Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and historian William R. Forstchen have combined to write this exciting novel about the coming of war in the Pacific, as well as a chilling description of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But this time, the Japanese finish the job.
The story is told through the eyes of Commander James Watson, USN and Lieutenant Commander Cecil Stanford, Royal Navy. Both men work in cryptology, and, through the course of the book, travel all over the world. They even end up meeting Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese pilot who would eventually lead the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Throughout the course of the book, the reader learns, through Watson's and Stanford's eyes, about such events as the Japanese invasion of China, the rape of Nanking, and the sinking of the American gunboat Panay. All of these events set the Japanese, Americans, and British on a collision course toward war.
The story of the attack on Pearl Harbor only...
In any story about the Pearl Harbor attack, the attack itself is going to be one of the central "characters," and the narrative of the attack is almost inevitably going to be the most dramatic part of the plot. That's just as well in this case, as I found "Pearl Harbor" by Gingrich and Forstchen to be an interesting and mildly thought-provoking novel despite being weighed down by characters to whom the reader develops (or at least this reader developed) very little personal or emotional connection.
This is an "alternative history" novel of sorts, but not the kind that assumes time travel or poses "counterfactuals" like Wendell Willkie winning the election in 1940. In fact, the point at which fiction diverges from fact in "Pearl Harbor" is so subtle that readers unfamiliar with the Pearl Harbor attack run the risk, I imagine, of never noticing where the split happened. The road the authors have taken, though, is a plausible one, and the consequences of that difference flow...
... the jacket designer should be shot! Portraying Iowa Class battleships at Pearl Harbor in 1941, when they were not even commissioned until 1943?
But the book is a gem! I liked the efforts of the authors in the Gettysburg series, and this first volume is wonderful! Good alternative history, in my opinion, hinges on a slight change in the actual events to speculate on potential results.
I do not want to be a plot spoiler; other reviewers have given some details. But this is an ideal book for military history fans, as well as for those who enjoy well crafted fiction. I look forward to future volumes!
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