The movie "Pearl Harbor" may be copying what happened after Japan's actual assault: a spectacular initial success followed by a string of disappointments. But since I'm invoking history, I must hasten to add that there won't be anything remotely resembling an unconditional surrender in store for the Hollywood venture.
Does the pattern seemingly shaping up for "Pearl Harbor" derive from the possibility that the movie is the reductio ad absurdum of the current boom in all things World War II, as Frank Rich, of the New York Times, put it? I cannot tell, because I haven't seen the film. But the easy patriotism that appears to form the core of the movie, as well as the boom, has spurred me to read a couple of articles.
In the June issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwartz takes on the popular historian Stephen Ambrose and finds him "littered with lofty cant." Ambrose, who has been providing narrative backing to the so-called Good War for some years now, and who may well be the source of the current fad, has added a new title to his oeuvre: "The Good Fight" (Simon & Schuster), a 96-page account of World War II "for young readers."