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December 1941 Changed America: How and Why? Historical Non-Fiction Book Surrounding Month during Pearl Harbor

In his newest book, author Craig Shirley takes on the important topic of the month surrounding Pearl Harbor.  December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World is a book that delves, as no other book has done previously, into how the days leading up to Pearl Harbor during WWII and the days after, completely changed American society as it formerly was known.

Taking numerous, if not thousands, of newspaper and magazine articles and linking them together in research allowed Shirley to give readers a clearer picture of the way that life in 1941 America was over-turned as women went to work, cities grew, and paranoia over Japanese abounded. The mood of country shifted as the Great Depression came to an end and the family lifestyle completely changed forever.  American culture changed forever.

However, some of his facts seem a little off and I wonder why his editor didn’t fact check. Though this is of course a non-fiction book, it also seems to have quite a bit of his personal thoughts in it, which I suppose he is allowed to voice since it is his book. However, it might offend those leaning more to the left. It is all how you take it, I suppose.  I might not agree with it all either in regards to conservative vs. leftist politics, but it is his opinion and readers shouldn’t take it all as fact. He’s a conservative person, this truly comes through in his book. I won’t judge him for that.

The book jacket cover gives a good explanation of the book’s agenda:  “Relying on daily news reports from around the country and recently declassified ed government papers, Shirley sheds light on the crucial diplomatic exchanges leading up to the attack, the policies on internment of Japanese living in the U.S. after the assault, and the near-total overhaul of the U.S. economy for war.

Shirley paints a compelling portrait of pre-war American culture: the fashion, the celebrities, the pastimes. And his portrait of America at war is just as vivid: heroism, self-sacrifice, mass military enlistments, national unity and resolve, and the prodigious talents of Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley aimed at the Axis Powers, as well as the more troubling price-controls and rationing, federal economic takeover, and censorship.”

The book is thick in page number, as well as in research and details and gives the reader not just a glimpse, but an abundance of information regarding this pivotal era in our history. Teenagers and middle-aged persons as myself could never begin to understand completely the emotions and life-changing events surrounding WWII and the events of December 1941. Our lives are so completely different because of them, but as our lives are completely different in this modern age due to that, we also have a hard time relating to the structure of life as it was during WWII. This poignant novel is so very important to not only readers of history, but to every generation who did not live through this era and does not have grandparents still living and able to pass down the stories of this time.

The book is intricately well-written and Shirley is knowledgable on his topic. I appreciate him writing this book as it will forever condense history of December 1941 in one volume and be a history book for scholars and students to look back on years from now to understand this most pivotal event in American History.

For fans of history, and especially WWII era, I would definitely recommend this book from that perspective.  As a reader, you will be able to feel the emotions of the people and the country as they are on the brink of a change in all business, economics, government, and lifestyle structures.

To see a YouTube video with the author, a “peek” into the book, and more information about the book, click on this link to Thomas Nelson publishers:  http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=9781595554574.


I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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