I was browsing through a library, and a book caught my eye. I pulled it out to look, and the opening paragraph was so stupid that I immediately put it back. I went back a few weeks later because I wanted to show someone else this amazing thing. :-) But it wasn't there.

The book was about Pearl Harbor, but I don't remember whether those words were on the cover. What was so memorable (and the reason I want to find it again) was the stupid intro, something like

It was a day like any other. Fathers getting ready for work; children getting ready for school.

I tried parts of those sentences in the Google Books exact phrase, but no hits. I must be remembering some of the words wrong.

Catija found something similar (and equal in the author's apparent ignorance of which weekday), but I don't think it was the same book.

Interestingly, Google has apparently not scanned the book Catija found. Searching "people at Pearl Harbor were going about their morning" gets a not found, perhaps you want (this SE post).

  • What section of the library were you in?
    – Catija
    Dec 8, 2017 at 4:56
  • History section, I'm pretty sure.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 8, 2017 at 5:06
  • So it was non-fiction?
    – Catija
    Dec 8, 2017 at 5:12
  • 1
    What's stupid? Getting ready for work and school on a Sunday in 1941? I hope that's not a common platitude.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:28
  • 2
    Well, I was "minus thirteen" then, but I heard it so often mentioned that it was Sunday … Remembering the poor quality of my own history classes, I guess I can understand why some wouldn't know that. But there's still no excuse for the author writing it and the publisher not catching it.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 9, 2017 at 0:51

1 Answer 1


I'm posting this as an answer because it seems incredibly similar to what you're talking about... enough so that I feel it's worth posting.

The book Voices from the Camps: Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II by Larry Dane Brimner starts with a chapter about Pearl Harbor with the chapter title "A date which will live in infamy". The first paragraph doesn't contain the text you remember, but the third one does, pretty closely:

As the Japanese planes advanced, people at Pearl Harbor were going about their morning routines. Children were getting ready for school. Adults were preparing for the workday ahead.

I found a scan of the book on archive.org, which is the source of this image:

First page of "Voices from the Camps"

It is a short book, only 110 pages and is classified as "juvenile literature".

  • I'm accepting this, even though the image is not from the book I saw. Perhaps a different edition. The one I encountered had wider text column. Also, it was not in the juvenile section, but looking at the wording, I wouldn't have classified it as juvenile.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:28
  • "Juvenile" includes high school... which is the reading level of many non-juvenile books anyway... so that doesn't necessarily mean much. I think this was classified somewhere I saw as ninth grade.
    – Catija
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:30
  • OK, in the library where I found it, "juvenile" is grade school, and teenagers are (improperly, IMHO) "young adult." But the book I asked about was in neither of those sections.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:39
  • 1
    So... It's not that I don't appreciate the reputation... if you really think this might be the wrong book, you're better served leaving it unaccepted as others may know of a different book that has a similar text.
    – Catija
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:41
  • Re-accepted as no other answer offered, and Google still can’t find the quote I remember. Perhaps my memory is faulty. The viewing happened between 1996 and 2011, and when I returned to the library to check out the book, I couldn’t find it.
    – WGroleau
    Aug 5, 2019 at 13:53

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