Tuesday HausGuest Announcement – Author and Historian Craig Nelson

This is a VERY big deal and I am REALLY excited!

Here is Craig’s bio:

CRAIG NELSON is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Rocket Men, as well as several previous books, including The Age of Radiance (PEN Award finalist), The First Heroes, Thomas Paine (winner of the Henry Adams Prize), and Let’s Get Lost (short-listed for W.H. Smith’s Book of the Year).

His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, National Geographic, The New England Review, Popular Science, California Quarterly, Reader’s Digest, and a host of other publications; he has been profiled in Variety, Interview, Publishers Weekly, and Time Out.

Before turning to writing, Nelson was vice president and executive editor of Harper & Row, Hyperion, and Random House, where he oversaw the publishing of twenty national bestsellers and worked with such authors as John Lennon, Andy Warhol, Lily Tomlin, Philip Glass, Rita Mae Brown, Steve Wozniak, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Alex Trebek, William Shatner, the Rolling Stones, Orson Welles, Robert Evans, David Lynch, Roseanne Barr, and Barry Williams.

He is a graduate of UT Austin with a Bachelor of Science in the Humanities. He also attended the USC Film School, the UCLA writing program, and the Harvard-Radcliffe publishing course. He turned to writing full-time in 2002.

As a historian he is known for epic moments in the American experience — Pearl Harbor; the race to the Moon; the nation’s founding; and the nuclear era — that are both engrossingly page-turning and distinguished for their scholarship. Massively researched from scratch, his books are eye-opening and definitive accounts of the profound moments that made us who we are today.

On Tuesday his latest book will drop:pearl-harbor

Here is a summary of the book:

Based on five years of research and original interviews with remaining survivors—including newly available behind-the-scenes accounts from Tokyo, 200 recent oral histories, and memoirs from both the American and Japanese perspectives—PEARL HARBOR traces the road that led to war and reconsiders the legacy between Japan and the United States. In an interview, Nelson can discuss newly uncovered details such as:

  • How America’s diplomatic blunders contributed to Pearl Harbor in the months leading up to the attacks. President Roosevelt ordered the release of Japan’s frozen funds to allow for the purchase American oil on July 26, 1941. But it never went into effect. Instead, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Dean Acheson and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. created a full embargo against Japan. An action which Roosevelt would not realize until September—hardening relations with Japan just months before the attacks.
  • The overestimation of the United States’ military strength in Hawaii—and the last-minute memo to Roosevelt contradicting previous assurances that the base was impregnable. On November 5, 1941, advisors sent Roosevelt a memo admitting that “At the present time the United States Fleet in the Pacific is inferior to the Japanese fleet and cannot undertake unlimited strategic offensive…War between the United States and Japan should be avoided.” Although Roosevelt consequently pled to avoid war, other advisors remained aggressive.
  • The mysterious New Yorker ad published just weeks before the attacks that many intelligence officers believed was a secret warning. The advertisement was for a game called “The Deadly Double,” showing players hiding from an air raid and using dice numbered 12 and 7—numbers on no known dice. The ad copy was presented in person and the fee paid in cash. Neither the game offered in the ad nor the company that purported to make it ever existed.
  • Stories of remaining survivors and veterans: like Thompson Izawa, then a young child, who thought the torpedo blasts were from a movie set. He and his Japanese neighbors were picked up by U.S. soldiers in a matter of hours and guarded them with fixed bayonets.


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