At Dawn we slept

The 1982 Edition

The Untold story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon W. Prange

This monumental work is the classical reference for any study of the Dec, 7th 1941 attack. It presents the raid in the overall Political and Military situation of late 1941. 

The emphasis from the author is the view from the different Staffs. However the IJN Senior Officers testimonies should have been carefully examined as they are not exempt from bias. Pearl Harbor was presented as an extremely successful operation to the Emperor and the Japanese people and it is not easy to provide a different opinion.This book does not conduct a critical review of the Japanese plan, execution and results.

Similarly, the review of the US Army and US Navy at Pearl Harbor is also focused on the leadership and particularly Admiral Kimmel, analyzing whether he was responsible of the disastrous outcome or just a scapegoat. We can summarize the 2 key blames for the Navy Command:

  • The lack of aerial reconnaissance
  • The lack of torpedo nets in the harbor 

It is interesting that the sanctions against the US Army Commander in Chief were less harsh despite more area of concerns:

  • The alert state of the Air Force
  • The lack of cooperation with the Navy
  • The mismanagement of Radar information
  • The readiness of Anti Aircraft assets

But this controversy on the demotion of the Navy Admiral is not historically important.

Prange, Gordon W. (1981) At Dawn we slept: The untold story of Pearl Harbor. Penguin Books ISBN 0-1400-6455-9

Leave a Reply