Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th – By Newt Gingrich

pearl harbor newt gingrichThis book is a historical novel. Newt Gingrich and his co-author William Forstchen, put a new twist on the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some may call it alternative history, but they call it active history. This book tells the story of Pearl Harbor, but instead of Chuichi Nagumo commanding the fleet, they change this fact to having Isoroku Yamamoto commanding the fleet. Yamamoto was the Marshal Admiral and the commander-in-chief of the combined fleet. As such, it would not have been that far of a stretch for Yamamoto to decide to be in the decisive action on the 7th day of December 1941.

Those who know the story of Pearl Harbor understand that the Japanese were prepared to launch three airplane waves on the island. However, only two of those waves were launched. There has been some debate as to how the war would have turned out had the Japanese actually launched the third wave. In this book, we see one of the possible alternatives that could have happened had the third wave actually been launched.

Two-thirds of this book is spent building up to the fateful day when the Japanese declared war on the United States of America. The story really gives you a good understanding of the frustrations of the Japanese with the oil embargo. It also reveals some of the inner tension between the Japanese Navy and the Army. It also shows the conflict between the old battleship captains and those who had grasped the power of the air force.

Newt Gingrich does a masterful job in telling this story. The historical details are so accurate that it is often difficult to tell what is fiction and what is actual history.

Military tacticians often spend years rehashing old battles and what could have been done differently. It is interesting to read a book where you know what is supposed to happen, yet wondering the whole time what twist is going to be thrown at you. Because of the great job that Newt Gingrich did in combining accurate details to the novel, it is really easy to be drawn into this story.

While I highly recommend the reading of this novel, I would not recommend it be your first book on Pearl Harbor. One needs a solid grasp of history before they start trying to understand how history could have been changed by different decisions being made.

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