At the center of the debate over American intervention in World War II stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America's isolationists emerged as the president's most formidable adversary. Their contest of wills personified the divisions within the country at large, and Lynne Olson makes masterly use of their dramatic personal stories to create a poignant and riveting narrative. While FDR, buffeted by political pressures on all sides, struggled to marshal public support for aid to Winston Churchill's Britain, Lindbergh saw his heroic reputation besmirched-and his marriage thrown into turmoil-by allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer. Spanning the years 1939 to 1941, Those Angry Days vividly re-creates the rancorous internal squabbles that gripped the United States in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor. After Germany vanquished most of Europe, America found itself torn between its traditional isolationism and the urgent need to come to the aid of Britain, the only country still battling Hitler. The conflict over intervention was, as FDR noted, "a dirty fight," rife with chicanery and intrigue, and Those Angry Days recounts every bruising detail. In Washington, a group of high-ranking military officers, including the Air Force chief of staff, worked to sabotage FDR's pro-British policies. Roosevelt, meanwhile, authorized FBI wiretaps of Lindbergh and other opponents of intervention. At the same time, a covert British operation, approved by the president, spied on antiwar groups, dug up dirt on congressional isolationists, and planted propaganda in U.S. newspapers. The stakes could not have been higher. The combatants were larger than life.
With the immediacy of a great novel, Those Angry Days brilliantly recalls a time fraught with danger when the future of democracy and America's role in the world hung in the balance.
©2013 Lynne Olson (P)2013 Tantor
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
This is a very informative and interesting audio. My husband and I listened to it on a cross-country road trip, and it took up a fair number of days and states! We learned a lot!
Both a history of the contentious battle leading up to WWII and a semi-biography of Lindbergh (and, to an extent his wife Ann,) this new work by Lynne Olson succeeds on the first count but falls a bit short on the second. So many people were involved in the anti-war and America First movements, and their motives were so varied, that the account and the cast of characters is sometimes too complicated to follow, and the Lindberghs are absent for much of the discussion. I found myself wanting to get back to them.
But this is at heart the tale of two very different, very opinionated, very stubborn men of great influence in a turbulent time. Hearing their story (and that of other pro-and-anti-WWII activists) is a reminder that no action in American history has been without controversy, not even the response to the Hitler movement in Germany. Some of those who opposed war were genuinely and earnestly convinced that involvement in WWII would be disastrous for America - they were labeled traitors and anti-Semites. Those who wanted to come to the aide of Britain were called war-mongers. It is painful to recognize in these historical arguments the same short-sighted intolerance and vicious personal attacks which are so common in today's politics.
Japan ultimately settled the argument between the interventionists and the isolationists.
Lynne Olson justly reminds us that such periods of debate should not be forgotten.
This is another terrific history book from Lynne Olson. Even though I knew the general outlines of the period, 1936 to 1941, I certainly did not know all of the players, all of the factions, machinations, FDR's political jockeying and poll-watching, Lindbergh and his long suffering wife (and mother in law). Olson makes great use of all kinds of evidence, speeches, letters, newspapers, newsreels, movies and diplomatic dispatches to knit together the time in such a way that you feel as if you were there. The narrator is also very good.
I've been reading the last of the Manchester Biography of Winston Churchill, which of course, deals primarily about WWII and the peril Briton faced before US involvement. Those Angry days works in perfect tandem,showing the period from our side of the Atlantic. Olson's work is well researched, balanced and well presented. A joy. I can only hope that it reaches a wide audience.
What a great book! Learned that FDR wasn't always such a great leader but spent a lot of time being just another politician, that Lindbergh was really quite a jerk, and that politics is politics no matter what era you lived through. All in all a really good book.
Books worth the money are those biographies about our Founding Fathers. Or THE LONG WALK and/or UNBROKEN Try THE LONG WALK a
Good listen. Good history. No "thrills." Stuff that will keep a crusty old curmudgeon tuned in.
Lindbergh for stiffing his mother-in-law who tried to stiff him.
Lynn Olsen's CITIZENS OF LONDON is a historical masterpiece.
FDR/Lindbergh is good but not THAT good.
Professor of American and World History at a community college. Enjoys hard science fiction, space fantasy and space opera, fantasy, and historical narratives. Heck, I'll read anything once!
I've listened to several non-fiction, historical works on audio over the years. This is in my top five, mostly for the depth of information presented without getting lost in minutia. The reader's performance (Robert Fass) is solid enough and does not distract from the information which is the real star here.
In many respects, this book reminded me of The Zimmerman Telegram. Not in content or historical period of course. Those Angry Days is about the late 1930s, The Zimmerman Telegram about World War I. What makes me compare them is the depth of information I didn't know.
I'm both a student and professor of history. I've done quite a bit of study and research into the periods in both books, and they both offered up to me quite a bit of information I did not know. Those Angry Days did so even more than I could have expected. It dashed quite a few of my cherished "beliefs" about the period running up to America's involvement in World War II, especially regarding FDR's conduct and attitude.
New information is refreshing.
New information presented well is outstanding!
At this length, hardly! But, that's not a bad thing. This is a book to be savored, not sprinted through. It's not a page-turner in the knuckle-biting suspense or action genre--it's a historical treatise, packed with information and insight. It's a book to be studied not plowed through.
Perhaps Lynne Olson put too much into her book proposal. I liked the coverage of Robert Sherwood, and Lord Lothian, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I thought she was neglectful of some major aspects of prewar politics, e.g. the Popular Front and the Communist tergiversation. I don't even remember whether there was anything in here on Spain. Did I miss that?
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