A veritable embarrassment of riches for history buffs, this work traces the path to the end of WWII.
The work of a handful of men had a decisive impact on the outcome of WWII. Lewis E. Lehrman’s Churchill, Roosevelt & Company is a richly detailed history of the Anglo-American alliance, in which the architects of the war effort include not only Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but a host of diplomats, ministers, secretaries of state, spymasters, business leaders, and other subordinates.
The Churchill-Roosevelt partnership formed the core of the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain, but as Lehrman notes, the partnership was never smooth or easy. FDR “reveled in his disorganized government” and “cultivated a false, first-name intimacy with people,” while Churchill “was a stickler for precision and for written records” who was always “more reserved with strangers.” These two great leaders held numerous summits throughout the war, but the whirlwind of activity behind the scenes formed the true foundation for the allies’ final victory over the Nazi war machine.
Lehrman, a historian and recipient of the National Humanities Medal, offers compelling portraits and case histories of the men who worked together—and sometimes intrigued against each other—in the campaign to end world war. The outsize personalities that form the & Company part of his book include Joseph Kennedy, the combative US ambassador to the Court of St. James; military leaders Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Marshall; legendary founders of modern espionage William Donovan and William Stephenson; and other notable figures such as Harry Hopkins, Anthony Eden, and Lord Halifax.
Drawing upon a scrupulous study of memoirs, biographies, and letters, Lehrman graphically illustrates the challenges posed by “differences of ideology, principle, and strategy” among these varied personalities. In the end, Churchill, Roosevelt, and others recognized that “deep distrust had to be overcome in order to prevail over fierce and determined enemies.”
The resulting group biography is a veritable embarrassment of riches for history buffs eager for a deeper understanding of the forces that led to the end of the greatest global conflict in modern times.
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