Book Review
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Tora! Tora! Tora! – Pearl Harbor 1941
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Tora! Tora! Tora! – Pearl Harbor 1941 by author Mark E. Stille and illustrators Jim Laurier and Tim Brown.

On December 7, 1941 the Japan an attack on the US Military forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese wanted to cripple in the United States Naval fleet stationed there. Due to specific incidents before the attack the Japanese were able to make their main attack with surprise and without opposition. The attack led to losses of men and materials for both the Japanese and United States. America declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 and entered World War Two as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor which President Franklin D, Roosevelt called “A date which will live in infamy”.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Tora! Tora! Tora! – Pearl Harbor 1941 as Number 26 in their Raid series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are color and black and white photographs, color illustrations, color maps, informational charts and detailed captions. It has a 2011 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-509-0. The book examines and discusses the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mark E. Stille made the following dedication:

Dedication – This book is dedicated to my college professor, Gordon W. Prange, who remains the preeminent scholar on Pearl Harbor.


    - Introduction
    - Origins
    - Initial Strategy

      o The Great All-out Battle Strategy
      o Yamamoto Enters the Picture

    - Early Planning

      o Combined Fleet vs. Naval General Staff

    - The Plan

      o The Training Program
      o Japanese Air Group Employment
      o The Attack Plan in Detail
      o The Submarine Plan

    - The Raid

      o The Approach
      o The Battle Opens
      o The Attack Inbound
      o The Firsts Attack Force
      o The Torpedo Attack
      o The Horizontal Bombing Attack
      o Agony on Battleship Row
      o Attacks Against Airfields
      o The Saga of the Midget Submarines
      o The Second Attack Force
      o Attack of the Dive-bombers
      o More Attacks Against Airfields
      o The American Air Response
      o The US Navy Response

    - The Accounting

      o American Losses
      o Japanese Losses

    - Analysis

      o The Military Impact
      o The Operational Level
      o The Follow-up Controversy

    - Conclusion
    - Bibliography
    - Index

The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. I didn’t notice and spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book. Stille covers the attack on Pearl Harbor very well and goes into great detail in all of the actions taken before during and after the attack. Anyone interested in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor or the military war machines of Japan or the United States during the opening stages of World War Two will find this book very informative and interesting and should detail and answer any questions that the reader may have. The experienced Pearl Harbor enthusiast or the new student of this infamous day in history will appreciate this well written text.

There are a total of 50 black and white photographs and 3 color photographs throughout the book. The majority of the photographs are nice clear, centered and focused images, however there are a few that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said the quality of the blurry photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. There are a few of the photographs that were new to me as I had not seen them before in any other publication. This is always a nice feature. However a majority of the photographs are well known photographs that have been used time and time again in other publications. To defend this there are not that many films and photographs that were taken on that famous day in history. So any authors of this subject will find it difficult to find unknown and unused photographs. However, as with the quality of some of the photographs, this does not take anything away from this excellent book.

There are 9 color illustrations and maps which are very well done by illustrators Jim Laurier and Tim Brown.

The color illustrations and maps are of the following:

    - Primary Defense Installations and Air Order of Battle on Oahu (map)
    - 6 Japanese aircraft (see provided scan)
    - The Japanese Attack Plan (map)
    - Route of the First Carrier Striking Force (map)
    - Pearl Harbor ship locations, 0755hrs, December 7, 1941 (map)
    - First Attack Wave Against Targets In Pearl Harbor 0750-0811HRS, December 7, 1941 (map)
    - Battleship Row attack
    - USS Ward engaging a Japanese midget submarine
    - Second Attack Wave Against Targets In Pearl Harbor 0848-0920HRS, December 7, 1941 (map)

There are 4 informational charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and provide important and interesting information for the data minded reader. The data covered is in regards to:

    - Organization of Pearl Harbor Attack Force

      o First Attack Force (First Wave) (Commander Fuchida Mitsuo)
      o Second Attack Force (Second Wave) (Lieutenant Commander Shimazaki Shigekazu)

    - First Carrier Striking Force (Hawaii Operation)
    - List of Ships Sunk or Damaged
    - Japanese Aircraft Losses by Carrier and Type

The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They go into detail discussing things such as specific ship names, individuals, locations, times and aircraft, ship and submarine types. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.

All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains a very well researched and written text and captions as well as very detailed and informative maps. It details the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
Highs: Well written and detailed text and captions Nice photographs and artwork. Very detailed maps.
Lows: Some of the photographs have an out of focus look to them. Some of the photographs appear to be too dark
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book that is well researched and written and contains many interesting photographs and well detailed captions. This will make a nice addition to anyone’s personal library and will also be a benefit to the military enthusiast
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-509-0
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95/ UK £11.99/ CAN
  PUBLISHED: Dec 31, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the Review Randy! So may I ask: What is the difference to Osprey's Campaign title of the same subject? Do you think it is worth to get this one if you already own the other? Cheers! Stefan
JAN 01, 2012 - 12:53 AM
You're welcome Stefan. I am glad that you like it. I'm sorry Stefan, I haven't seen that book so I can't compare the two. I wish that I could help you. Maybe someone else reading this post has both books and can offer you some advice. Thank you, Randy
JAN 02, 2012 - 03:43 PM

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