Long Day’s Journey into War

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Weintraub’s masterful study of December 7, Pearl Harbor Sunday, is a gripping narrative that rings the globe, circles the time zones, and explores plans for, participation in, and reactions to events at a decisive moment in modern history.

As compelling as any fast-paced thriller, Weintraub’s account of a day that still lives in infamy takes readers to such places as Hawaii, Tokyo, Singapore, Washington, Hitler’s Wolfschanze, the frozen German Eastern Front, and embattled Tobruk.

A prolific biographer, Weintraub’s focus is on people, including FDR and Churchill, Hirohito and Hitler, Prime Minister Tojo, U.S. Admiral Kimmel and General MacArthur. He also introduces a host of journalists, statesmen, military personnel, and civilians whose diaries, memoirs, reports, and letters he has mined to set many records straight and to exorcise, silently, several historical ghosts.

We learn something of young JFK at a Washington Redskins game, Colonel Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers training in Burma, Orson Welles on a cross-country train journey, skipper Papu Wakatsuki of California’s fishing fleet burning his Japanese flag, Charles Lindbergh and other America First isolationists speculating that FDR somehow provoked the Pearl harbor debacle, the visiting San Jose State College Football team helping the Oahu Police, and Washington theatergoers at THE STUDENT PRINCE. A young American, Iva Toguri, trapped in Tokyo, was about to become “Tokyo Rose"; and in Chelmno, Poland, the first victims of the Holocaust died in the onset of the “final solution” to the “Jewish Question” in Europe.

In possibly the most important of his forty-plus books, Weintraub tells a superbly readable and truly fascinating tale.