Days of Infamy

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“Absolutely brilliant! Fast paced and filled with tension and suspense. Every page resonates with the momentous events and great personalities of World War II – and scenes so carefully crafted you feel like you’re there. This is a ‘must read’ for all who look at history and wonder: “What if…” -- Oliver North, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.), host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel

In 2007, bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen ...

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“Absolutely brilliant! Fast paced and filled with tension and suspense. Every page resonates with the momentous events and great personalities of World War II – and scenes so carefully crafted you feel like you’re there. This is a ‘must read’ for all who look at history and wonder: “What if…” -- Oliver North, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.), host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel

In 2007, bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen launched a new epic adventure series about World War II in the Pacific, with their book Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, 1941, which instantly rocketed to the New York Times bestseller list.

Gingrich and Forstchen’s now critically acclaimed approach, which they term “active history,” examines how a change in but one decision might have profoundly altered American history. In Pearl Harbor they explored how history might have been changed if Admiral Yamamoto had directly led the attack on that fateful day, instead of remaining in Japan. Building on that promise, Days of Infamy starts minutes after the close of Pearl Harbor, as both sides react to the monumental events triggered by the presence of Admiral Yamamoto. In direct command of the six carriers of the attacking fleet, Yamamoto decides to launch a fateful “third-wave attack” on the island of Oahu, and then keeps his fleet in the area to hunt down the surviving American aircraft carriers, which by luck and fate were not anchored in the harbor on that day.

Historians have often speculated about what might have transpired from legendary“matchups” of great generals and admirals. In this story of the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the notorious gambler Yamamoto is pitted against the equally legendary American admiral Bill Halsey in a battle of wits, nerve, and skill.
Days of Infamy recounts this alternative history from a multitude of viewpoints---from President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and the two great admirals, on down to American pilots flying antiquated aircraft, bravely facing the vastly superior Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft. Gingrich and Forstchen have written a sequel that’s as much a homage to the survivors of the real Pearl Harbor attack as it is an imaginative and thrilling take on America’s entry into World War II.

Praise for the first book in the Pacific War Series, Pearl Harbor:

"A thrilling tale of American's darkest day."
--W.E.B. Griffin

"Masterful storytelling that not only captures the heroic highs and hellish lows of that horrific day which lives on in infamy--it resonates with today's conflicts and challeneges."
--William E. Butterworth IV, New York Times bestselling author of The Saboteurs

"A politician and a novelist, each an accomplished historian in his own right, are emerging as master authors of alternative history. In this “what if” treatment of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen combine their talents to make the diplomacy as suspenseful as the combat, even for readers who know what happens next–or think they know."
--Dennis Showalter, former president of the Society of Military Historians

"This book is not only a great read, it is a fascinating historical story that applies today in Iraq as it did in the Western Pacific in the late 30s and 40s."
--Captain Alex Fraser, USN (Ret.)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen have already offered a fresh take on World War II with their novel Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, 1941. This "active history" shows how one decisive change can alter the course of even global events. In the case of Pearl Harbor, that change was the reassignment of Admiral Yamamoto to direct the attack. In Days of Infamy, American naval leaders struggle to counter, or at least neutralize the masterful strategies of the Japanese commander. Riveting history with a difference.
Library Journal

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has spawned multitudes of what-if scenarios. In the authors' previous book, Pearl Harbor, what might have happened if the attack on Pearl Harbor had been pressed harder was answered: it would have been catastrophic for the United States. This sequel graphically and plausibly tells what could have happened if the Japanese and U.S. fleets had found and battled each other in the desperate days following the attack. Skillfully combining historical characters with fictional ones, Gingrich and Forstchen have crafted a riveting, exciting, and realistic novel of World War II. Curiously for an alternate history, it does not change events much. There is a feeling of inevitability that diminishes any sense of surprise, as fictional events don't seem to evolve all that differently from actual history. The authors' Civil War trilogy did come to a conclusion; thus, readers will wonder if there will be future books and a subsequent, but different, end to the Pacific War. Recommended for larger collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08; 250,000-copy first printing.]
—Robert Conroy

From the Publisher


“A thrilling tale of America’s darkest day.” —W.E.B. Griffin

“Begins what will be a fascinating alternative history of the war in the pacific.”—Roanoke Times  

“The authors’ research shines in accurate accounts of diplomatic maneuvering as well as the nuts-and-bolts of military action.”—Publishers Weekly

“The authors skillfully mix historical and fictional characters in an enjoyable and thought-provoking tale.”—Library Journal

"Masterful storytelling that not only captures the heroic highs and hellish lows of that horrific day that lives on in infamy—it resonates with today’s conflicts and challenges.”—William E. Butterworth IV, New York Times bestselling author of The Saboteurs

“A politician and a novelist, each an accomplished historian in his own right, are emerging as  master authors of alternative history.  In this “what if” treatment of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen combine their talents to make the diplomacy as suspenseful as the combat, even for readers who know what happens next–or think they know.”

—Dennis Showalter, former president of the Society of Military Historians

“This book is not only a great read, it is a fascinating historical story that applies today in Iraq as it did in the Western Pacific in the late 30s and 40s.”—Captain Alex Fraser, USN (Ret.)

“Gingrich and Forstchen have done it again. Building on their successful collaboration on their Civil War trilogy that so skillfully combined real history with fiction, they have with Pearl Harbor happily inaugurated another new series. You will not want to put it down, but when you finish you will look, as I do, with great anticipation to the next book.”Chief of Police William J. Bratton, Los Angeles Police Department


“With each book in their ongoing alternate history cycle, Gingrich and Forstchen have gone from strength to strength as storytellers. Unabashedly, this is a work of popular historical fiction; it aspires to entertain, first and foremost, but it has passages of genuine depth and poetry which elevate it above many other specimens of its peculiar sub-genre.”—William Trotter, The Charlotte Observer

“The authors’ research is impeccable…the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way.”—Booklist


“An exciting alternative history of the Civil War. Character depictions are vivid, detailed, and insightful. One of the best novels of the Civil War to appear in recent years.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Gingrich and Forstchen have produced a very readable entry into the literature of speculative history. It will be interesting, perhaps even thrilling, to see how the military strategy and political maneuvering plays out in the next installment.”—Civil War Book Review

“A good yarn. The authors provide apt historically plausible detail to give substance to the premise.”—Washington Times

“What the authors come up with is as rivetingly plausible as what they devised in the previous novel. Notably original.”—Booklist

“The Gingrich and Forstchen ‘what-if’ take on the Civil War gathers some steam. The battle scenes continue war-lovingly rendered.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Unabashedly, this is a work of popular historical fiction; it aspires to entertain, first and foremost, but it has passages of genuine depth and poetry that elevate it above many other specimens of its peculiar subgenre.”—Charlotte Observer


 “Sure to become a Civil War classic to be read and remembered.”—W.E.B. Griffin, author of Retreat, Hell!

“Surprisingly plausible, written with compelling narrative force and meticulous detail.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Gingrich and Forstchen write with authority and with sensitivity.”—St. Louis Post Dispatch

“[Gettysburg] is believable and beautifully written...every bit as good as Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels. Not only do Gingrich and Forstchen bring the characters to life, and often horrible death, but they do so with memorable observations on the ways of war and vivid, technically accurate descriptions of frightful Civil War combat.”—The Courier Journal (Kentucky)

“An eye-opener...filled with gore, smoke, heat of battle and a surprise ending. The writing is vivid and clear. A ripping good read.”—Washington Times

“Well-executed alternative history. The authors show thorough knowledge of the people, weapons, tactics, and ambience of the civil war. A veritable feast.”—Publishers Weekly

“As historical fiction this stands beside The Killer Angels. As an alternative history of Gettysburg, it stands alone. The mastery of operational history enables the authors to expand the story’s scope. The narrative is so clear that the action can be followed without maps. And the characters are sometimes heartbreakingly true to their historical originals.”—Dennis Showalter, Former President of the Society of Military Historians

Gettysburg is a creative, clever, and fascinating ‘what if?’ novel that promises to excite and entertain America’s legions of Civil War buffs.”—James Carville

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312560904
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 275,841
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Newt Gingrich

NEWT GINGRICH, front-running Republican primary candidate for the 2012 Presidential Election, former Speaker of the House, bestselling author of Gettysburg and Pearl Harbor, the longest serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting Course for Major Generals at Air University, and an honorary Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University. He resides in Virginia with his wife, Callista, with whom he hosts and produces documentaries, including their latest, “A City Upon A Hill”.

WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN, PH.D., is a Faculty Fellow at Montreal College and is the author of more than forty books.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The White House

December 7, 1941

19:45 hrs E.S.T.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO Roosevelt looked up from the text of his speech as General George Marshall stood at the doorway, a flimsy sheet of telex printout clutched in his hand.

The President turned back to Missy LeHand, his secretary, pointing out where he had just crossed out a line for the address he was preparing for the nation, now scheduled for noon tomorrow before a joint session of Congress.

"Here, put this in the first sentence," and he pointed to his margin notes, " ‘a date which will live in infamy.’ "

She nodded in agreement.

He now focused his attention on his Army chief of staff.

"What do you have for us?"

"This just came in, Mr. President," and Marshall stepped into the room, unfolding the telex sheet and handing it to him. "It reports that a third strike wave of at least seventy Japanese aircraft is attacking Pearl Harbor. The line went dead approximately ten minutes ago."

The President scanned the few brief lines: "Oil tank farms struck. Fires out of control. Harbor channel blocked. Preparing to face invasion. . . ." The message stopped in midsentence.

The President crumpled the report up, ready to angrily toss it on the floor by the side of his wheelchair, but then thought again. It was a document now, a moment of history, and he instead tossed it onto his desk, to be filed away for later. Attack the United States, would they? On our own soil? Without a declaration of war?

He thought about this dastardly sneak attack. What could this ever be compared to? Even when the British attacked and burned Washington and this very building to the ground, we knew we’d survive. Could this onslaught be but the beginning? Hitler was at the gates of Moscow. Might the Japanese turn on the Soviets as well, together those two dark powers finish off Stalin and then fling their entire fury at England and then us?

It was sobering to be the President presiding over the crisis of Western civilization and its death struggle with the forces of modern evil in both Europe and Asia. Our civilization must not lose this war, or it would be, indeed, as Winston Churchill said, "a thousand years of darkness."

No, never think about the possibility of defeat, he thought to himself. If I allow that thought ever to take hold, it could permeate down across the entire nation. If ever America, if ever the entire free world, needed leadership that showed not just righteous anger, but also a firm, calm resolve that inevitable victory would come, it was now. Being an optimist was a trait he had acquired at Warm Springs, Georgia, when everyone else thought he should relax and accept that polio had crippled him and ended his political life. If he had given in eighteen years earlier, he would not be in the White House looking at General Marshall and dictating his most important speech to Congress.

No, he thought to himself, these Japanese will not turn me to thoughts of defeat, and neither will Herr Hitler. They have given us the possibility of bringing to bear the full force of our great people and the full resources of our great nation and now, after three years of quiet sustained effort, our preparedness program will show its results.

That strength had to be aroused through words. Words often meant more than ships and planes and tanks. It was words that aroused a people and focused a nation. He thought of his good friend across the Atlantic with fondness for his inspiring courage and language.

Though some of the more effete and cynical still privately shook their heads about Winston Churchill’s posturing and rhetoric, there would never be a denial that the strength of his words and his pugnacious defiance were worth as much as an entire army in the field and had braced England in the darkest days of its long history.

I must do the same. I must be the war President. I must lead. If I show weakness now, even for a moment, then surely darkness will triumph. In fact I must become the President of inevitable victory transcending the war.

He stirred from his thoughts and looked back at Marshall, who stood silent by the doorway into his office.

"Anything else?" the President asked, fixing Marshall with his gaze.

"Not much, sir. Most cable links to Hawaii are down. Apparently the terminus on Oahu was damaged. Our Army radio monitoring at the Presidio in San Francisco reports that it can still pick up a civilian station that is frantically calling for volunteers to donate blood, and for anyone with medical training to report to the nearest military base. World War One veterans with combat experience are to report, too. The Lightning Division and national guard units are mobilizing and preparing to repel any landing attempts, but it is still too early to tell what’s really happening.

"Other than that, sir, we are in the dark."

"Have you talked to Admiral Stark?"

"Yes, sir. I must say he is still in shock. It is his fleet that has taken the brunt of the immediate punishment. The only good news is this: Our two carriers still based at Pearl Harbor were out to sea and for the moment are assumed to be safe."

"Where are they now?"

"Halsey with Enterprise is believed to be somewhere southwest of Oahu. Lexington unfortunately is not in mutual support range; it is more than seven hundred miles to the northwest of Enterprise. They

could hardly have been assigned farther apart. It was just random chance, sir, call it good luck or bad, with Halsey inbound after dropping planes off at Wake Island and Newton on Lexington outbound to Midway on the same mission. I just thank God they were not in the harbor this morning, which has usually been the typical routine."

Roosevelt, a sailor and former undersecretary of the Navy, could picture the scenario and already had the potential answer. Along with Enterprise and Lexington being out at sea, a month back Saratoga had secretly transited back to the West Coast, for a refit in Bremerton, Washington, and was just preparing to head back out to Oahu.

As Marshall had just voiced, thank God the timing of all this regarding the aircraft carriers had worked out as it did, otherwise they would be burned-out hulks resting in the mud and flames of Pearl Harbor, along with the battleships.

"Do we even have a remote idea as to the size of the Japanese fleet that hit us?" Roosevelt asked.

Marshall shook his head.

"Apparently no one has yet organized a proper search. It could be four of their carriers; Admiral Stark thinks maybe five or six. There is no clear indication. We don’t even know what direction they came from."

The President grunted at the lack of intelligence and analysis. "Surely we must do better than that," he said to General Marshall, "and quickly."

One of the first priorities would be to get Yorktown and Hornet transferred out to the Pacific. Together, five carriers could be a potent match-up with the Japanese—if Enterprise and Lexington survived the next few days.

That was a very big if.

He considered the distances, the obvious aggressiveness of the Japanese attack force. If he could step inside the mind of their admiral in command, whoever he was, chances were he would not be satisfied with the destruction inflicted so far. The third strike was proving that. A more timid soul would have made the surprise attacks of the morning and then pulled out. This opponent was in it for the kill.

"The Japs could move between our two carriers out there and finish each off in turn."

"If their continued aggressiveness is any indication." Marshall hesitated. "I am not a naval officer, sir, but yes, that would be my assessment."

"I want those carriers to hit back, and hit them hard," the President replied sharply. "If whoever launched this attack wishes to seek out our carriers, I expect ours not to turn tail and run, but to fight," and he slapped the sides of his wheelchair. "To fight them, by God, and show them from the start that we intend to punch back."

"I know Admiral Halsey, sir," Marshall said quietly. "I think that is a foregone conclusion."

The President nodded. He reached into his breast pocket, opened his cigarette case, inserted one into its holder, and lit it. Never in the history of American arms, in the history of the United States Navy, had such a defeat been dealt. Perhaps in the war against the Barbary pirates, when America’s only ship of the line, Philadelphia, had been lost, but not eight capital ships in one morning. And it was on his watch.

Now two carriers and what was left of the shattered fleet in Pearl, along with a couple of small task groups led by cruisers luckily out to sea as well this morning, were the only tools left to try and balance the ledger of this grim and terrible day. Later, thanks to the massive building program he and Carl Vinson had pushed through Congress during peacetime, there would be more than enough ships and planes. Last year he had called for fifty thousand planes to be built, more aircraft than existed in all the air forces of all the other nations now in this war. The factories to build them were still under construction, but soon the strength of America, would start to pour warplanes forth from those factories. Already tens of thousands of young men were in training to fly those planes yet to be built.

Come autumn of next year, a new fleet carrier would be sliding down the ways each month. Battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines by the hundreds were under construction even now. But those forces were more than a year off. In the meantime, what can

the Japanese, who have been preparing for years for this moment, do to us? Perhaps sweep the entire Pacific from the China coast to San Francisco and so entrench themselves that it could take a decade or more to push them back, if ever.

But it’s a year or more before we can even begin to replace our losses, until then we have to fight with what we have. This evening it all rests on two understrength carrier groups, their crews, and the as-yet-untested young men flying antiquated planes.

"Please ask Admiral Stark to see me at once. I expect our boys to fight back, starting now, today. If we lose our carriers but deal it back to them"—he hesitated only for the briefest instant—"back to those bastards, then that is a risk we must be willing to take."

Aboard the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Akagi 150 miles north of Oahu December 7, 1941 18:00 hrs local time

"SO WHAT IS the final tally of our losses?" Admiral Yamamoto asked, looking at Commander Genda.

Genda looked down at his notepad.

"All six carriers of the fleet have filed their reports. We lost twenty-nine planes in the first two strikes and another thirty-five damaged, twenty of them requiring extensive repairs and half of those to be broken down for spare parts, then jettisoned. The third strike was far more costly. Of the seventy-seven planes engaged, twenty-seven were lost, another twenty-one damaged, of which seven have been listed as no longer combat effective and should be salvaged for parts. That is a total of at least eighty-six aircraft that are no longer combat effective. Our strike capability has therefore been reduced to a total of just under three hundred aircraft."

Yamamoto, saying nothing, sipped his cup of tea, then sat back, lit another cigarette with his American Zippo lighter, a gift from long ago, and exhaled.

"Expected. Remember when we war-gamed this in the fall we anticipated upward of a hundred fifty aircraft lost just in the first two strikes. We are still far ahead of the ledger of what we deemed acceptable."

He could see the glum faces, especially those of the leftover staff of Admiral Nagumo, whom he had replaced at the last minute. His third strike had more than doubled the total losses incurred so far, and they were not happy about it.

"And the report on the results of the third strike?"

"Photo recon planes are just returning now," Genda announced. "Developed film will be delivered shortly, but debriefing of pilots indicates a near-fatal blow to their base. Tens of thousands of barrels of oil are burning. There is a report that a cruiser, perhaps a heavy cruiser, has grounded in their main channel. Their submarines still in port have either been destroyed or damaged. Extensive damage to repair shops, several large cranes destroyed, their headquarters totally destroyed, and most important their large three-hundred-meter dry-dock totally eliminated. It is estimated that a score or two score of combat-ready aircraft still exist on the island compared to over three hundred, twelve hours ago."

As Genda spoke he nodded toward his closest friend, Lieutenant Commander Fuchida, still in his flight coveralls. They had been comrades for years, the perfect team, Genda the intellectual architect of the Navy’s air fleet, and Fuchida the practitioner, the one who took the ideas, practiced and perfected them, and turned them into reality. After he was tasked by Admiral Yamamoto at the start of the year, he had conceived the battle plan to strike Pearl Harbor. Fuchida was the one who developed the training routines for the strike force, drilled them relentlessly for months, to a razor-sharp perfection, and then led them into battle this morning.

Genda could not help but smile inwardly at a romantic analogy that flashed to mind. If Yamamoto was their shogun, then he was the old loyal daimyo, the advisor who suggested the plan . . . and it was Fuchida, the bravest of their samurai, who would then train the warriors and lead the charge.

In spite of Yamamoto’s orders to stand down and rest, Fuchida had been unable to sleep for long and begged to attend this briefing, which the admiral with fatherly goodwill had agreed to. Fuchida was most certainly the hero of the day. Having guided the first two strikes and then personally delivering the fatal blow to the drydock in the third strike, he had limped back to Akagi, his plane shot to ribbons, crash landed, and barely escaped with his life.

admiral Yamamoto nodded good-naturedly at the two sitting across from him. Actual commendations and decorations within the Imperial Navy were rare; it was just assumed that all men would do their utmost duty, without regard for self, so why offer medals and rewards? It was a policy that he personally wanted to change, for though it was a most cynical comment, Napoleon had once said that it is with such "baubles" that men are led. He might not be able to offer medals to these two heroes, but when he returned to Tokyo, he already had decided, he would personally present Genda and Fuchida to the Emperor for the praise they so well deserved.

Yamamoto silently contemplated the tip of his glowing cigarette, flicking the ashes, taking another deep drag.

"But their carriers are still out there."

No one spoke.

Nagumo’s overly cautious staff had whispered that very thing throughout the long afternoon, expecting at any minute a counter-strike . . . but none had come.

"They are not north of the islands, of that I am now utterly

certain. If they had been, they would have struck us this afternoon," and he nodded toward the open porthole. Twilight was beginning to settle on the tropical sea, which had flattened out significantly throughout the day.

No, there would be no American strike now. It meant that his gambler’s hunch of earlier in the day had been right. The American carriers were somewhere south or west of the islands, out of range, but they were out there . . . and now he wanted to sink them, to make this victory complete.

He was still shaken by the diplomatic news that had been filtering in all day. Radio stations on the American West Coast had been monitored: bitter commentary that the attack had been unprovoked, without warning, a "Jap sneak attack." That news had horrified him.

The Foreign Ministry had totally failed in their mission. When he had agreed to undertake the planning of this war, back early in the year, he had absolutely insisted, before the Emperor himself, that with his knowledge of Americans, their proper sense of diplomatic and military protocol must be followed. That a formal declaration of war must be delivered before the first bomb fell. Some thought him insane, loudly proclaiming that it was folly, that it would double, triple the losses, but he had always replied that the life of fifty, a hundred pilots, when placed in the balance of fighting an opponent who could not claim "a stab in the back," as Americans put it, would be worth the price. If their sense of correct behavior had been observed, their anger, though significant, would not be aroused to fever pitch. Just as an opponent in cards, knowing he was beaten fairly in a poker match, would withdraw as a gentleman, but if ever he suspected a sleight of hand, a bitter rivalry and hatred that could burn for years would be the result. Yamamoto now faced just such an opponent. The Foreign Ministry had left him with a terrible task. He could not just achieve victory here, he must achieve a crushing victory. It would have been far easier if their carriers had indeed been in harbor, but they were not. The Americans would now turn to those three carriers, Enterprise, Lexington, and Saratoga, and most likely within the month, Yorktown and Hornet, as the means of trying to gain revenge.

No, he had to give an even more crippling blow, a far more crippling blow, and in so doing hammer the Americans into so resigned a mood that only negotiation made sense, in spite of what he expected would be their towering rage.

Perhaps, he thought shrewdly, that rage can be turned to our advantage. An opponent in cards, when losing, tends to become reckless in his desire to win back what he has already lost. I must play to that and must take the risks as well.

Yamamoto stubbed out his cigarette and leaned over, looking at the charts spread out on the table. He traced his finger around the waters south and west of Oahu.

"I am convinced that their three carriers, Enterprise, Lexington, and Saratoga, are somewhere out here," and then he drew a vague outline across nearly a million square miles of ocean, the vast triangle from Oahu northwest to Midway, over 1,100 miles away, and then down to Wake, which stood sentinel over the approaches into the Japanese-held waters of the Marshalls.

"Tomorrow we shall hunt for them there."

There was an uncomfortable stirring, and he looked over at Nagumo’s chief of staff, whom he had retained, at least temporarily, for this mission.

"You object?"

"Sir, though I expressed concerns about your third strike on Pearl Harbor, I now bow to your wisdom. But this?"

"Go on."

"As Commander Genda already pointed out, we are down to less than three hundred aircraft. Their three carriers, which we know carry more planes than our carriers, might be able to marshal three hundred in reply. They might very well be anticipating even now our moving toward them and be ready, aided by what aircraft survived on Oahu to provide scouting reports. We could be at a serious disadvantage tomorrow. They can surmise where we are; we might not be able to do the same."

He paused.

Excerpted from Days of Infamy by Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen, and Albert s. Hanser,.

Copyright 2008 by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen..

Published in August 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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  • Posted October 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well worth reading

    In the alternative history novel Pearl Harbor, authors Gingrich and Forstchen explored what might have happened if Admiral Yamamoto had directly led the attack on Pearl Harbor, rather than staying in Japan. Following up on that successful endeavor, they have written Days of Infamy which picks up right after the attack. As Days of Infamy opens, Admiral Yamamoto's task force of six carriers, supporting cruisers, destroyers and two major battleships launch an attack from the northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. They catch the American battleships lined up in rows and with a succession of three waves of planes eliminate the majority of capital ships of the United States Pacific naval forces. There is fear of an imminent invasion by Japanese troops and panic spreads throughout the islands. On a following night the Japanese battleships Akagi and Hiei launch a bombardment of much of the Island of Maui's infrastructure, firing repeatedly with their fourteen inch guns with shells the size of small cars. Admiral Bill 'Bull' Halsey is off to the southwest of Oahu with the aircraft carrier Enterprise carrying out special training when they hear of the attack. They desperately try to get confirmation of what and where the attacking forces are. Halsey also tries to get any information of possible ground invasions. He launches a series of scouting probes in the areas where they suspect the Japanese might be. Meanwhile, Admiral Draemel has collected several destroyers and one cruiser which managed to get out of Pearl Harbor and launches a series of attacks at the Akagi and Hiei using the cruiser's firepower to help suppress the firing on the destroyers while he launches attack after attack on the Japanese ships with the torpedoes of the destroyers. We're all aware of the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor and those who lived through it can almost recite the events. In Days of Infamy, however, the authors have added a fascinating twist to the story with the simple question of "what if?" What if Yamamoto had accompanied his fleet to Pearl Harbor? The authors have convincingly created an alternative history that reads true-to-life, wrapping real historical events with imagined twists. I found myself wrapped up in this account as the authors successfully brought history to life - I couldn't put the book down. The photos from the Naval archives help to refresh memories and support the story. Quill says: This story is well worth reading.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    This Book is a Great "What If"

    I belived that if the head of the Japan's Navy did lead the Pearl Harbor attack, this is how it would have played out. I would tell history fans to buy this book and the other books my Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    More myth as history

    The most dangerous aspect of this book is the claim of rigorous research during the writing however, most qualified research and history greatly refutes a great deal of the 'history' listed within this novel and its predecessor, 'Pearl Harbor.' This novel continues the excessive hubris of believing the entirity of Japanese naval strategy and effort focused itself on the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet before anything else. The two authors never mentioned the British defenses on Kota Bharu were being shelled well before the first bomb dropped in Hawaii, about the same time the USS Ward was engaging the Japanese mini-sub. Many of the significant characters in Pacific War history are written out. Where is LCDR Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officer for Admirals Richardson, Kimmel and Nimitz? In his autobiography 'And I Was There,' he states the billet of intelligence officer for the U.S. Pacific Fleet had been gapped for some time before he took it under Richardson. Where is Joseph J. Rochefort? And who is Wade McCloskey? LCDR Clarence Wade McClusky was the 'CAG' for the USS Enterprise at the Battle of Midway, earning a Navy Cross. Admiral Nimitz stated his decision was the most critical decision made the Battle of Midway. There is a U.S. Navy ship named after him: USS McCLUSKY (FFG 41). Under what authority did Admiral Yamamoto dismiss the additional tasking for the Kido Butai? Following the attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet, two destroyers were to be detached to proceed and shell Miday Island--curious, the two authors have people guessing when Wake and Midway would be attacked, but in history, FDR mentions their attack in his famous speech on 8 Dec 1941. Amazingly, the brilliant attacks by the Japanese during the first 24 hours of the Pacific War seem to be forgotten by Gingrich and Forstchen. The seven landings on the Kra Isthmus, the march through Thailand, bombing of Singapore, bombing of Wake, conquest of Guam, shelling of Midway, attack on Hong Kong, etc. These two authors continue with the fantasy Japanese strategy revolved around the United States. There is a significant laundry list of better histories to read to understand the nature of the Pacific War, especially its opening moves. Unfortunately, there isn't sufficient space to list them all.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2008

    Disappointing and inaccurate

    This book is fairly interesting, but what it is not is `historically accurate¿, even within the definition of alternative history. Gingrich and Co. manage to get dozens of details wrong, which might be ok if they didn¿t claim to be historians. It¿s obvious that they¿ve read Black Shoe Carrier Admiral by Lundstrom, but darn little else. Here¿s a short list of some errors. They get the gun caliber of the F4F-3 wrong. There were no F4Fs on USS Lexington, the fighter squadron flew Brewsters. The Hawaiian Air Force (HAF) did not fly Brewster Buffalos, which looked a lot more like a Zero than a P-40 did. The USS Enterprise did not have 20mm or 40mm guns in December 1941. There weren¿t any `B¿ model B-17s in Hawaii, and none of the early models carried a belly turret. A US heavy cruiser was unlikely to be knocked out by a single 17.7 inch Japanese aerial torpedo with a 452-pound warhead. The Japanese `Val¿ could not carry 500 kilos. And so on and so on. Even stranger is Gingrich¿s idea that three raids and a bombardment would knock out all the Navy¿s radios. The Navy had a landline to Midway and another station at Hilo, and all the large ships were designed to work worldwide. Also, only one of the numerous Generals and Admirals present comes out of hiding, a preposterous notion. The bombardment idea ignores the fact that Oahu was well equipped with Coast Artillery, who wanted nothing more than a shot at the Japanese. The publisher will probably sell a lot of these and people who don¿t have a clue will laud the book. But it¿s not history---even in an alternate universe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    good read

    The book is written with the right amount of detail that does not distract or burdening the reader. The characters have an emotion of loss and confusion which is a refreshing note of realism and the emotion of the time. Again a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    Well done sequal to "Pearl Harbor"

    This book is a direct continuation to Pearl Harbor. It was action packed and interesting story of what could have happened in the days immediately after Dec 7, 1941.

    The book was action packed and a page turner from cover to cover.

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  • Posted March 16, 2012

    The Dark Days of WWII could have been Darker. Check this out!

    A great follow on to the original Alternate History novel "Pearl Harbor", by the same authors. Picking up right where Pearl Harbor left off, we follow the same cast of characters, both American and Japanese, through the night and day after the Dec. 7 attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The daring Admiral Yamamoto has kept his raiding task force in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands, seeking to complete his victory over the U.S. Fleet by locating and sinking the few carriers plying the Pacific waters. The action is non-stop, deadly, but rife with courage on both sides. A great read for any history buff!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012


    not my cup o' tea

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    Looks good


    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2011

    i didnt even read the book b ut it looks good


    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2010

    days of infamy

    I thought the book remained close to history, but gave a different slant in the "what if" catagory. I had hoped that the pages would continue on through the entire war, but I guess that's for another book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Excellent Revisionist History

    I love the books by Gingrich and Forstchen. Their Gettysburg series awas also excellent, and they are doing the same with Pearl Harbor. They do a great job of telling the story of "what would have happenned" in a given battle and how the little choices could have had huge impacts on a given war and the fate of the world. They do a nice job of character development and really pull you into the story. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history and great story telling. I am looking forward to the third book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    Fast read and entertaining. Second half can stand more editing.

    While a fast read, the book can be confusing and contradictory. I enjoyed the book but it definitely can use better editing, particularly the second half of the book. There is lots of detail, more so than plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    Met both of them! Excellent people & even better authors

    I once met both of them in Hawaii at a Freedom Rally. There I bought 'Pearl Harbor.' That book was good, this book is better. It reads smoothly and is historically accurate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2008


    Most will praise this book as one that effectively narrates a fictionalized account of a bloody battle between America and Japan, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While I¿m impressed at the book¿s ability to fictionalize, I choose to focus on what makes this book truly special ¿ its theme and emotion. At the opening, it becomes clear that the raging emotions of America and Japan are headed into a terrible battle. Thus, the book quickly introduces us to our main characters, whose perspectives we will see this battle from, including celebrated Japanese commanders like Yamamoto and Fuchida, as well as Dianne, a girlfriend of a fighter pilot within the story, among many others. As the book goes on, we go back and forth, from the White House, to command central with Yamamoto, down to Dianne (who is working on the ground, helping American units), and around various American battleships. As the bombs blast and the torpedoes fly, we feel the emotion of every character kick in. With Hawaii being mercilessly bombed in the beginning of the story, we follow our troops and feel their hunger to strike back. Yet, we also feel the emotions of our antagonist, Yamamoto ¿ his sense of honor, his love for his Japanese troops, and his great determination, naturally, make us fall in love with an enemy we ought to hate. Soon, everyone¿s lives intertwine. The narration of how ships are destroyed, airplanes are shot down, and buildings destroyed, naturally leaves us awestruck, as one moment we celebrate the destruction of a Japanese battleship, only to get depressed again as we read about the slaughtering of American fighter pilots. The story of soldiers who are left behind, both Japanese and American, is effectively told, in addition to the torture both sides inflict, as the battle wears on. Both sides are full of honor and vengeance, yet both feel deep pain ¿ the universal emotion that seems to unite every character in the book. As a reviewer, I have never been in a war or seen a war the greatness of this book is that, after reading it, I feel that this is the closest I have ever come to understanding what war is like and how painful it is, from all different angles. Interesting plots aside ¿ I¿m not as celebratory of Gringrich and Forstchen¿s achievement in fictionalizing a great turn in our world¿s history. Rather, I am in awe of their achievement to take us inside the world of a bloody battle, make us see all perspectives, only to leave us wishing that we never see or feel such a sight, ever, in our precious lives. My favorite line of the book would definitely be that of Commander Yamamoto, close to the end, where he reflects on his wins, loses, but most of all, his lost soldiers. In thinking about his upcoming report to the Japanese politicians, he says to himself, ¿Those back home wanted war, but never truly understood the price of war¿¿ -- The line leaves us depressed for those who have perished in war, and perhaps, confused about our own beliefs on war. History and narrative aside, read this book for its wonderful emotion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Fantastic reading

    Can't wait for the next book in this series. Reading it made you a part of the history of the event and was spellbounding.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Incredible storytelling

    Admiral Yamamoto orders Imperial Japanese Naval Air Forces to attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Three waves of bombings destroy much of the American fleet and leave the island in chaos. He believes the Americans reeling from the assault will sue for peace.----------------- However, Yamamoto is stunned when he finds out his own government betrayed his confidence in them. He warned the Foreign Ministry to openly declare war before he ordered the attacks because he understands the American mindset having lived there. He was promised and set his date and time from the first wave accordingly. Instead he knows the Americans will not negotiate a settlement before the hostilities as they perceive this as a sneak attack. They will go all out in an acrimonious avenging extended war in the Pacific that Japan cannot win if it stretches too long. Yamamoto knows his majesty¿s only hope for victory is an all out ruthless assault on the American military throughout the Pacific and he knows his side may not survive the retaliation and counter attacks. Admiral Halsey leads the American response.------------ The concept is excellent as Yamamoto concludes the narrow-minded idiot politicians back in Tokyo did not do him or the country any favors when they failed to simply formally inform FDR of the war declaration as he knows the sleeping giant has been awakened into an angry snarling tiger. The execution by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen is superb as the audience will believe the sequel to Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th, 1941 is plausible. What if fans will appreciate this fast-paced war in the Pacific alternate history as the military and political action never slows over a few days of infamy in December 1941.---------------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Second in a Great Alternate History Series

    The first book in this series, Pearl Harbor, was just the opening act in a days long horror that will set the Pacific ablaze as two of World War II's greatest commanders, Yamamoto and Bull Halsey, clash in the greatest naval battle never to have happened. It is the narrative genius of Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen that makes one think that the battle in Days of Infamy must have happened. Days of Infamy is also a meditation on one of the essential truths of war. Whatever the issues, whatever the cause, whatever the failure that led up to it, the one thing that is true of every war, especially World War Two, is that young men die decades before their time. There is plenty of such death in Days of Infamy, much of it heartbreaking. In Days of Infamy young pilots take off from the pitching deck of a carrier with the dawn, knowing that very likely they will not live to see the dusk. Some face that prospect with resolution, some with terror. Even more horrendous than the terror of battle thousands of feet over the Pacific, taking minutes or even seconds to resolve, is the horror of the aftermath. Days of Infamy tells about burning ships, taking on water, and crews desperately trying to keep them afloat and operational, or at least moving toward some form of refuge. Death by fire or death by water is the fate of too many long after the din of battle stills. In Days of Infamy Gingrich and Forstchen have done it again, as they did with their epic Gettysburg trilogy, and have captured what war is like, in all of its horror and glory, by showing the reader events in another World War Two that never happened, but might have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    historical look at a 3rd japense strike on pearl

    'days of infamy' is the second historical world war 2 novel on the pacific that newt gingrich and wm forstchen have written but what makes this one special is the arthurs take a serius look at what would have happened had the japanese come back for a third strike agaist pearl harbor and like the other military novels that the arthurs have writtion the details are all historially acurate and there are also very timely lessons to be learned. great gift idea for a family member or friend or soldier serving over seas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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