Local author shares unknown details about Pearl Harbor
Last updated 2/1/2022 at Noon
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Honolulu RCA office received and delivered the last warning of an imminent attack that was sent to the military command in Hawaii. Detailed in Sisters author Valarie Anderson’s recently released book “Pearl Harbor’s Final Warning: A Man, A Message, and Paradise Lost” are the chronological happenings of what took place after it arrived, and how coding snafus caused it to arrive at Fort Shafter nearly two hours after the initial Pearl Harbor attack.
The book reveals difficult-to-comprehend truths about that day. Today, in a world of instant communication, the events leading up to the attack are greeted with disbelief.
The book is the true story about the “courtesy” message sent by the Japanese with the exact date and time of the attack. Though delivered, it was a message unheeded by the bureaucracy of the military.
Valarie’s writing of the days before and after the attack began when she opened a red suitcase that had been stored under a bed at her recently deceased mother’s home. In it, she found letters, yellowed newspaper clippings, radiograms, and carbon copies of memos. Here was her family’s Pearl Harbor Story.
In 1941, George Street, Valarie’s grandfather, was the manager of Honolulu’s RCA Communication office. He, his 17-year-old daughter Barbara (Valarie’s mother), and college-bound son, George Jr., lived through the attack. George Sr. kept detailed communications, some unknown to even the Army and the Navy.
As the details of this horrifying time in our nation’s history are exposed, our impression of what happened takes on an entirely new form. Each new bullet of information builds on the last, causing heartbeats to quicken as we visually strive to put together all the pieces of this puzzle. Many times throughout the book you will ask yourself, “How could that be? How could that have happened?”
The truth is that it did happen, and it is carefully revealed through citations, copies of radiograms, photographs, and years of research by the author.
If this takes you back to laboring through high school history text, think again. This book is in no way boring! Even though we think we know “the end of the story” we quickly discover we don’t. Each chapter leaves you clamoring to continue. The attack comes in the middle of the book; however, you will continue to read with excitement and suspense right up to the final words.
The details of life in Honolulu in the days and months that followed the attack clearly show how paradise was lost. I’m sure some of you reading this were alive during that time, as I was, and know firsthand of the rationing that took place, papering over windows, and hiding under covers during a blackout.
As horrible as war is, Anderson makes sure all who read her book are aware of how the country came together when the circumstances required it. Whether it was giving blood, filling sandbags, making bandages, performing first aid, or driving emergency vehicles, civilians and the military worked side by side to prepare for whatever emerged after December 7. The war effort was everywhere, and everyone did their part.
Whether you are a history buff who delights in detail, have connections with the military, or are a citizen that hungers to know the facts of our country, this book is for you. As one review said, “This book should be required reading for all high school students.”
Valarie Anderson has done a superb job of research and bringing to life little-known facts important to our history. In addition, her writing is anything but dry or uninteresting! This is a book that will hold you spellbound and is well worth the time and emotion it creates. Even though it is an account of history over eighty years in the past, it is a wonderful reminder to remember Pearl Harbor and the significance of that day.
The book is available at http://www.valarieanderson.com and Paulina Springs Books.