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December 1941

31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World
  • By Craig Shirley

In the days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, eyes in America were focused on the war in Europe or distracted by the elevated mood sweeping the country in the final days of the Great Depression. But when planes dropped out of a clear blue sky and bombed the American naval base and aerial targets in Hawaii, all of that changed. "December 1941" takes readers into the moment-by-moment ordeal of a nation waking to war.

Best-selling author Craig Shirley celebrates the American spirit while reconstructing the events that called it to shine with rare and piercing light. By turns nostalgic and critical, he puts readers on the ground in the stir and the thick of the action. Relying on daily news reports from around the country and recently declassified government papers, Shirley sheds light on the crucial diplomatic exchanges leading up to the attack, the policies on internment of Japanese living in the U.S. after the assault, and the near-total overhaul of the U.S. economy for war.

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.

"December 1941" features surprising revelations, amusing anecdotes, and heart-wrenching stories, and also explores the unique religious and spiritual dimension of a culture under assault on the eve of Christmas. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the closest thing to war for the Americans was uncoordinated, mediocre war games in South Carolina. Less than thirty days later, by the end of December 1941, the nation was involved in a pitched battle for the preservation of its very way of life, a battle that would forever change the nation and the world.


"Craig Shirley's "December 1941 "is a riveting narrative history of America in the crucible of the Second World War. A real page turner. Highly recommended." ―Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and "New York Times "bestseller of "The Wilderness Warrior "

"" "As ever, Craig Shirley has given us a compulsively readable history of great sweep and startling detail. The month in 1941 he has chosen to chronicle did indeed change the way we live now, the way we will live as long as liberty is the organizing principle and animating spirit of America." ―Jon Meacham, best-selling author of "American Lion and Franklin and Winston
"Fascinating way to experience the look and the feel, the reactions and the emotion, the strategy, and the painful surprises of those 31 days." --"National Review"
"It is terrific . . . tremendous report on that decisive month which changed America and the world." --Newt Gingrich
"The book also reveals . . . blockbuster historical moment s]. Shirley. . . takes a new tack in his book about Pearl Harbor. Instead of just writing how it all went down, his book attempts to give readers a feel for how the country felt 70 years ago. He accomplishes that by providing anecdotal information from nearly 2,000 newspapers and magazines." --"US News & World Report"
"Craig Shirley, known for creating a you-are-there atmosphere in his earlier books about Ronald Reagan's 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, has done it again. This account shows us what is possible when the nation is aroused." ―"Washington Times"

"Masterful new book . . . Shirley not only transports us back to that tumultuous time, but reminds this generation that denial about an enemy's intentions can have grave consequences." ―Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist

"Successful attempt to capture the sights and sounds of that long-ago era . . . in impressive detail . . . tells us about the attitudes, cultural mores and prejudices of an America on the eve of entry into the second great war." ―"Human Events"

"Terrific piece of work " ―Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC

"Shirley's day-by-day account manages to shed new light on a critical period in our history." ―

"Every chapter is a day. I love sort of in the moment history like this."

--Chuck Todd, MSNBC, 12.28.2012.

"This book sounds fascinating to me. I am big history buff and I certainly will pick this one up."

--Dennis Miller, 12.05.2011.

"Offers a rare opportunity to relive that incredible month in a time-travel sort of way, rather than read about it in the hindsight of history. It is a time capsule of the period, and is so compelling it is a hard book to set aside."

--Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12.04.2011.

"A timely piece of history."

--Washingtonian, 12.06.2011

"Enthralling account of the early weeks of World War II on the home front."

--Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, 12.22.2011

"Craig Shirley's December 1941 is flat-out terrific - intelligent, hugely descriptive, extensively researched...and passionate in a way so few histories allow themselves to be anymore."

--Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly, 12.22.2011

"I love historical non-fiction. I read it everywhere, in bathroom, wherever I am. But typically it's written from sort of a distant perspective. You went through newspapers and magazines, and all the accounts of time. It gives an immediacy that I think it's difficult to find in these types of things."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 01.05.2012

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  • Additional Details
    • SKU: 9781595554574
    • Manufacturer: Thomas Nelson Pub
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9781595554574
    • Publication Date: 12/01/2011
    • Format: Hardcover
    • Author: Craig Shirley
    • Page Count: 656
    • Weight: 1.95 pounds
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