December 1941

post date: December 21, 2011


This morning I finished reading a new book that in some ways was written 70 years ago. Reading December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World is like stepping into a time machine and entering a world that long ago disappeared.

This is the story of one particular month as told through contemporary newspaper accounts. Author Craig Shirley dug through mountains of dusty newspaper clippings and long-forgotten microfilm to tell the story of how America reacted to the shock of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The book takes you through December 1941 one day at a time, one chapter for each day. There is very little foreshadowing here. Mostly you get the sense of a complacent nation suddenly transforming itself for war in Europe and in the Pacific. 

Stanley Weintraub has written a similar (though not identical) book called Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941, focusing more closely on the events of December 22-31, 1941. Together these two books remind the reader of world-shaking events that took place 70 years ago this month. 

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Ray Pritchard
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