Pearl Harbor Betrayed

The True Story of a Man and a Nation under Attack

Michael Gannon

Henry Holt and Co.

A naval historian draws on newly revealed primary documents to shed light on the tragic errors that led to the devastating attack, Washington's role, and the man who took the fall for the Japanese tactical victory

Michael Gannon begins his authoritative account of the "impossible to forget" attack with the essential background story of Japan's imperialist mission and the United States' uncertain responses-especially two lost chances of delaying the inevitable attack until the military was prepared to defend Pearl Harbor.
Gannon disproves two Pearl Harbor legends: first, that there was a conspiracy to withhold intelligence from the Pacific Commander in order to force a Pacific war, and second, that Admiral Kimmel was informed but failed to act. Instead, Gannon points to two critical factors ignored by others: that information about the attack gleaned from the "Magic" code intercepts was not sent to Admiral Kimmel, and that there was no possibility that Kimmel could have defended Pearl Harbor because the Japanese were militarily far superior to the American forces in December of 1941.

Gannon has divided the story into three parts: the background, eyewitness accounts of the stunning Japanese tactical victory, and the aftermath, which focuses on the Commander, who was blamed for the biggest military disaster in American history.

Pearl Harbor Betrayed will be published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.


Read an Excerpt


Friends back home used to ask about the Japs. "Hell, we could blow them out of the water in three weeks!" But here we are with our pants down and the striking force of our Pacific Fleet is settling on the bottom of East Loch, Pearl Harbor. Who wouldn't be ashamed?

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Cornelius C. Smith,
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Entry of 7 December 1941

A visitor to the navy yard at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Territory of Hawaii, at sunrise, on Sunday, 7 December 1941 would have experienced one of the most dramatic daybreak scenes in the Pacific O


Praise for Pearl Harbor Betrayed

"Gannon's account of the events surrounding this unforgettable day is straightforward and intensely detailed. His six years of research in U.S. and Japanese archives, including access to personal memoranda, allow him to plainly describe a drama
in which the facts themselves convey enormous suspense."
-Mary H. Meier, The Boston Globe

A groundbreaking and authoritative reappraisal that rewrites the pivotal event that thrust an isolationist nation into war, "a must-read for any student of World War II"--Tom Bowmen, Baltimore Sun

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Michael Gannon

  • Michael Gannon is a Professor of History and the author of Operation Drumbeat, Black May, and a novel, Secret Missions. He lives in Gainesville, FL.





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Pearl Harbor Betrayed

    The True Story of a Man and a Nation under Attack

    Michael Gannon

    • e-Book