With Today Being the 70th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Bombing: “December 1941” by Craig Shirley

31 Days That Changed America…

“December 1941”

by Craig Shirley 
December 1941 traces, day-by-day, the most important 31 days in the history of America’s participation in WWII, which snuffed out the lives of millions and changed history forever.      

From December 1, 1941, until the morning of December 7, 1941, America was at peace and—with the exception of the stubborn and persistent high unemployment of the Great Depression—was a relatively happy country. By the afternoon of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor, America was a radically changed country, forever. Its isolationist impulses evaporated, and both major political parties became more or less internationalist. The month also introduced food and gas rationing, Victory Gardens, scrap drives, a military draft, and the conversion of Detroit into an “arsenal of democracy.” From the moment of America’s entry into World War II, people of all kinds, but mostly women looking for work, flooded into the city. Instant apartment buildings sprang up, as did eating and drinking salons, all to the advantage of the massive increase in spending generated by the federal government.
December 1941 is a fascinating and meticulously researched look at the American home front—her people, faith, economy, government, and culture—during a month that radically changed the American way of life.

Biography (Source: Here)

Craig Shirley is the author of two critically praised bestselling books on President Reagan, :Rendezvous with Destiny:Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America” and “Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All.” He is the president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, was chosen in 2005 by Springfield College as their Outstanding Alumnus and has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater.
Shirley has written extensively for the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Town Hall, the Weekly Standard and many other publications.Shirley and his wife, Zorine, are the parents of four children. They reside at “Trickle Down Point” on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster, Virginia. He is now working on three more books on Reagan.


December 1941 is a fascinating and meticulously researched look at the American home front-her people, faith, economy, government, and culture.

“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.”   
My Review:

Craig Shirley’s book, December 1941, based on his introduction, is the only book based solely on the 31 days of December, 1941. Craig’s research went beyond just books about WWII; he went through multiple newspaper clippings, magazines and other publications from that time frame.  His goal was to give his readers the feel of  ‘being there’ in his writing.

Since I wasn’t a history buff in high school, I was flabbergasted to learn that three days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt received a confidential memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, detailing subversive activities that came from the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.  It helped me understand the fear that drove the country to create detention camps.

Craig documents how the people’s attitudes, perspectives and lives changed throughout the month.   How they went from recovering from the Great Depression back to food and gas rationing, women working in factories building war craft and creating bullets, women learning the Morse code, scrap metal donations, and the draft system.

The number and complexity of the negotiations going on in multiple security and Naval levels was mind-boggling–all with the hope of reconciliation with Japan.  All for naught, though, by December 7, 1941.

Several quotes made the day before the attack reminded me of the arrogance of those who built the Titanic:  ‘Unsinkable.’   FDR stated that the America’s fleet was “superior to any” in the world and had been “placed on a war footing with full personnel manning the ships of three fleets,” including … Hawaii.  “I am proud to report that the American people may feel fully confident in their Navy.”  …  “On any comparable basis, the United States Navy is second to none.”  I know he was trying to bolster the people’s trust in the U.S.’s capabilities, and I applaud him.   But this came to mind because I know that no country is totally undefeatable when they rely only on themselves and their war craft.   Man must rely on God to direct the circumstances.   This is not to bash the United States.  These are just my observations as I read the book.

I became privy to the fact that Australia had been praying for us to get involved in the war.  They felt we needed a push.  This author contends that Australia believed Pearl Harbor was it!  Thankfully we know the war ended four years later victoriously with Hitler killed and Japan stopped.  Though I grieve the loss of lives, I do believe war in inevitable at times.

For WWII history buffs, this is one book you won’t want to miss.  December 7, 1941, changed the lives and livelihoods of America forever.  Thanks to the author for an enlightening book in many areas of life during that month of December.

Our thanks go out to all the men and women who fought in the war and those who worked in the factories here at home.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.


One thought on “With Today Being the 70th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Bombing: “December 1941” by Craig Shirley

  1. I love all parts of history! I know that i can be hard for all of us younger people to recall these times, but with the books and the games it is easy to recall these trying times. Thankfully I have found games like Battlefield Academy to be a great source to help me remember these times.

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