• Pearl Harbor

  • From Infamy to Greatness
  • By: Craig Nelson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 18 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (280 ratings)

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Pearl Harbor

By: Craig Nelson
Narrated by: George Guidall
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Publisher's Summary

Published in time for the 75th anniversary, a gripping and definitive account of the event that changed 20th-century America - Pearl Harbor - based on years of research and new information uncovered by a New York Times best-selling author.

The America we live in today was born not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when almost 400 Japanese planes attacked the US Pacific Fleet, killing 2,400 men and sinking or damaging 16 ships. In Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness, Craig Nelson follows, moment by moment, the sailors, soldiers, pilots, admirals, generals, emperors, and presidents, all starting with a pre-polio assistant secretary of the navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, against the backdrop of the imperial, military, and civilian leaders of Japan lurching into ultranationalist fascism, all culminating in an insanely daring scheme to shock the Allies with a technologically revolutionary mission in one of the boldest military stories ever told - one with consequences that continue to echo in our lives today.

Besides the little-understood history of how and why Japan attacked America, we can hear the abandoned record player endlessly repeating "Sunrise Serenade" as the Japanese bombs hit the deck of the California; we feel terror as navy wives, helped by their Japanese maids, upturn couches for cover and hide with their children in caves from a rumored invasion; and we understand the mix of frustration and triumph as a lone American teenager shoots down a Japanese bomber. Backed by a research team's five years of efforts with archives and interviews, producing nearly a million pages of documents, as well as a thorough reexamination of the original evidence produced by federal investigators, this definitive history provides a blow-by-blow account from both the Japanese and American perspectives and is a historical drama on the greatest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy, and heroism of the attack in stunning detail and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen and resonant consequences.

©2016 Craig Nelson (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Pearl Harbor

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Worst recording ever from audible

I have downloaded dozens of books from audible. Undoubtedly, this is the absolute worst recording I've ever listened too. Bad audio, glitches, varying speed. I deserve my money back on this one. I was interested in the subject matter or I never would have made it to the end. Terrible.

6 people found this helpful

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Poorly researched, author loses credibility.

If you know nothing about Pearl Harbor, do not buy this book it will misinform you. If you know anything about Pearl Harbor in particular or the War in Pacific in general this book will anny you.
Unlike other reviewers I found the narration compelling and the writing very good. Before listening to this book, I would say George Guidall could make any book worth listening to. I can no longer say that. The author makes several technical errors ( for example he speaks of Japan sinking Russian dreadnoughts in 1905 while in fact there were no dreadnoughts at Tsushima in 1905, the ship that gave its name to the class was not launched until 1906, Mayor Cermak was shot with a handgun, not a rifle, in the attempt o FDR's life and the Japanese 24 inch torpedo was not 2 feet long but 24 inches in diameter--its actual length was 9 meters, a little of 29 feet).
I stopped listening however when Mr. Nelson stated the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Dutch East Indies occurred in September 1940 as well as the total occupation of French Indochina . How he came across this information is baffling. The reason Japan attacked Pearl Harbor is that Japan feared that if invaded those territories then the USN would use the Philippines as a base to attack Japanese supply lines. If the US had stood idly by when these colonies were seized ther would be no need to attack the USN at Pearl Harbor.
In sum whatever new insights the author brings to the table can not be given credence due to very basic historical and technical misinformation.

5 people found this helpful

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From Nadir to Zenith

The story is well organized and thoroughly written. Hugely satisfying in the end to revisit this pivotal moment in history. That said, there were issues. I almost did not make it past the first half of the listen. The audio was annoying. Every 30-40 seconds the timber of the narrator voice changed significantly. It seemed there were either multiple speakers or the narrator was struggling. It was finally apparent that either the recording equipment was sub-par or the media used was poor or damaged. Being early on, the author was relating a lot of mundane but required details about the characters involved. It was tedious. With all that, I am glad I stuck with it as the audio improved at the time the story fully blossomed. The personal stories detailing the events made it personal in a way other books have not accomplished. It’s a must listen. And the story is deserving of being either refurbished or a new recording.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Book Ruined by Horrible Narration and Quality

It's hard to get past the very bad narration and horrendous audio quality of this audio book, despite the well told story of the events leading to Pearl Harbor. I've listened to dozens of books and this is by far the worst audio quality I've even encountered. Listening to the first three quarters of the book the audio has so many audio edits and changes in volume and speed it is jarringly distracting. Couple this with the narrator's very odd voice inflections, especially his frequent accenting the last syllabic of words, the book is a very bumpy ride.

For whatever reason, the edits and speed changes abruptly normalize for the last quarter of the book, but by then the author is done with Pearl Harbor and takes a non-linear journey through battles following the Pearl Harbor attack.

If you're interested in the events leading to Pearl Harbor, this book has excellent information, particularly on the events taking place in Japan and the breaking of Japanese naval codes long before the Dec. 7, 1941 attack. But I would read and flip pages and not listen to this audio.

2 people found this helpful

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An excellent recounting

From Nanking to the deck of the Missouri and the wars end. A wonderful examination not only of the attack (though that's exhaustively documented) but of the far reaching implications of Imperial Japan's foreign policy decisions. With primary source accounts from both sides it's a gruesome yet compelling look at the defining moment of 20th century American history.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, awful narration

Craig Nelson’s Pearl Harbor is a first-rate history of that formative event, weaving together global politics, regional tensions, and battlefield horrors. The text is well-organized and meticulously researched, and makes a riveting story. In Nelson’s convincing analysis, Pearl Harbor was not simply the impetus for America’s entry into World War II, but the seminal event that led to the birth of modern America as a global superpower. George Guidall’s narration, however, is awful, and just about ruins this excellent text. His delivery is broken and staccato, his voice asthmatic and nasal. He mispronounces Hawaiian and other Polynesian place-names. This was the second book I’ve listened to on Audible.com that was butchered by Guidall’s narration. Note to self: do not rent any other Audible books narrated by George Guidall.

1 person found this helpful

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Nothing New Here

If you get this book hoping for previously undisclosed secrets, or or overlooked evidence of a momentous nature, you'll be very disappointed. This is just a lukewarm redo of a story told many times before.
George Guidall does an admirable job with rehashed information, but the story is so familiar that he can't do anything to assist and keep the listeners interested.

1 person found this helpful

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Should be required reading in U.S. High Schools

I expected a good read based on Rocket Men and wasn't disappointed. If anything, it was even better. Don't personally care for the narrator, but to each his own.
I just returned from Honolulu and was at Pearl Harbor 15 days ago, and had picked up the book because I like to read about places before I visit them. I was about halfway through before the trip and finished since returning.
Very informative, clearly well-researched, but not an easy read as (especially since I was just there) there are so many raw painful first-hand accounts. At a couple places, after listening for long stretches, I had to stop for awhile because I have a very capable imagination and the descriptions were heart-rending and tragic----yet I was also glad they were there----everyone on Earth should know that war IS hell, and it's not just a video game or voyeuristic online video for those who have lived through it. (And makes me very conscious of what is happening in the Ukraine right now, we still live in a world with such insanity.)

The book, besides being very thorough, I think also does a very nice job of putting the causes and world outcomes in an understandable and thought-provoking context.

A tough read at times to get through, but a very impressive and worthy book.

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very good book.

good narrator. the recording studio needs to remember the levels they set from one session to another. the mistakes from the dates could've came for many reasons. read wrong, typo in the printing b house , editing. the list goes on. throwing the baby out with the bath water is just foolish. I however think this book especially the first 5 minutes of chapter 4needs a warning . the extremely graphic nature of Japanese barbarity needs a warning. I'm not saying it shouldn't be told, it should be. But no warning of that left me in tears for a half hrs. And if you big strong men out there say I'm too sensitive I say maybe your too insensitive. Not all history lovers want to hear that.
I knew about Nanking I just think a heads up would've been nice that's all.

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Nelson brings home the horror & brutality of War.

My father's war. He was in the European theatre...because of Pearl Harbor. Excellent presentation of all aspects of this momentous event. We should learn from this and be better for it.