americans recall in their own words where they were and what they felt when they received the tragic news.”

We Remember Pearl Harbor: Honolulu Civilians Recall the War Years 1941-1945 by Lawrence Reginald Rodriggs (940.5426 RODRIGGS) (not at Montclair) – Oral histories of Hawaiians who lived in Honolulu during World War II.

Pearl Harbor: A Novel by Randall Wallace (Paperbacks FIC WALLACE) (not at Montclair) – “…places the true events in a fictional world of love, war and sacrifice.” (Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau). This book was the basis for the 2001 movie of the same name.

Days of Infamy by Harry Turtledove (FIC TURTLEDOV) (not at Montclair) – Following the December 7, 1941 Japanese air assault on U.S. naval forces in Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces invade and occupy Hawaii, planning to use the islands’ resources to launch an all-out offensive against the western coast of the continental United States, in a what-if novel of alternate history.

The Way It Was: Pearl Harbor – The Original Photographs by Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillion and J. Michael Wenger (940.5426 GOLDSTEIN) (not at Montclair) – Presents a pictorial history of the attack on Pearl Harbor, with hundreds of previously-unpublished photographs and personal stories of combatants from both sides.

Day of Infamy by Walter Lord (940.5426 LORD 2001) (not at Montclair) – “Walter Lord’s vivid, compelling description of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stands alone among World War II books.” (

Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History by Gordon W. Prange (940.5426 Prange) (not at Montclair) – “Explains the politics of Pearl Harbor with little bias. Prange is perhaps the most cited Pearl Harbor Historian. This is one of the best books to help understand why Pearl Harbor was attacked.” (Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau)

At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon W. Prange (not at Montclair) – Although this book is marked as missing from OPL, it’s widely hailed as the definitive (and most objective) account of the attack on Pearl Harbor. “…the authors went to great lengths to secure interviews with both American and Japanese soldiers, military leaders and government officials.” (Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: