With only a couple days until the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, we look back to that day 75 years ago. Joining us is Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Steve Twomey and author of the new book “Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack.”
Twomey said he saw writing the book as an opportunity to write a non-fiction thriller.
“It’s been written about endlessly, Ben Affleck even made a very bad movie about it…I really thought the story could be told as building up of clues — we all know who did it — this is more about how it was done.”
Twomey also discussed finding the balance of writing non-fiction and respecting the truth, while trying to craft an engaging narrative. Twomey did four years of research prior to writing his book.
“I was determined, precisely because Pearl Harbor is so controversial, to be as accurate as possible and at the same time, mine those records for human characteristics…I think you can’t separate how some of these people were from the decisions they made. I was really interested in accurately capturing what they were like.”
After all his research, does he think he knows who is to blame for the attack?
“The answer to [that] question is nearly everyone was to blame. I think from the people out in the field in Hawaii, all the way to Washington, people made decisions and judgments that they were making under the best of circumstances but didn’t make correctly.”
This tragedy and its aftermath (the racial discrimination, fear and distrust of Japanese-Americans) is still relevant today and Twomey’s book is a good reminder of how something that seems like a black and white issue, with bad guys and good guys, is more complex than many of us think.