by Robert B. Stinnett
If you love conspiracy theories, or if you think that FDR was actually a crappy president (woot! I fit both those categories!) you will enjoy this book.
Honestly, I think that Stinnett did a good job with this book. It is a *bit* conspiracy-theory-ish, but not in that overboard I’m-writing-this-from-an-undisclosed-location-so-I-don’t-get-killed kind of way. Basically, Stinnett’s premise is that FDR wanted our country to be involved in World War II, and so he did everything he could to (a) provoke Japan into attacking, (b) to make sure that Pearl Harbor was an available target, and (c) (and perhaps most controversial) ensure that the service men and women at Pearl Harbor would be taken by surprise by an attack.
Now, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m not a fan of FDR. I was drawn to this book because other (more neutral) readings about World War II have made me a bit leery of FDR’s attitude towards war. Just reading his speeches and such during the year before Pearl Harbor, he doesn’t sound like a man who truly wants to stay out of a war. Day of Deceit confirms that concept – FDR realized that our country could be pulled out of the Depression and into a position of great world power if our entry to the war was timed correctly.
I definitely recommend this read. Although Stinnett is often dealing with some dry material, he keeps things moving, and usually does a fairly good job staying on task. (Although, let’s be fair, it’s pretty obvious that he’s not a big fan of FDR, either, and although he doesn’t actually spend the book ranting about him or anything, he does manage to work in some rather wry comments on FDR’s policies and personal life.) While Stennett’s work obviously can’t be used as an end-all argument, he definitely raises some excellent questions about the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, and he does it without making at all less of the incredible sacrifices made by those who served in the military at Pearl Harbor and throughout the war. A good read, a bit heavy, but worth the effort.