In this riveting revisionist study, British historian Costello (Ten Days to Destiny, 1991, etc.) rethinks the events leading up to the start of WW II in the Pacific. In coordinated surprise attacks on December 78, 1941, Japanese forces destroyed the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor and wiped out the American air base at Clark Field in the Philippines. An official naval inquiry fixed blame on Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter C. Short, commanders at the Hawaii naval base, for the loss of the American fleet. Costello argues that the official inquiry was an exercise in scapegoating aimed at clearing the real culprits: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and General Douglas MacArthur. Drawing on recently declassified material, Costello asserts that flawed policy, poor strategic thinking, diplomatic blunders, and intelligence failures were responsible for the disasters at Pearl Harbor and Clark Field. He further argues, against the conventional wisdom, that the loss of American air power in the Philippines was more significant than the destruction of the American battleships in Hawaii, because it made possible Japan's lightning conquests throughout Asia early in the war. Costello also details incredible intelligence failures (well documented in other studies) in which critical Japanese naval communications were left unread, despite the fact that US intelligence had broken the Japanese diplomatic codes. More controversially, Costello argues that Roosevelt and Churchill entered into a secret agreement that committed the United States to defend the British Empire in the Far East, that the US Air Force was dangerously overextended, and that MacArthur failed to obey orders to launch an attack against Japanese bases. Finally, Costello contends that the Roosevelt administration engaged in an extensive cover-up designed to avoid dividing the country during wartime. Costello, having done his homework and strongly made his case, is sure to provoke argument among historians and WW II buffs.