Book Review: Pearl Harbor: Selected Testimonies, Fully Indexed, from the Congressional Hearings (1945-1946) and Prior Investigations of the Events Leading Up to the Attack


by Roland H. Worth Jr.

McFarland, 2013. Pp. xx, 402. Index. $35.00 paper. ISBN: 0786476214

Probing the Pearl Harbor Disaster:

In compiling this volume Worth, author of Secret Allies in the Pacific, No Choice but War: The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific, and many other works, collected the three dozen documents that he considered the most important from the mountains of paperwork generated by the eight investigations into the events of Dec. 7, 1941. 

The documents are grouped into six categories, including sections on the final days of peace, on Japanese espionage in Hawaii, on American code breaking, evaluation of the U.S. commanders, and then some miscellaneous questions.  Worth’s selections are generally excellent, providing a rounded look at the complex origins of the disaster from the perspective of its immediate aftermath: all the hearings and investigations were done long before many important documents and activities were declassified.

In terms of the documents, all are important to the question of what happened on that disastrous occasion.  But while Worth  was careful to included excerpts from the self-serving testimonies of Adm. Husband Kimmel, Lt. Gen. Walter Short, and Adm. James Richardson, he did not include several other important documents touching on the matter of their responsibility for the disaster, such as the Bellinger-Martin report of March 31, 1941 on the Pearl Harbor’s vulnerability to surprise carrier attack, Lt. Gen. Charles Herron’s testimony about his hand-over of command in Hawaii to Short (which is seriously critical of the latter),  and so forth, serious omissions.

Despite this, although originally published in 1993, this remains the most readily accessible look at some of the most critical documents produced during the various investigations of the events of December 7, 1941, and is a very useful read for anyone interested in Pearl Harbor from a contemporary perspective.

Note:  The original 1993 hardback edition of   Pearl Harbor, is also still available from some used book dealers, ISBN 978-0-8995-0811-5.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close