PEARL HARBOR by Henry C. Clausen

PEARL HARBOR

Final Judgement
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A riveting real-life detective story about one of the century's greatest controversies: the responsibility for America's shocking lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor. Major (later Colonel) Clausen was appointed independent investigator into Pearl Harbor Henry Stimson in 1944, after it had been determined that the Army Pearl Harbor Board's reports had been based on tainted or perjured testimony. During his inquiry, Clausen traveled more than 55,000 miles and interviewed nearly one hundred Army, Navy, and civilian personnel, 30 of whom offered their accounts to no other investigators. His ace in the hole was a bomb- pouch, programmed to self-destruct if opened without authorization, that contained 40 top-secret cryptographic documents that Clausen used to lure the perjured witnesses into admitting their knowledge of ``Magic,'' the US process for intercepting and decoding Japan's diplomatic codes. Clausen's findings were classified top secret and censored to preserve national security and interservice harmony. Now, with coauthor Lee, who edited Gordon Prange's At Dawn We Slept (1981), Clausen convincingly debunks Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories that have spread like kudzu in works such as John Toland's Infamy (1982), and rebuts other accounts he regards as self- serving, (e.g., Edwin Layton's ``And I Was There''). Some of the best moments here come in cat-and-mouse legal confrontations, including one in which Clausen tripped up a colonel who almost doomed the career of General George Marshall. The Pearl Harbor debacle, Clausen concludes, resulted from several factors, including Admiral Husband Kimmel's hoarding of vital intelligence data from his Army counterpart, General Walter Short, and Short's failure to take necessary reconnaissance measures or use radar air- warning, preparing instead for an attack by sea. An essential document from one of the last players in a great military and legal drama. (Three eight-page b&w photo inserts--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1992
ISBN: 0-517-58644-4
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992




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