An excellent book about the first 12 days of 1941 and the events round the world that started World War 2 Gives a good balanced look at all the major countries and what and why they were doing them. A very good book for students looking at the events and how they started the war.
Yes, he is meticulous in his description of the planning, execution and defence of the Pearl Harbour attack, but the beauty of December 1941 lies in his ability to cover the globe simultaneously.
The datelines of his reportage are wonderful and varied: of course there are London, Washington, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo and Rome but there is also Rostov (Soviet Union), Oahu (Hawaii), Hong Kong, Tobruk (Libya) and Kota Bharu (Malaya).
The strength of this book lies in Mawdsley’s ability to focus on the inner workings of governments and armed forces inside so many countries and cultures—from the bridge of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s flagship off Hawaii to Marshal Georgy Zhukov’s headquarters at Vlasikha (Вла́сиха), Russia, as he orchestrated attacks on the Germans, to Churchill’s bedchamber as he learned of the sinking of Prince of Wales.
More astonishing is the author’s ability to write with authority on so many aspects of the war—politics, international relations, geography, culture and military strategy.
He even manages to imbue his story with the personal struggles and dramatic arc of several characters, such as Yamamoto, Zhukov and Churchill.