by Beth Bailey and David Farrer, editors
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2019. Pp. xiv, 216.
Illus., maps, graphics, notes., index. $29.95 paper. ISBN: 0700628134
The “First Day” of the Pacific War
Beyond Pearl Harbor consists of an introduction, prologue, and ten essays by scholars from six nations on four continents, which examine the reactions and interpretations of the series of Japanese attacks across the Pacific on December 7th and 8th of 1941, from several perspectives – American of course (with its narrow focus on the Japanese “sneak attack”), as well as Japanese, British, Chinese (already experiencing years of Japanese aggression), Australian, Filipino, and more generally by the colonized peoples of the Asia-Pacific region.
The prologue lays out the order in which the events of the day unfolded. This is critically important, because the Japanese attack on Malaya, dated December 8th, actually occurred more than an hour before that on Oahu, dated on the 7th, the difference due to the existence of the International Date Line.
Two essays deal with America’s coming to terms with the events, and defining “American”. A third paper addresses how the events altered Australia’s ties with Britain, and two more look at the effects of the day on China. One essay makes several important points about the influence of the seemingly unstoppable Japanese offensive on nascent nationalist movements in many colonies, and another is devoted the effect of the events in the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Three papers look at Japanese perceptions of the events of the day, from the initial burst of national pride in having so totally humbled the Western great powers, through the role of Pearl Harbor in eventual reconciliation and alliance with the United States.
A volume in the UPK’s series “Modern War Studies”, Beyond Pearl Harbor is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the Pacific war.
Note: Beyond Pearl Harbor is also available in several e-editions.
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