cover image Long Day's Journey Into War: 2december 7, 1941

Long Day's Journey Into War: 2december 7, 1941

Stanley Weintraub. Dutton Books, $26.95 (720pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93344-1

Weintraub's ``long day'' is essentially the weekend in 1941 that included Pearl Harbor Sunday. With consummate skill he weaves together anecdotal material from around the world to describe events in that momentous span of time. He includes narrative snapshots from the Nazi death camps and the war fronts in Russia, North Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as governmental and civil doings in Washington, London, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Tokyo, Singapore, Honolulu and elsewhere. Signs of imminent war between Japan and the United States accelerate and messages marked ``extremely urgent'' cross paths in both hemispheres. In addition to focusing on such grand-scale historical figures as Roosevelt, Churchill, Hirohito and Hitler, Weintraub also shines a spotlight on such folk as Army Private James Jones who later fictionalized his Pearl Harbor Day experiences in From Here to Eternity ; poet Ezra Pound, who made a pro-fascist broadcast in Italy that weekend; fighter ace Saburo Sakai, who added American planes to his already impressive tally during the invasion of the Philippines that weekend; and songwriter/singer Woody Guthrie, who helped defuse a racial confrontation in Los Angeles. The centerpiece, however, is the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and Weintraub provides an awe-inspiring account of the December 7 attack and its psychological aftermath. This is an ambitious and stunningly successful hour-by-hour chronicle of what may be the most memorable weekend in modern history. Weintraub is the author of A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War. BOMC and History Book Club selections. (Sept.)