Non-Fiction Books:

Stanley Johnston's Blunder

The Reporter Who Spilled the Secret Behind the U.S. Navy's Victory at Midway



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Stanley Johnston's Blunder by Elliott Carlson
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This book chronicles the activity of Chicago Tribune war correspondent Stanley Johnston aboard the carrier Lexington and the transport ship Barnett, during and just after the Battle of the Coral Sea. It shows how he ingratiated himself with key officers and used his access to obtain information from a secret radiogram by Admiral Nimitz that revealed the order of battle of Imperial Japanese Navy forces advancing on Midway-information that could only have been obtained by U.S. Navy success breaking the Japanese naval code. Johnston put this info in a Tribune article, thereby potentially exposing the U.S. success and putting at risk this information source. A Grand Jury declined to indict Johnston when the Navy, hoping to avoid the publicity of a public trial, refused to let expert witnesses testify. Johnston went free. The book concludes that Johnston did not intend to reveal U.S. secrets; he just wanted a scoop. The book also concludes that, contrary to views in 1942 and lingering on today, the Japanese did NOT read the Tribune story, or hear of it, and thus never changed their naval code, as U.S. officers feared they would do because of the article.

Author Biography

Elliot Carlson is a longtime journalist who has worked for such newspapers as the Honolulu Advertiser, the Wall Street Journal, and the AARP Bulletin. His free-lance articles have appeared in such publications as the Saturday Review, Christian Science Monitor, Toronto Star, International Herald-Tribune, International Management, Naval History, and U.S. Naval Proceedings. Carlson is the author of Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway. He lives with his wife in Silver Spring, MD.
Release date NZ
November 30th, 2017
37 black & white photographs
Country of Publication
United States
Naval Institute Press
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