The Tokyo Bombers

A novel is diplomatic about the attack on Pearl Harbor

Frank Deford's rakish domestic import, Love and Infamy (Viking; 516 pages; $24), is made in America from mostly Japanese parts. The background is historical (the Empire's plan to attack Pearl Harbor); the plot is driven by fantasy; and the characters, both heroes and villains, are shaped from durable polystereotype. On a Consumer Reports rating chart, the novel would get half a meatball.

Call it a nexus, a linking of best-seller components: war, romance, treachery and the sort of cross-cultural trim that has Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor strike, spouting about American baseball. He hates the Yankees for their...

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