Pearl Harbor Revisited

Book Review by Willard Manus

According to retired Admiral Edwin T. Layton, co-author with Roger Pineau and John Costello of AND I WAS THERE: PEARL HARBOR AND MIDWAY--BREAKING THE SECRETS, another investigation should be made into the 1941 Pearl Harbor disaster. Layton, writing in the 1985 edition of his book (now reissued and updated by Naval Institute Press), insists it was wrong to have blamed Admiral H.E. Kimmel for the failure to anticipate Japan's sneak attack. In Layton's eyes the fiasco should be attributed to Japan's audacious plan and to severe breakdowns in America's intelligence services, plus feuding and jealousy among high-ranking officers. The same can be said of the U.S.'s shattering defeat, six months later, at Midway Island.

Layton's controversial book can be read as a cautionary tale; as we know from 9/11 and Katrina, the USA still suffers grievously from the failure to communicate in the higher echelons of the country's governmental organizations.