100 books like Pearl Harbor

By Roberta Wohlstetter,

Here are 100 books that Pearl Harbor fans have personally recommended if you like Pearl Harbor. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame and a Family’s Quest For Justice

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was stationed in Honolulu in 1941 (and planning to play golf with Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, commander of US military installations, in the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941). In response to the outcry in the United States after the Pearl Harbor attack, Kimmel was relieved of his command and publicly accused of dereliction of duty because American forces were so ill-prepared for the Japanese attack. In this well-researched book, Summers and Swan conclude that military commanders in Washington and elsewhere failed to share intelligence information with Kimmel (and Short) and that Kimmel’s dismissal was nothing more than an attempt to find a scapegoat.

By Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Matter of Honor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the seventy-fifth anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor-and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming. The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of…


Book cover of At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Gordon Prange spent more than three decades in the research and writing of this book, first as the chief historian for General Douglas MacArthur during the occupation of Japan and then as a history professor at the University of Maryland. He used his position to interview many Japanese officials – both military and civilian – who were engaged in the planning and execution of the attack at Pearl Harbor. The book was a landmark achievement in addressing the planning of the attack, the attack itself, and the subsequent investigations in the US about how and why American forces were so unprepared. Sadly, Prange died in 1980, only months before the book was published.

By Gordon W. Prange,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Dawn We Slept as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revisit the definitive book on Pearl Harbor in advance of the 78th anniversary (December 7, 2019) of the "date which will live in infamy"

At 7:53 a.m., December 7, 1941, America's national consciousness and confidence were rocked as the first wave of Japanese warplanes took aim at the U.S. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. As intense and absorbing as a suspense novel, At Dawn We Slept is the unparalleled and exhaustive account of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is widely regarded as the definitive assessment of the events surrounding one of the most daring and brilliant naval…


Book cover of Tojo and the Coming of the War

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Tojo Hideki, a general in Japan’s army, became the country’s Prime Minister in October 1941, was still at the helm when the Pearl Harbor attack occurred on December 7, 1941, and remained in power until 1944. Although Tojo was later vilified as a war criminal, he did take to heart Emperor Hirohito’s request in October 1941 that he explore ways to avoid war with the United States – but soon convinced the Emperor that there was no alternative to war. Butow, a professor of US-Japanese relations at the University of Washington, shows how Tojo rose to power in Japan’s convoluted system of government, how the decision to proceed with the Pearl Harbor attack unfolded, and how that decision affected Tojo.

Book cover of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Although not technically about the Pearl Harbor attack, Those Angry Days is an excellent companion to understand the mood in America in those months before the attack.  While Grew was focused on avoiding an almost inevitable conflict between Japan and the United States, Olson shows that Americans in general and President Roosevelt in particular were far more focused on whether and how to engage in the ongoing conflict in Europe.

By Lynne Olson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Those Angry Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND KIRKUS REVIEWS

From the acclaimed author of Citizens of London comes the definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World War II—a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world.

At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman…


Book cover of December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World

Valarie J. Anderson Author Of Pearl Harbor's Final Warning

From my list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor.

Who am I?

In 2013, I found a red suitcase under my mother’s guestroom bedroom filled with letters and radiograms. I shipped it home, combined its contents with her brother’s papers, and my family’s Pearl Harbor story emerged but questions remained. Seven years later, after a lot of research which included the books I’ve listed for your consideration, and the help of many people, I was able to answer the question of why Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise. I also unpacked my family’s story, long-buried for fear of prosecution. My book shows the civilian Pearl Harbor story as it weaves its way through the world of cryptology, spies, and 1941 radio technology

Valarie's book list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor

Valarie J. Anderson Why did Valarie love this book?

December 1941 is an important contribution to the history of WWII that reads more like a novel than dry, historical non-fiction. Craig summarizes each day in December of 1941, grounding the reader with a worldview of the ongoing wars and political arenas in Europe and Asia before delving into America’s mindset and current events.

By Craig Shirley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked December 1941 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, eyes in America were focused on the war in Europe or distracted by the elevated mood sweeping the country in the final days of the Great Depression. But when planes dropped out of a clear blue sky and bombed the American naval base and aerial targets in Hawaii, all of that changed. December 1941 takes readers into the moment-by-moment ordeal of a nation waking to war.

Best-selling author Craig Shirley celebrates the American spirit while reconstructing the events that called it to shine with rare and piercing light. By turns nostalgic…


Book cover of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

Valarie J. Anderson Author Of Pearl Harbor's Final Warning

From my list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor.

Who am I?

In 2013, I found a red suitcase under my mother’s guestroom bedroom filled with letters and radiograms. I shipped it home, combined its contents with her brother’s papers, and my family’s Pearl Harbor story emerged but questions remained. Seven years later, after a lot of research which included the books I’ve listed for your consideration, and the help of many people, I was able to answer the question of why Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise. I also unpacked my family’s story, long-buried for fear of prosecution. My book shows the civilian Pearl Harbor story as it weaves its way through the world of cryptology, spies, and 1941 radio technology

Valarie's book list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor

Valarie J. Anderson Why did Valarie love this book?

Japan 1941 peels back the layers of Japan’s national ideology before the Pearl Harbor attack. Well researched, her bold and insightful exposé explains the brewing conflict between military and political leaders, their decisions, drive, and devotion to their country, and their influence on an isolated nation of hyper-patriotic citizens.

By Eri Hotta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japan 1941 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking history that considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective and is certain to revolutionize how we think of the war in the Pacific.

When Japan launched hostilities against the United States in 1941, argues Eri Hotta, its leaders, in large part, understood they were entering a war they were almost certain to lose. Drawing on material little known to Western readers, and barely explored in depth in Japan itself, Hotta poses an essential question: Why did these men—military men, civilian politicians, diplomats, the emperor—put their country and its citizens so unnecessarily in harm’s way? Introducing…


Book cover of Pearl Harbor Ghosts: The Legacy of December 7, 1941

Valarie J. Anderson Author Of Pearl Harbor's Final Warning

From my list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor.

Who am I?

In 2013, I found a red suitcase under my mother’s guestroom bedroom filled with letters and radiograms. I shipped it home, combined its contents with her brother’s papers, and my family’s Pearl Harbor story emerged but questions remained. Seven years later, after a lot of research which included the books I’ve listed for your consideration, and the help of many people, I was able to answer the question of why Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise. I also unpacked my family’s story, long-buried for fear of prosecution. My book shows the civilian Pearl Harbor story as it weaves its way through the world of cryptology, spies, and 1941 radio technology

Valarie's book list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor

Valarie J. Anderson Why did Valarie love this book?

This book is based on first-hand interviews and newspaper accounts of ordinary people thrown into the chaos of the extraordinary surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Clarke begins the narrative on December 5th discussing everyday people going about their business against the background of spies, counterintelligence missteps, and growing bias.

By Thurston Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pearl Harbor Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A landmark book published to rave reviews a decade ago, PearlHarborGhosts has now been updated to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the surprise attack that forever changed the course of history.

Full of gripping drama and vibrant details, here is the intimate human story of the events surrounding that fateful day of December 7, 1941–the glamorous tropical city that seemed too beautiful to suffer devastation . . . the stunned naval personnel whose lives would permanently be divided into before and after Pearl Harbor . . . the ordinary Honolulu residents who were tragically unprepared to be the first target…


Book cover of Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement

Valarie J. Anderson Author Of Pearl Harbor's Final Warning

From my list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor.

Who am I?

In 2013, I found a red suitcase under my mother’s guestroom bedroom filled with letters and radiograms. I shipped it home, combined its contents with her brother’s papers, and my family’s Pearl Harbor story emerged but questions remained. Seven years later, after a lot of research which included the books I’ve listed for your consideration, and the help of many people, I was able to answer the question of why Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise. I also unpacked my family’s story, long-buried for fear of prosecution. My book shows the civilian Pearl Harbor story as it weaves its way through the world of cryptology, spies, and 1941 radio technology

Valarie's book list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor

Valarie J. Anderson Why did Valarie love this book?

This book describes the Clausen investigation that prompted the Congressional hearing into Pearl Harbor. Its spellbinding revelations leave the reader on the edge of their seat. Clausen details the U.S.’s ability to break codes but shows how they did not the common sense to know what to do with the information.  

By Henry C. Clausen, Bruce Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pearl Harbor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This account of the top secret investigation is “essential history . . . the authoritative appraisal of why American armed forces met the Japanese attack asleep” (The Christian Science Monitor).

On December 6, 1941, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, assured his staff that the Japanese would not attack Pearl Harbor. The next morning, Japanese carriers steamed toward Hawaii to launch one of the most devastating surprise attacks in the history of war, proving the admiral disastrously wrong. Immediately, an investigation began into how the American military could have been caught so unaware.…


Book cover of The Unlikely Spy

Cristina Loggia Author Of Lucifer's Game: An Emotional and Gut-Wrenching World War II Spy Thriller

From my list on World War 2 for people who love history and fiction.

Who am I?

I am a former journalist and corporate public relations expert with a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages, I’ve always been passionate about World War 2 history and truly fascinated by the deceptions put in place by both the Allies and the Axis. I believe that a story that mixes fiction with history is highly powerful and evocative. I set my debut novel in the Rome in 1942 because I was inspired by the numerous stories heard from both my grandfathers who fought in the war and because Fascist Italy is not as well-known as it should be. As one of the very few female thriller writers in this genre, I wanted to celebrate the contribution of women in World War 2!

Cristina's book list on World War 2 for people who love history and fiction

Cristina Loggia Why did Cristina love this book?

The author clearly did a great deal of research for this book, and this is certainly something I truly love in this World War 2 novel: it provides that solid and rich actual background against which the story is set. It is fascinating to see how both the Nazis and the Allies were playing a game of deception, trying to outmanoeuvre and outsmart each other. The writing is very good, the characters are complex, all with their flaws, all very interesting indeed, all feeling very credible, real. An engaging spy thriller that remains one of my favourite in this genre.

By Daniel Silva,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unlikely Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if Nazis deactivated a 'sleeper',a blonde Mata Hari,in the winter of 1944 in London in an endeavour to steal the whereabouts of D-Day landings. In the tradition of Robert Harris's FATHERLAND Rights already sold to publishers in the United States and eight other countries


Book cover of The Key to Rebecca

Jim Carr Author Of Forget-Me-Nots

From my list on World War II you can't put down.

Who am I?

I grew up during the war years and remembered the backouts, ration cards, and the newscasts from the front and worrying about my cousins who were in the middle of it. My cousin Gerald always made sure I had a model airplane kit every Christmas, even though he was fighting in Europe. As a journalist, I was lucky to work with a few war correspondents that covered Dieppe and D-Day and heard what they went through. One of those people was Bill Anderson who died two years ago. I recorded a video interview of him when he was still 97 about his experiences in Canada and Europe

Jim's book list on World War II you can't put down

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

The war in Africa, where Rommel’s tanks seem unstoppable, sets the stage for this novel of intrigue and spies, with Egypt and The Suez Canal the prize. Follett is a master of suspense and he makes great use of it here as two secret agents lock horns. The German agent with a wonderfully appropriate name, The Spinx, enlists the wiles of a belly dancer and the British agent, seeks the help of a beautiful young Jewish woman, who plays a key role in unmasking the German agent and the final defeat of Rommel. I always love reading Follett. You’re never sure what.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Key to Rebecca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ken Follett's The Key to Rebecca took readers and critics by storm when first published forty years ago. Today, it remains one of the best espionage novels ever written.

A brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent is on the loose in Cairo. His mission is to send Rommel's advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city's doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl. . . .


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