Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving aides and Roosevelt family members, Nigel Hamilton offers a definitive account of FDR's masterful - and underappreciated - command of the Allied war effort. Hamilton takes listeners inside FDR's White House Oval Study - his personal command center - and into the meetings where he battled with Churchill about strategy and tactics and overrode the near mutinies of his own generals and secretary of war. Time and again, FDR was proven right and his allies and generals were wrong. When the generals wanted to attack the Nazi-fortified coast of France, FDR knew the Allied forces weren't ready. When Churchill insisted his Far East colonies were loyal and would resist the Japanese, Roosevelt knew it was a fantasy. As Hamilton's account reaches its climax with the Torch landings in North Africa, in late 1942, the tide of war turns in the Allies' favor and FDR's genius for psychology and military affairs is clear. This must-listen account is an intimate, sweeping look at a great president in history's greatest conflict.
©2014 Nigel Hamilton (P)2014 Tantor
"This convincingly written and gripping volume is essential for historians, political scientists, and history buffs, for a deeper understanding of the principle of civilian supremacy of the military in the U.S. political system." (Library Journal Starred Review)
I've read a number of books on WWII and they've mostly followed the military perspective. This book clearly places Roosevelt as the decision maker on the US side at the beginning of the war and it describes the early arguments from his side. The book seems well documented with many, perhaps too many, excerpts from letters and diaries.
I felt there was too much repetition leading up to the African landings and then the book suddenly ended. I don't know if the material ran out (FDR was highly secretive) or the military took over control.
From my perspective this is an original and important book. I've picked up a couple of other books on FDR to try to validate some of these conclusions.
The author adds little to our understanding of Roosevelt's thoughts or style of command. He spends far too much of the book simply castigating Winston Churchill for the failures of British arms while at the same time ensuring that America's disasters of December 1941 are laid on the military commanders. For readers interested in criticism of Churchill there are better sources.
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