Days of Infamy

  • by Michael Coffey
  • Narrated by Robert Abia
  • 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This compendium fleshes out the century's best known military mishaps. In a series of short chapters, Coffey shows how even relatively small misjudgments have become historical turning points, such as how a driver's poor knowledge of Sarajevo's streets in 1914 helped lead to World War I. He reminds us of some of the bigger blunders, including detailing how the Treaty of Versailles laid the groundwork for the Second World War. More recent events receive coverage, too. Here is the Bay of Pigs and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Also underscored are the unexpected ways things go wrong, either from the design of a weapon, friendly fire, or complacency. This book is the official companion volume to the riveting History Channel 26-part documentary series.


What the Critics Say

"Like the best general history volumes, Coffey's book, in clean, muscular prose, expertly informs as it artfully entertains." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a bad letdown

There have been a number of books about military mistakes, some good some bad. This falls into the latter category. A book called "days of infamy" that doesn't even cover the mistakes of Pearl Harbor (the original "day of infamy"? That talks of Versailles, but fails to detail the blunder of Appeasement (which undermined the treaty)?
That fails to record the Battle of France, together with "Sitzkrieg"
as great errors? That goes into detail about Hitler's declaration of war against the US as a major error (when it is clear that the US would have found a pretext (after Pearl Harbor to soon declare war on Germany) while missing the turning point of WW2, the invasion of Russia, underestimating the Russian will to resist and the Russian winter? These are all signs of poor understanding. Add to this numerous factual errors (eg Bismark was sunk in the Atlantic , not in
a fjord, and the Munich agreement was prior to the occupation of the Sudetenland) and you have (especially in the case of WW2) a poor result. Add also things that cannot be reasonably described as Military Blunders (eg the assassination of Franz Ferdinand) and an exagerrated breathless writing style (heavy use of phrases like
"little did they know they were sailing to their doom") and it spells literary disaster. A further point, names are mispronounced eg
the ship Graf Spee is pronounced Spay rather than rhyming with bee
and French city names are also mispronounced.
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- Steven

Not For The History Buff

The book itself is plagued by numerous errors. Not tiny details, but large, easily verified points of fact that a decent pass through a qualified proof reader should have caught. Even viewed as light fare, it fails because of these errors.

Add to that the voice talent working without a pronunciation guide and some very labored prose (Must we use the word "blunder" constantly? I know it is in the title, but still.) and you end up with volume you are better off skipping.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-22-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape