The most recommended books about the Pearl Harbor attack

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to the Pearl Harbor attack, and here are their favorite Pearl Harbor attack books.
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What type of Pearl Harbor attack book?


Book cover of From Here to Eternity

Sam Foster Author Of Non-Semper Fidelis

From my list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices.

Who am I?

I heard a Jordan Peterson interview in which he boiled down my entire life’s struggle in a single phrase.  The interviewer was pushing Jordon on the subject of male toxicity. Jordon said something like, “If a man is entirely unwilling to fight under any circumstance, he is merely a weakling. Ask in martial arts trainer and they will tell you they teach two things – the ability to fight and self-control. A man who knows how and also knows how to control himself is a man.”

Sam's book list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

James Jones's brilliant debut novel must have had a great effect on me because I admit, in many ways, my book covers the same ground – how does a man maintain honor and dignity when constrained to live his life by the choices of other, and much more powerful men? I suppose the difference between our two themes is that the question in my book is about those same choices but wrapped in the question of race. Jones’s characters, while in the military, were dealing with personal issues. My Corporal Buck is dealing with an issue about which all of America is on fire.

From Here to Eternity is 70 years old. I read it in 1969, an eternity ago and it has lasted with me from there to here.  When I was in the Marine Corps I knew everything that was happening to me. But I didn’t know what…

By James Jones,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked From Here to Eternity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I'll never understand the fucking Army.'

Prew won't conform. He could have been the best boxer and the best bugler in his division, but he chooses the life of a straight soldier in Hawaii under the fierce tutelage of Sergeant Milt Warden. When he refuses to box for his company for mysterious reasons, he is given 'The Treatment', a relentless campaign of physical and mental abuse. Meanwhile, Warden wages his own campaign against authority by seducing the Captain's wife Karen - just because he can. Both men are bound to the Army, even though it may destroy them.

Published here…

Book cover of Properties of Thirst

Barbara Ridley Author Of When It's Over

From Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Hiker Dog-lover Political news junkie

Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Barbara Ridley Why did Barbara love this book?

I heard of this book from a neighbor, and now I’m telling everyone to read it.

This is a historical fiction set in California, where I live, and it has wonderful, diverse, complex characters. A family saga infused with the landscape of the Eastern Sierras and its water wars, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the WWII internment of Japanese Americans, and gourmet French cuisine.

The book had amazing prose that took my breath away on every page. This novel prompted me to travel to the museum at Manzanar, the former Japanese internment camp, which is well worth visiting. 

The story of how this book came to completion is amazing, too: the author had a major stroke when it was almost finished, leaving her daughter to painstakingly help her find her voice again, a process that took six years. Worth every moment I spent immersed in its 500+ pages.

By Marianne Wiggins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A National Bestseller
A New Yorker Best Book of 2022

Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a "big, bold book" (USA TODAY) destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.

Rockwell "Rocky" Rhodes has spent years fiercely protecting his California ranch from the LA Water Corporation. It is here where he and his beloved wife Lou raised their twins, Sunny and Stryker, and it is here where…

Book cover of The Grand Alliance

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Who am I?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

Leave it to Churchill to sum up the events of 1941 that determined the ultimate outcome of the war. In his words, the theme of this volume of his epic account of the war is “How the British fought on with Hardship their Garment until Soviet Russia and the United States were drawn into the Great Conflict.” Much of this consists of letters, reports, speeches, and other original documents from that period, woven together by its skillful narrator. Little wonder that Churchill was later awarded the Noble Prize in Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”

By Winston S. Churchill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winston Churchill's six-volume history of the cataclysm that swept the world remains the definitive history of the Second World War. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable both for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction and is an enduring, compelling work that led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The Grand Alliance recounts the momentous events of 1941 surrounding America's entry into the War and Hitler's march on Russia - the continuing onslaught on British civilians during the Blitz, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the alliance between…

Book cover of Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl, and the Boys Who Went to War

Jim Noles Author Of Undefeated: From Basketball to Battle: West Point's Perfect Season 1944

From my list on sports during World War II that inspire me.

Who am I?

I’m an “Army brat” who attended five different middle and high schools, graduated from West Point (where I majored in international history), and later attended law school. The law is my profession, but writing is my avocation, and I’ve been fortunate to have several military histories published. I reside in Birmingham, Alabama, with my wife, our youngest son, and two untrained, incorrigible dogs. As far as my latest book is concerned, they like to say at West Point that “the history that we teach was made by people we taught.” In my case, I guess it was “the history I wrote about was made by people wearing the same uniform that I wore.”

Jim's book list on sports during World War II that inspire me

Jim Noles Why did Jim love this book?

1942’s Rose Bowl game was moved, in the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, from Pasadena, California, to safer environs on the East Coast in Durham, North Carolina. In North Carolina, Oregon State beat host Duke 20-16, but even greaterand far more deadlycontests were ahead for the team’s players. Brian Curtis takes his readers from the Rose Bowl to the battles ultimately fought in Italy, Normandy, the Ardennes, and the Pacific.

By Brian Curtis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortly after this unforgettable game, many of the players and coaches entered the military and went on to serve around the world on famous battlegrounds, from Iwo Jima and Okinawa to Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, where fate and destiny would bring them back together on faraway battlefields, fighting on the same team.

Book cover of Spy/Counterspy: The Autobiography of Dusko Popov

Alan Cook Author Of East of the Wall

From my list on fiction and nonfiction about spies.

Who am I?

I have always been intrigued by history, fictional and nonfictional. Unfortunately, warfare is a large part of history and spying is an important part of warfare, and is as old as warfare itself. If you want to win the war you need to know as much as possible about what your enemy is planning to do. I am also a puzzle solver, and making and breaking codes play a large part in spying. I have traveled widely and been to most of the places I write about. However, I am a pacifist at heart, and I keep looking for the key to world peace.

Alan's book list on fiction and nonfiction about spies

Alan Cook Why did Alan love this book?

Dusko Popov may or may not have been a model for James Bond, but he did know Ian Fleming. He was also one of the most effective double agents in World War II. His greatest accomplishment was helping to fool the Germans about the location of the D-Day landing. Popov had conclusive evidence that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor months before it happened. He told FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, because the US didn't have an effective spy system yet, but Hoover wasn’t interested. After the war ended, Popov searched for his best friend who had been captured by the Germans, with surprising results. Good for history junkies like me, it contains facts not present in other histories of the War.

By Dusko Popov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Very good condition. Minor rubbing to extremities, otherwise nice clean copy.

Book cover of First Strike

Scott W. Kimak Author Of I call him HIM

From my list on a post-apocalyptic world.

Who am I?

I remember finding an old Edgar Rice Burroughs book on my grandfather’s bookshelf when I was nine years old. I opened the pages and started to read. From that moment, I was hooked on anything that had to do with fictional worlds. Books became my passion, gobbling them up by the hundreds. Also, attending a private Catholic elementary school, I constantly heard the tales of Revelations and the End Times. These two reasons instilled in me a passion for post-apocalyptic books and led me to write in the same genre. I hope you enjoy these books on the list as much as I have!

Scott's book list on a post-apocalyptic world

Scott W. Kimak Why did Scott love this book?

Another amazing post-apocalyptic series!!! I’m a huge Tom Clancy fan and I could see many similarities between these two great authors. This story is so close to reality you hold your breath waiting for the bombs to strike. The world faces a future that will take decades to recover from and you feel like your right in the midst of the action.

By Bobby Akart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nuclear war may kill millions.
Nuclear Winter will kill billions.

International bestselling author, Bobby Akart, one of America's favorite storytellers, delivers up-all-night thrillers to readers in 245 countries and territories worldwide.

"Love the intensity of his stories, his thorough research, his creativity, the characterizations and the abundant action and realistic locations."

Every war begins with a first shot. The shot heard 'round the world at Lexington and Concord in 1775 birthed a nation. Less than a century later, cannons firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina thrust that same nation into a civil war. The assassination of an obscure archduke sparked…

Book cover of Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific

Daniel Hammel Author Of Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment

From my list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945.

Who am I?

I am Daniel Hammel and my father Eric Hammel was a prolific author and military historian. He specialized in the Marine Corps and specifically World War II. Though he has passed, several of these books, especially Day of Infamy, inspired him to become an author, where he wrote over 40 books. This list is an ode to my father, Eric, and to his many accomplishments.

Daniel's book list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945

Daniel Hammel Why did Daniel love this book?

Leckie enlisted in the Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. His story is one of the best accounts of life on the ground in combat, from induction to his time on now famous islands, Guadalcanal, New Britain, and finally Peleliu. Leckie lets the reader in on the grinding, miserable combat of New Britain, the joyous affair of Peleliu, and the pet-names he has for the men around him. At the end of it all, Leckie finds himself in the hospital for the tenth time since he entered the Marine Corps, left wondering what it was all for.

By Ross Leckie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Helmet for My Pillow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC

Here is one of the most riveting first-person accounts to ever come out of World War 2. Robert Leckie was 21 when he enlisted in the US Marine Corps in January 1942. In Helmet for My Pillow we follow his journey, from boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war's fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the…

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 Boy Underground

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on dogs as supporting characters.

Who am I?

Dogs make great supporting characters, adding drama or humor or pathos, and revealing so much about the humans in the story. I discovered this in writing my first novel: The narrator’s dog keeps her grounded when things go wrong and makes it possible for her to keep going through difficult times. For the reader, he provides levity and depth without turning it into a book about a dog. I had a great model – I used my own dog Boris, even appropriating his name. I think of the fictional Boris as real-life Boris’s best self.

Ellen's book list on dogs as supporting characters

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

Boy Underground is a coming-of-age story of four teen-aged boys in rural California who each go underground at some point, literally or figuratively.

Akira is a terrier and can’t go with her family when they are forced into a Japanese internment camp, and she, too, goes underground.

Catherine Ryan Hyde unfolds this story with a subtle voice that resonates with compassion for the boy hiding from the law, the boy sent to the camp, the boy living with his own secret, and the boy who drops out of school to enlist.

And the dog, who is a pawn in the great drama of WWII as it plays out in this remote corner of America.

By Catherine Ryan Hyde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During WWII, a teenage boy finds his voice, the courage of his convictions, and friends for life in an emotional and uplifting novel by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don't approve, he's found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He's beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship.

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor draws the US into World War II,…

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…