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2017-12-07

By the Book at the Bandera Library

by Michael Garr

Book Reviews
by Michael Garr,
Bandera Library Director

December 7, a day that will live in infamy, is a great place to start this week’s book reviews. Iconic author, Walter Lord, wrote “Day of Infamy” in 1957. On the 76th anniversary of the fateful day, Lord's book continues to provide a gripping re-creation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In brilliant detail he traces the human drama of the great attack, the spies behind it, the Japanese pilots, the men on the US war ships and the common people affected by these events. The Bandera Library has an original copy of this classic story.
Another story following these events is Gordon W. Pranges’ “At Dawn We Slept.” It is considered a monumental history of Pearl Harbor and is based on 37 years of massive research and countless interviews. It is considered by many to be the landmark study of the Day of Infamy and was written in 1981. The Milwaukee Journal says “An unparalleled historical achievement that reads with the intensity of a suspense novel”.
Two contemporary books about World War Two are on the shelves of the Bandera Library, both of which I have enjoyed reading. “The Admirals—Five Star Admirals that Won the War at Sea” was written by historian Walter R. Borneman and looks at Chester W. Nimitz, William “Bull” Halsey, William D. Leahy and Ernest J. King. All were graduates of the US Naval Academy and each played a pivotal role in the evolution of naval warfare, from battleships to submarines and aircraft carriers. Both rivals and friends, they are the only four men in American History to be accorded the five-star rank of fleet admiral. The author takes us inside the lives and battles of these remarkable men and paints an unmatched portrait of strategy, fortitude and valor.
The last book to be reviewed is Craig Shirley’s “December 1941—31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World.” Publisher Marketing says, “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.
“Featuring colorful personalities such as Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and General Douglas MacArthur, ‘December 1941’ highlights a period of profound change in American government, foreign and domestic policy, law, economics, and business, chronicling the developments day by day through that singular and momentous month.”
These books and more are available to patrons of the Bandera Library. The library recently received a donation of approximately 40 books from a private collection featuring the European and Pacific theaters of combat.
I’ll also take just a moment to welcome our Winter Texan visitors who are now beginning to arrive. Just stop by and obtain a library card to check out materials during your stay with us.
Until the next issue, Read Well and Be Safe!