The Other Pearl Harbor: The Army Air Corps & Its Heroes on Dec. 7, 1941

By Barry, Rick | Air Power History, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

The Other Pearl Harbor: The Army Air Corps & Its Heroes on Dec. 7, 1941


Barry, Rick, Air Power History


The Other Pearl Harbor: The Army Air Corps & Its Heroes on Dec. 7, 1941. By John Martin Meek. Mustang Okla: Tate Publishing, 2011. Appendices. Bibliography. Pp.224. $14.99 (paperback) ISBN: 978-1-61346-765-7

"This is an entertaining read that I believe is an important work because it adds to the Pearl Harbor literature a missing dimension--the story of two men who are usually given one or two lines in most books." So writes Donald Goldstein, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh, and a leading Pearl Harbor historian, in his foreword. Meek has worn the uniform of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, the latter during the Korean War. He taught at The American University and University of Virginia and has researched this "missing dimension" for over 10 years, including numerous personal conversations with principals and families.

How could a book about one of the most important and disastrous days in American history be characterized as "entertaining"? It is because its structure and energetic style will likely engage serious historians, history buffs, other researchers, and the general public alike.

The centerpiece of the book consists of eight chapters, one for each day up to and culminating in the Day of Infamy itself, November 30-December 7, 1941. These chapters are written in a novel-like manner, depicting in a dialogue-rich story line the day-by-day events in the lives of two pilots, Second Lieutenants Ken Taylor and George Welch. Meek presented factual events as he knew them from his extensive research including official documentation; speeches; and tapes of interviews with one of the principals (Taylor), the families of Taylor and Welch, and other military witnesses. While this "creative non-fiction" style is unusual, Meek is not the only author to have employed it, including Truman Capote in his In Cold Blood. The eight central chapters are bookended with Meek's Prologue and Epilogue, in which he provides analytical commentary and new source findings of additional interest to historians and other Pearl Harbor researchers. …

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