Visions of Infamy: The Untold Story of How Journalist Hector C. Bywater Devised the Plans That Led to Pearl Harbor

William H. Honan, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-312-05454-0
Hector Bywater, a British authority on naval affairs, published books and articles in the 1920s and '30s that were astonishingly prophetic. In 1924, 16 years before the Japanese strike against Pearl Harbor, he accurately predicted the course of the Pacific war, including the surprise attack against U.S. naval forces, the invasions of Guam and the Philippines, and the island-hopping U.S. counterattack. Honan, chief cultural correspondent for the New York Times , argues persuasively that Bywater's writings directly influenced admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of the Pearl Harbor offensive and many of Japan's subsequent moves. Ironically, Yamamoto initially agreed with Bywater that Japan could hold out against the U.S. for only a year and a half. Bywater died suddenly in 1940 at the age of 55, ostensibly from alcohol poisoning. Honan cites circumstantial evidence suggesting that he was murdered by the Japanese in order to eliminate the one Westerner who knew exactly what the Imperial Navy was up to. A compelling narrative. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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