I listened to this book after listening to "Those Angry Day" , one of the best histories I've ever read. This book seemed to be made up of left over material not used or of less relevance to that previous work. It doesn't flow as smoothly and the narration and production are marginal. There are words that are mispronounced or just mis-read that an editor should have caught. Had I listened to these volumes in reverse order I may have been a little easier on this one.
What a spellbinding account of the struggle of Great Britain to survive the German onslaught! Although we Americans tend be self congratulatory about our role in WW II, all except the American heroes of this book PALE.
It puts a level of character to history that is mind boggling!
John Gilbert Winant, a new hero statesman brought to our consciousness yielding a previously untold story impacting the human content of the times.
John Gilbert Winant tending to beleaguered Londoners during the blitz.
The untold stories of front line efforts.
World War 2 and the lessons from it are not too far in the past that current events do not threaten to repeat this history. Nationalism. False sense of security. Greed. Weariness. How does one rise above these human weaknesses to see now what lies ahead?
I expected this book to be about 3 Americans in London during WWII (Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman and John Winant), but it ended up being more than that. Maybe too much more because, although I liked the book, at times it felt unfocused.
The stories about Murrow, Harriman and Winant are fascinating and well worth the listen--and if you like reading about London during WWII, you will probably enjoy this book. Just know that the book veers off course at times.
Gives a detailed history of what was going on during WWII and made me feel like my history classes cheated me out of so much history!!
There are to many to count - this book was so informative, interesting and brought so much to light. London during the war had so much to contend with and this book really digs into the relationship between key figures from the US and UK.
Yes - but don't want to spoil it if a reader doesn't know the facts.
Good read - all Americans should read this book.
Morey's narration brought wartime London, its citizens, and the most moral and noble Americans who stood with them to life. Made me realize why I love the English.
The narrator was terrific. I know it sounds like a dull subject but it wasn't and the narrator truly helped it to be showcased well. I learned a great deal and just might listen to it again in the future.
Our heroes are not always heroic. This may not be news, but seems to be the theme of this particular history. Purportedly a tale of three Americans who lived in London during the Battle of Britain and through the war, Citizens of London is really a larger story of how Britain came to find herself overshadowed by the ally she had so ardently courted. Few of the participants are treated kindly. Among the three primary figures, one came from poverty and the others from money.
Averell Harriman was the wealthiest. The son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman, he is characterized as having spent his early years growing his fortune and the war years using it to gain access to powerful people. It is difficult to believe that someone as shallow as the Harriman depicted here could grow into the statesman who later served with such distinction.
Born into a prosperous family, John G. Winant spent his entire life in public service. Harriman spent WW I building ships; Winant served as a fighter pilot. The consummate progressive, Winant left the Republican party to serve Roosevelt in 1935. While serving as Ambassador to England from 1941 to 1946, he eschewed the perquisites of his position and shared the hardships of the English people during the Battle of Britain. The author bestows no unkind word on Mr. Winant.
Edward R. Murrow fares almost as well, though his journalistic objectivity is often impugned and his affair with Pamela Churchill receives inordinate attention.
Churchill and Roosevelt are characterized as egotists more interested in dominating the conversation than in communicating. Churchill comes off a bit more positively, if only because he swallowed his pride to court Roosevelt - the leader of the only country capable of saving England from the Nazis. United States reluctance to enter the war is examined from the British perspective of desperately needing support, rather than from the American perspective of not wishing to enter yet another conflict arising from historical rivalries of which it was not a party. Roosevelt seems to be criticized both for wanting to meddle in European affairs (as in discussions of Belgian ethnic divisions) and not wanting to meddle (as in delaying discussions about Germany’s post-war future). Eisenhower is presented as a hayseed whose only positive virtue is his insistence on a unified command structure within the Allied Forces. Although the author eventually acknowledges the development of warm feelings between the British and the Americans who were staged there prior to Normandy, much more time is spent describing their efforts to keep apart from the local population and their relatively higher standard of living. Americans back home are also criticized for enjoying a higher standard of living than the populations of war-torn Europe.
This is an interesting book which reminds us that the people who lead us are, like the rest of us, neither whole heroic nor wholly ignoble. It also reminds us that important decisions are often made with incomplete information by people who are under considerable stress. For those who enjoy biography, Citizens of London is an interesting read. For those seeking a deeper understanding of history, I would recommend skepticism.