Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th

Written by Newt Gingrich William R. Fortschen
Review by Mark F. Johnson

First in what is sure to be a great series, this alternate history tale starts way back in 1934 at Etajima, the Japanese naval academy. It poses the question: what if Yamamoto himself had led the attack on Pearl Harbor and decided to press his luck with more than two attack waves? The answer to that question and the basis for Yamamoto’s presence are influenced by events which happened during the previous decade: the internal struggle that brought the military into power, the development of naval air power even as the United States and Great Britain sought to limit Japan’s naval strength, and Japan’s own growing imperialism.

This is alternate history at its best, although I use the word “alternate” lightly, as this tale, much like this duo’s previous Civil War series, really only tweaks history in one small way and then develops an entirely plausible scenario from there. The subtitle gives a hint of one such tweak. And while the authors use most of this book to build the background for this alternate view, the dénouement is well worth the wait. I’m sure the remainder of the series will be equally so.