Pearl Harbor
Photo of the wreck of the U.S.S. Arizona by jasonpearce used under a Creative Commons license.

Gordon W. Prange, At Dawn We Slept (Penguin, 1982).
A magisterial and comprehensive account of the December 7, 1941, attack by the Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor. Prange researched the events leading up to that day for decades before his death in 1980. There is much here about the events of 1941 which heightened the incipient conflict between the two countries and the thinking of key leaders on both sides. The tragedies and heroics of the fateful day are well told here also. This is the history by which other accounts of Pearl Harbor must be measured.

Here is Wikipedia’s page about Prange. Here is his obituary in The Des Moines Register. Here is a longer review by Gaddis Smith in The New York Times and a shorter review by him in Foreign Affairs. Mayo Mohs reviewed it in Time. More from Antoni Chmielowski and Michael Doubler. Here is an article in National Geographic about the wreck of the U.S.S. Arizona. With the right JSTOR affiliation, you can read Akira Iriye’s review in The Journal of American History, but I can’t.

Buy it at Amazon.com.