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on 9 February 2012
I'm nearing the end of this fascinating book. 'Sealing Their Fate', by David Downing. It reads like a thriller, but is a factual account of what was happening in different spheres of the conflict in the 22 days leading up to the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbour. It's a revealing book, showing just how the cracks appeared in the German offensives in the east, as well as the desert victories by the commonwealth forces over Rommel's Afrika Korps.

It's an interesting format chosen to give the reader snippets of war in different conditions, climates and countries. It made me want to search out and find more information on little-known, but ultimately important details leading up to the attack.

Churchill said after the war about Japan's folly in attacking the USA - 'Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.'

I'd recommend this book to anyone seeking to further their knowledge not just of the events depicted here, but also the political shenanigans on opposite sides of the world that culminated in what was, effectively, the countdown to the destruction of Japan.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 January 2010
ost historians put the turning points of WW2 as events happening in 1942. David Dowling posits that the 22 most important days of WW2 actually occurred in November/December, 1941. He begins his daily "countdown" on Monday, November 17th and ends it, of course, on Monday, December 8th. He takes every day and examines actions on a variety of fronts - Rommel and the Afrika Corps in North Africa, the German advancements toward Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Rostov, various naval incursions by both German and Japanese fleets, and, of course, the diplomatic back and forths in both Tokyo and Washington. He also writes about "small" events each day; the ongoing "war against the Jews" that at the time was mostly done by mass killings by gun and various small acts of sabatage committed by partisans against the German occupiers in the East. Interestingly, the conference at Wannsee, convened by Reinhard Heydrich to implement the "Final Solution", was supposed to be held in mid-December, but was pushed back to January, 1942, because of the events of December 7th.

Dowling also writes about the men behind the actions. Many of the officers from Germany, Britain, the US, and Japan were well-intentioned and capable, but more than a few were not particularly competent. Also lacking was timely interpretation of intercepted messages between the Japanese government and its diplomats and military staff. The Americans and the Brits had broken many of the Japanese codes, but so much was interpreted that many important messages were either missed or disregarded.

This is a very good book about the day-to-day occurrences during a very crucial period of time. With the Germans basically stopped in the Russian winter and in North Africa due to lack of supplies like food, fuel, fighting tools, warm clothing, and more soldiers in December, 1941, and the entry of the US, with its massive supplies and armed forces, on December 9th, the war turned against the Axis. Victory didn't happen for another four or so years, but David Dowling makes a convincing case for this time being the turning point.
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on 31 December 2010
Mr Downing has given us a most incisive book,never confusing, an achievement considering the scope of the book,the text is easy to read, the timeline easy to follow something not all books of this type manage to do. Sealing their Fate like all good history books will encourage further reading on this complex subject,some years ago i read the authors book on the German Generals and Sealing their Fate is of the same high standard.
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on 24 February 2014
An excellent examination of the three theatres of WW11 from a strategic level. Very readable providing a new understanding of a global conflict.
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on 8 August 2013
Interesting style and writing on a day by day basis but did not contain anything new and my understanding of the issues was not enhanced materially by the style
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on 26 April 2014
Not read it yet, but I'm a big fan of David Downing's and am most impressed by him. Looking forward to it.
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on 29 April 2014
not the book i thought. It was ordered in error and a waste of money and will not read to the end
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