We thought we knew the story well: On Deecember 7, 1941, 2,403 Americans died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, devastating the nation and precipitating entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of dereliction of duty, and publicly disgraced.
The fact was, however, that – through sheer inefficiency – the top brass in Washington had failed to provide Kimmel with vital intelligence. Then, in the name of protecting the biggest intelligence secret of the day, they and top officials allowed the Admiral and the Army commander in Hawaii, Lt. General Walter Short, to be made scapegoats for the catastrophe.
The Admiral fought to clear his name for the rest of his long life. After Kimmel’s death his sons – both Navy veterans – continued the fight. Both houses of Congress approved the posthumous restoration of the Admiral’s four-star rank, only to be blocked by the Navy bureaucracy. Today Kimmel’s grandchildren maintain the struggle – for them it is a matter of honor.
In A MATTER OF HONOR, though, we go beyond the fall and fight back of one man. We unravel the many apparent mysteries of Pearl Harbor, clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming, and uncover duplicity and betrayal in high places in Washington.
A MATTER OF HONOR is a heartbreaking human story of politics and war – and epic history.
Praise for the book
“Outstanding.” Christian Science Monitor
“Reads like a thriller…An airtight case that Admiral Kimmel should not have been blamed…There were dots that American intelligence did not properly connect. Kimmel was scapegoated and slandered without basis…” Publishers Weekly
“Summers and Swan make the case for Admiral Kimmel being a scapegoat who was wronged, humiliated and flim-flammed…” New York Post
“Meticulous, eloquent, and compelling – and hugely readable. The 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack is well served by A MATTER OF HONOR.” Simon Winchester, author of PACIFIC
“A fine book. Summers and Swan drive a stake through the heart of the outrageous theory which, like Dracula, has stubbornly refused to die – that villainous conspirators, including President Roosevelt – were somehow responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Scrupulously researched and rigorously argued.” David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression & War, 1929-1945
“Anthony Summers’ & Robbyn Swan’s A Matter of Honor is a noble and right-minded portrait of Admiral Kimmel, the scapegoat for Pearl Harbor.The amount of fresh research is deeply impressive. Never again, too, can anybody claim that FDR knew about the bombing in advance. Highly recommended!” Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt & the Land of America
“The most comprehensive, accurate and thoroughly researched book of events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ever written. It provides new information never before revealed… As a matter of honor, for the institution of the U.S. Navy, it is long past due to correct the injustice that has been imposed on Kimmel and Short. Their wartime ranks must be posthumously restored.” Admiral James Lyons, former Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet
“Meticulous research…thorough-going…provides a great deal of insight into the ordeal of Admiral Husband Kimmel, who served his nation well but was treated shabbily by its leaders.” Paul Stillwell, author of Battleship Arizona
“Compelling, thoroughly researched. A much needed objective look, especially, at the role of Admiral Husband Kimmel, who was in command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet on December 7and whose name was forever tainted. Summers and Swan make complex history clear.” Col. Kevin Farrell, former Chief of Military History, U.S. Military Academy,West Point
“Streamlined, muscular, objective, and well-written – a sensitive examination of a vast constellation of source material. Summers and Swan dispose of the silly “President Roosevelt had foreknowledge” conspiracy theory in a no-nonsense way. And they present a powerful argument in defense of Admiral Kimmel, who was blamed for the attack and forced into inglorious retirement… Excellent” Martin Morgan, World War II historian and author of The Americans on D-Day
“An unflinching look at the bombing of Pearl Harbor…The authors convincingly contend that Kimmel was scapegoated…sober yet captivating.” The National Book Review
“Persuasive evidence that Admiral Kimmel suffered gross injustice…passionately developed…” World War II Magazine
“Summers and Swan demonstrate that Admiral Kimmel does not deserve the blame he’s been assigned. Americans have found it easier to blame Kimmel than to admit to the prejudice which allowed the attack to proceed. Americans drew comfort from the preferred stereotype of the incompetent oriental. Bigotry obscured the Japanese threat.” The Times, London
“Thought-provoking…a dramatic rendering of the investigations into the attack. which laid accountability squarely on Kimmel’s shoulders and which – the authors argue – ignored other players…” Proceedings, journal of the U.S. Naval Institute
“This is historical biography that you will want to read…Summers and Swan take us a long way toward understanding more completely what happened leading up to December 7 1941…persuasive, exhaustive research, and detailed insights.” Cryptolog, the journal of former Navy codebreakers
“Duplicity and betrayal in Washington, which turned to someone who sacrificed himself for the country, only to be sacrificed when it needed a scapegoat.” The Intelligencer, journal of Assn. of Former Intelligence Officers
“A stirring indictment of government officials…the worst intelligence failure of the 20th” Manhattan Book Review
“Demonstrates how Pearl Harbor was the result of systematic unpreparedness and of human error up and down the chain of command…Exhaustive analysis…” Barnes & Noble Review
“Fascinating look at our defense, diplomatic, and intelligence policies leading up to the war and its effect on one person, aptly described as an “American Dreyfus…Excellent.” Steven Z. Freiberger, author of Dawn over Suez
“An exposé of the scapegoating of the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.” Kirkus Reviews
“Important…Within hours, the race to find someone to blame for the catastrophe was in effect…a saga of missed messages, faulty memories, long-classified documents, and official inertia…” Library Journal
“A nailbiter…Darkly humorous, galling, infuriating…Imagine a James Bond novel in which the spies and intelligence agents are either incompetent or altogether ignored…It’s extremely hard to read this book and not think the President has a responsibility to restore Admiral Kimmel to his full rank.” Ordinary Times