Day of Infamy Essay
Lord, Walter. Day of Infamy. 243pp. New York: Wordsworth Editions, 1998
Day of Infamy examines what is possibly the most remembered day in American history.
Author Walter Lord recounts the days and weeks leading up to the Japanese attack of Pearl
Harbor though the eyes of the people closest to the action. Through his personal interviews with
survivors from the United States Armed Forces, and the citizens living on the island Oahu, as
well as research from the archives or recorded Japanese history concerning this historic date,
Lord attempts to present Sunday, December 7, 1941 from the humanistic side. His personal
interviews have lent much insight as to what it was like for both sides in the days and weeks
leading up to and through the attack. Lord attempts to bring the reader into the drama by
including the smallest details as they were recalled to him by the officers, enlisted men, citizens
and bystanders of both Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu. He attempts to convey to the reader
that, contrary to some public opinion, the attack might not have been a total surprise as there may
have been some warning signs during the weeks and days leading up to December 7, 1941.
Whether or not he subscribes to the theory that the invasion was a total surprise, one thing is
made clear with his writing: if, indeed, there were any warning signs indicating the upcoming
attack, they were ignored or taken lightly by both the service personnel and the officers stationed
at Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. fleet was in no way prepared or ready to fend off any type of attack
The author does an excellent job of depicting the U.S. fleet in the water with no way of
protecting themselves from the Japanese, who took full advantage of the opportunity.
As, The book Day of Infamy is written using personal accounts to tie together recorded
events in history, thereby providing more of an in-depth look at the…