In the Caul­dron: Ter­ror, Ten­sion, and the Amer­i­can Ambas­sador’s Strug­gle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019

In the Caul­dron recounts the unre­lent­ing efforts of Joseph Grew, America’s ambas­sador to Japan, to orches­trate an agree­ment between Japan and the Unit­ed States in the months before the Pearl Har­bor attack. In push­ing for that agree­ment, Grew tried to con­vince Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt that US eco­nom­ic sanc­tions would not bring Japan to its knees, that Japan­ese san­i­ty could not be mea­sured by West­ern stan­dards of log­ic, and that Japan­ese lead­ers would pre­fer anni­hi­la­tion through war with the Unit­ed States than the humil­i­a­tion of suc­cumb­ing to Amer­i­can pres­sure. When he saw that an agree­ment was unat­tain­able, Grew warned Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt in Novem­ber 1941 — only a few weeks before Pearl Har­bor — that Japan was pre­pared to launch a sui­ci­dal” war with the Unit­ed States and that armed con­flict could come with dan­ger­ous and dra­mat­ic sud­den­ness.” Grew’s sto­ry is filled with hope and heartache, with com­plex and fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters, and with a dra­ma befit­ting the momen­tous deci­sions at stake. And, more than that, it is a sto­ry that has nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly been told.

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