The Day the War Began

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December 7, 1941, is one of those days engraved in the twentieth century memory. It is a landmark day, along with Armistice Day in 1918, the stock market crash in 1929, and the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This book is about ordinary people on that extraordinary day. To a large extent, this book is by the people who remember that day because they have been permitted to tell their own stories in their own words. The book chooses representative stories from the entire country and concentrates on the stories of two destroyers, the USS Ward and the USS Henley, which were involved in the attack. This book, like all good history, reminds us of the changes that have come since World War II. There has been an overall change in attitudes, especially with the dramatic changes in Europe and the economic dominance of Japan. Much of what we see now relates directly to World War II and the way America and its allies conducted themselves when the war ended. It was the last war which had virtually no gray areas--Germany, Japan, and Italy were the bad guys, and America and its allies were the good guys. It truly was that simple for us before and during World War II. Nothing has been that simple since the fateful day that brought America into the most catastrophic conflict in history.