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To Wake the Giant
Cover of To Wake the Giant
To Wake the Giant
A Novel of Pearl Harbor
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The New York Times bestselling master of military historical fiction tells the story of Pearl Harbor as only he can in the first novel of a gripping new series set in World War II's Pacific theater. In...
The New York Times bestselling master of military historical fiction tells the story of Pearl Harbor as only he can in the first novel of a gripping new series set in World War II's Pacific theater. In...
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  • The New York Times bestselling master of military historical fiction tells the story of Pearl Harbor as only he can in the first novel of a gripping new series set in World War II's Pacific theater.
    In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt watches uneasily as the world heads rapidly down a dangerous path. The Japanese have waged an aggressive campaign against China, and they now begin to expand their ambitions to other parts of Asia. As their expansion efforts grow bolder, their enemies know that Japan's ultimate goal is total conquest over the region, especially when the Japanese align themselves with Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy, who wage their own war of conquest across Europe.
    Meanwhile, the British stand nearly alone against Hitler, and there is pressure in Washington to transfer America's powerful fleet of warships from Hawaii to the Atlantic to join the fight against German U-boats that are devastating shipping. But despite deep concerns about weakening the Pacific fleet, no one believes that the main base at Pearl Harbor is under any real threat.
    Told through the eyes of widely diverse characters, this story looks at all sides of the drama and puts the reader squarely in the middle. In Washington, Secretary of State Cordell Hull must balance his own concerns between President Roosevelt and the Japanese ambassador, Kichisaburo Nomura, who is little more than a puppet of his own government. In Japan, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto wins skeptical approval for his outrageous plans in the Pacific, yet he understands more than anyone that an attack on Pearl Harbor will start a war that Japan cannot win. In Hawaii, Commander Joseph Rochefort's job as an accomplished intelligence officer is to decode radio signals and detect the location of the Japanese fleet, but when the airwaves suddenly go silent, no one has any idea why. And from a small Depression-ravaged town, nineteen-year-old Tommy Biggs sees the Navy as his chance to escape and happily accepts his assignment, every sailor's dream: the battleship USS Arizona.
    With you-are-there immediacy, Shaara opens up the mysteries of just how Japan—a small, deeply militarist nation—could launch one of history's most devastating surprise attacks. In this story of innocence, heroism, sacrifice, and unfathomable blindness, Shaara's gift for storytelling uses these familiar wartime themes to shine a light on the personal, the painful, the tragic, and the thrilling—and on a crucial part of history we must never forget.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover One

    Biggs

    Palatka, Florida—­Saturday, December 14, 1940

    He knew he could hammer the ball when it left Russo's hand. The stripe of tape spun slowly, a lazy fastball, too lazy, floating toward him like a fat melon. He cocked the bat, then sprung forward, the bat meeting the ball, a hard thump, the ball now speeding away, rising. He began his run to first base, still watching the ball, hearing the shouts from the others, one voice, Clyde, the first baseman, "Holy mackerel. But it ain't staying fair. Too bad."

    He touched first, curled toward second, his eye on the ball again, a quick turn in his gut. Beside him, Clyde said, "It's gonna hit your house."

    Biggs watched it drop, a sharp punch through the kitchen window. The others turned to him now, and Russo said, "Holy crap. You busted it to hell. Your folks home? Geez, Tommy, I ain't seen you hit one that far since high school."

    Biggs looked at Russo. "You never pitched me a fat one like that. I was gonna kill it."

    Russo turned again toward the Biggs house. "You killed it. Too bad it was foul."

    Biggs didn't care about the game anymore, walked slowly off the field, past third base and the run-­down lean-­to that passed for the dugout. No one called him back, all of them silently grateful it was him and not any one of them.

    He didn't turn back, couldn't hide the quiver in his voice. "I gotta make sure nobody's hurt."

    His eyes stayed on the jagged hole punched in the window, and he moved with measured steps, in no rush to meet the wrath that would surely come from his father. At nineteen, Biggs knew there would be no belt, and his father had rarely used fists on his son. But there was anger in the man's words, the deathly glare from his eyes. No matter how old Biggs might be, his father's eyes showed a brutal viciousness, punishment enough for any offense.

    Even before he graduated high school, Biggs had grown taller than his father, with broader shoulders, stronger arms. As he grew older, not one of his friends doubted that a nineteen-­year-­old with Biggs's athletic strengths could handle any of his father's mouthy brutishness. But Biggs knew that no matter the physical difference between them, his father was always to be obeyed. Or feared. His anger would often erupt for no apparent reason, a terrifying viciousness sometimes directed at Biggs's mother, the man's sharp voice carrying through the entire neighborhood.

    As he grew older, Biggs finally began to understand just why his father seemed so angry. For so many of the men in the small community, the jobs had gone away, the lumber plant nearly shut down, one more casualty of the Depression. Some of those jobs had moved farther west, to another plant out in the Florida Panhandle. Men like Clarence Biggs seemed to live on hope and on pledges from the local politicians of the great efforts they were making to bring in more plants, factories, jobs for all. In every tavern, men repeated the optimism they heard from the newspaper—­that the town would survive, even prosper, that Florida's celebrated boom of the 1920s would return, and with that, opportunity for all.

    But in this neighborhood of ragged homes with clapboard walls, of vacant fields of sand and sandspurs, there was very little to be hopeful about. No matter what the men in the fancy suits promised them, Clarence Biggs had stopped paying attention to what Palatka was trying to be. What was here, now, were broken men. They knew what poor was, their pride as empty as their hope. Like most of them, Clarence had settled for work where he could find it. Every day, he spent long hours at...

About the Author-

  • Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Fateful Lightning, The Smoke at Dawn, A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father's Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.
    Mark Bramhall has performed off-Broadway, at venues nationwide, and extensively in film and television. He holds numerous honors for his narrations and has repeatedly been featured among AudioFile Magazine's best readers of the year.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Mark Bramhall narrates this globe-trotting work of historical fiction, which focuses on the events leading to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The characters are diverse in background, education, and country. Yet Bramhall manages to capture each regional accent as though he were a native. When FDR speaks in the novel, listeners will be convinced they are listening to newsreels. While the facts are heavy and this audiobook could have easily been a work of nonfiction, it's Bramhall who taps into the emotional resonance of the three main characters and those who surround them. History buffs will love this audiobook, not only because it is so engaging, but also because the people in their lives who are not history buffs will end up being hooked too. A.R.F. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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Jeff Shaara
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