The authors take a penetrating look at the high-level meetings and the scenes behind the scenes: the social events and intrigues, Churchill's booming intrusion into the daily life of the White House, the strained relationship between Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the key role played by Roosevelt's close advisor, Harry Hopkins. As with any such gathering of world leaders, high politics and low gossip contributed to the momentous events of this time.
©2005 David J. Bercuson and Holger H. Herwig; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Grand strategy in a world war grounds their recounting, but its emphasis [is] on interpersonal relations, its fly-on-the-wall perspective. These historians successfully capture the atmosphere and substance of forging the alliance." (Booklist)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I enjoyed this book written by two Canadian historians. Much of the material of the book I was familiar with from the many books I have read about World War II. The book did provide a different perspective of the problems faced during Churchill’s trip to the United States immediately after Pearl Harbor. The US was completely unready for war-actually producing fewer planes than was Britain, with a small army, and a population that was, after Pearl Harbor, just awakening from years of isolationism. The meeting was difficult on many fronts. The service chiefs from both countries met but had misconceptions and prejudices about their opposite numbers. Both leaders recognized they needed each other; Churchill was for more knowledgeable about war than Roosevelt. Roosevelt was suave and charming but Churchill had to learn that when Roosevelt nodded and said yes he did not mean he agreed. It was this trip that Churchill made his famous speech to the Congress and to the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. The book provided lots of detail about the difficulties that individuals and services groups had coming to their decisions, which included appointing a single commander of the Allied Command, General George Marshall. Lord Beaverbrook (a Canadian business entrepreneur) who lived in Britain did wonders pushing the United States, Canada and Britain into greater and greater war material production, far beyond anyone’s expectations. I was disappointed that the two Canadian historian authors did not go into more detail about Canadian production of war materials. The book did continue some misinformation about Churchill but generally was correct and informative about Churchill, Roosevelt and George Marshall. Not only did Roosevelt and Churchill develop “A grand alliance,” they wrote the Charter of the United Nation at this meeting. If you are interesting in World War II history you will enjoy this book. Lloyd James did id a good job narrating the book.
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