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Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona

Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona

by Walter R. Borneman


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A deeply personal and never-before-told account of one of America's darkest days, from the bestselling author of The Admirals and MacArthur at War.

The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 remains one of the most traumatic events in American history. America's battleship fleet was crippled, thousands of lives were lost, and the United States was propelled into a world war. Few realize that aboard the iconic, ill-fated USS Arizona were an incredible seventy-nine blood relatives. Tragically, in an era when family members serving together was an accepted, even encouraged, practice, sixty-three of the Arizona's 1,177 dead turned out to be brothers.

In Brothers Down, acclaimed historian Walter R. Borneman returns to that critical week of December, masterfully guiding us on an unforgettable journey of sacrifice and heroism, all told through the lives of these brothers and their fateful experience on the Arizona. Weaving in the heartbreaking stories of the parents, wives, and sweethearts who wrote to and worried about these men, Borneman draws from a treasure trove of unpublished source material to bring to vivid life the minor decisions that became a matter of life or death when the bombs began to fall. More than just an account of familial bonds and national heartbreak, what emerges promises to define a turning point in American military history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316560528
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 11/24/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 448,671
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Walter R. Borneman is the author of nine works of nonfiction, including MacArthur At War, The Admirals, Polk, and The French and Indian War. He holds both a master's degree in history and a law degree. He lives in Colorado.

Table of Contents

List of Maps xi

Cast of Characters xv

Author's Note xix

Prologue: Silvis, Illinois; Christmas Eve, 1941 xxiii

Part I "Time Is Getting Short So I'll Say "So Long…'"

1 At'em Arizona 3

2 "My Brother Joined Up…" 25

3 Unsettled Seas 33

4 Chasing Ghosts: Thursday, December 4 55

5 Weekend Dreaming: Friday, December 5 75

Part II "Got to Find My Brother…"

6 "By This Time Next Week…": Saturday, December 6 95

7 Luck of the Draw: Saturday, December 6 113

8 Dawn: Sunday, December 7 131

9 "Andy, Who Are Those Guys?": Sunday, December 7 153

10 "My Brother's Up There!": Sunday, December 7 173

11 "Abandon Ship!": Sunday, December 7 190

Part III "There's Never a Day Goes By…"

12 The Waiting: Sunday, December 7 209

13 "Yesterday, December 7…": Monday, December 8 231

14 "The Secretary of the Navy regrets…" 243

15 Those Left to Remember 260

Epilogue: Brothers All 276

Acknowledgments 279

Appendices 283

A Brothers Serving on USS Arizona, December 7, 1941 283

B US Battleships in Commission, 1941 288

C Comparative Ranks of Commissioned Officers in US Military Services 290

D World War II-era General Protocols for Naming US Navy Ships 291

E Command Organization, US Pacific Fleet, Battle Force, December 7, 1941 292

Notes 295

Bibliography 313

Index 323

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