Book Review: 1941

1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved The World by Craig Shirley takes us on a tour of December, 1941 before and after the Pearl Harbor Attack. Shirley uses newspaper accounts, confidential government documents, and other sources to give us a tour of that era. He also used small, humorous side stories to give us an idea of life following the attack.

Like any history book, there is a bias. Shirley does write FDR in a good light. According to other sources, FDR was practically worshiped in that era lending a light of truth to Shirley’s words. Those who disagreed with FDR, says Shirley, faced intense criticism or fines and jail time. There is a conservative bias to Shirley’s words as there are sometimes a liberal bias in other history books. FDR ignored the Constitution during World War II, displacing a CEO, taking over private businesses, causing high unemployment as he stopped private businesses from making their products and ordered them to go into war production. FDR also put many Japanese, Italian and German immigrants into softer versions of a concentration camp, in many cases because of their nationality. Chinese had to wear badges to proclaim their nationality because many mistook them for Japanese. Japanese-Americans lost many of their freedoms and businesses without re-compensation during this time.

Shirley also talks about his relatives who died at Pearl Harbor. He has done his research as evidenced by the pages of references at the end. There were also spelling errors, like the word ‘material’ spelled, ‘materiel’. This is not light reading. Do not expect to finish it quickly.

*I gave this book four stars. Book given by publisher to review.