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Book Review, NRJ 61.3

August 15, 2016 12:00 PM | David Eddy

“No One Avoided Danger”: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attack of 7 December 1941

J. Michael Wenger, Robert J. Cressman, and John Di Virgilio

This volume is the first in a series that the Naval Institute Press has launched entitled Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies. No One Avoided Danger covers the attack on the newly-constructed naval air station at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu, the base for the PBY-5 long-range patrol aircraft of Patrol Wing 1.

The authors’ approach combines extensive archival documentation research, oral histories and interviews with participants, and a very broad array of photographs to present a very detailed and comprehensive narrative of the events of December 7, 1941, their background, and the outcome.

No One Avoided Danger narrates the prewar activities of the Wing’s three squadrons, the two waves of Japanese attacks on the air station, and the aftermath of the virtual destruction of the Wing and heavy damage to its facilities. The two central chapters on the attacks themselves are comprehensive, as is coverage of events in the ensuing hours and days.

The real danger of a study that concentrates so intensely of such a short period of time and such a limited location is that it can leave the reader mired in a mass of trivial detail and unable to comprehend the overall picture. The great accomplishment of this august team of authors is that they have completely succeeded in avoiding this trap. Throughout this very readable narrative, the voices of the participants, both American and Japanese, largely carry the story. This perspective brings the entire tale to life.

The book’s style is lucid and fluent throughout. Wenger, Cressman, and Di Virgilio have produced an engaging, precise, and tightly-written account of the destruction of Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay and the men and women this event impacted.

  •  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015
  • 8-3/4” x 11-1/4”, hardcover, xx + 186 pages
  • Photographs, tables, bibliography, index. $34.95

Reviewed by Mark Meyers, New Bern, North Carolina

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