• The Washington War

  • FDR's Inner Circle and the Politics of Power That Won World War II
  • By: James Lacey
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter, James Lacey
  • Length: 19 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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The Washington War  By  cover art

The Washington War

By: James Lacey
Narrated by: Ray Porter,James Lacey
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Publisher's summary

A Team of Rivals for World War II - the inside story of how FDR and the towering personalities around him waged war in the corridors of Washington, DC, to secure ultimate victory on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific.

The Washington War is the story of how the Second World War was fought and won in the capital’s halls of power - and how the United States, which in December 1941 had a nominal army and a decimated naval fleet, was able in only 30 months to fling huge forces onto the European continent and shortly thereafter shatter Imperial Japan’s Pacific strongholds. 

Three quarters of a century after the overwhelming defeat of the totalitarian Axis forces, the terrifying, razor-thin calculus on which so many critical decisions turned has been forgotten - but had any of these debates gone the other way, the outcome of the war could have been far different: The army in August 1941, about to be disbanded, saved by a single vote. Production plans that would have delayed adequate war matériel for years after Pearl Harbor, circumvented by one uncompromising man’s courage and drive. The delicate ballet that precluded a separate peace between Stalin and Hitler. The almost-adopted strategy to stage D-Day at a fatally different time and place. It was all a breathtakingly close-run thing, again and again. 

Renowned historian James Lacey takes listeners behind the scenes in the cabinet rooms, the Pentagon, the Oval Office, and Hyde Park, and at the pivotal conferences - Campobello Island, Casablanca, Tehran - as these disputes raged. Here are colorful portraits of the great figures - and forgotten geniuses - of the day: New Dealers versus industrialists, political power brokers versus the generals, Churchill and the British high command versus the US chiefs of staff, innovators versus entrenched bureaucrats...with the master manipulator, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the center, setting his brawling patriots one against the other and promoting and capitalizing on the furious turf wars. 

Based on years of research and extensive, previously untapped archival resources, The Washington War is the first integrated, comprehensive chronicle of how all these elements - and towering personalities - clashed and ultimately coalesced at each vital turning point, the definitive account of Washington at real war and the titanic political and bureaucratic infighting that miraculously led to final victory. 

Includes a bonus PDF of a who's who of the Washington Warriors.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 James Lacey (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“A convincing addition to the literature of WWII.... Lacey deals with issues and strategies, including complex economic considerations, that many others have largely bypassed.... Comparisons to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, about Lincoln’s cabinet, are inevitable, and, in fact, the two books make an excellent pairing.” (Booklist)

“A densely researched, thorough history for students of Roosevelt and World War II.... Lacey manages to gather together the many strands of this remarkable story of how the US government harnessed the disparate talents of business leaders, congressmen, volatile generals, and prickly heads of state such as Churchill.” (Kirkus Reviews

“No one before Lacey has wrangled such a large cast and covered so much bureaucratic ground. There is scarcely a significant quarrel or even mild dispute that Lacey doesn’t address.... This is great fun.” (The Washington Post)

What listeners say about The Washington War

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

interesting but tedious

The book provides interesting insights into the behind the scenes power struggles of Roosevelt's men. There are some parallels to today's fight against coronavirus. There are some spots that I barely made it through the book. Definitely not a page turner.

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • JK
  • 12-22-19

Househusbands of DC...

What a nasty little book! I should've been alerted when the 'author' sounding like a bad imitation of The Fonz, issued a blustering, combative introduction. However, I plunged on because the reader is quite good. For historians who want to learn history, this is a waste of time. Truly, it's like some Hollywood gossip columnist writing, only it's about the great men who led us through World War II. If there is an unflattering, gossipy way to present one of these characters, then this 'author' finds it. We all know that events, whether great or small, can be interpreted in many ways. Well, this 'author' has taken the low road in the same way that Fox 'news' takes to titillate viewers. I'm truly sorry I purchased this poor excuse for a history book and no, I put up with about 2 hours before I pulled the plug.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Logistics, Logistics, Politics

Puts into perspective how the background of WWII was so crucial. While men and boys fought the war, our ability to give them the necessities won it.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Untold stories

Interesting discussion of how mostly secondary characters affected the outcome of WWII. Worth listening ot.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

Learned so very many material facts and insights. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to gain meaningful insights into intelligent, effective political execution.

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Excellent account and performance

I really enjoyed this book with so many details I had never read in all the many books I have read on WW2. Excellent narration. Great insights and accounts of FDRs’ interactions and influences on others. I really enjoyed parts on gearing up the economy for war production. I was disgusted with how so many of the higher government officials were so worried about their power rather than ensuring the best for the country in time of war. And FDR discarded many people after he convinced them to do what he needed doing. Awesome book!

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VERY well done book

The forward by the author almost put me off though - he sounds like a bouncer in a seedy Bronx strip club. Ray Porter, however, is magnificent and made an interesting subject feel alive. Great book, however. Is there a followup for after the ending? Maybe something on the post-war years and military-industrial buildup?

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Book

Adds great insight to all things WWII. I really enjoyed it, recommend to anyone interested in ww2

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Excellent book

Well researched—well written. Uniquely tells a story not yet told in saturated WWII scholarship. Very much worth the time—-excellent book!

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Fascinating

An engaging storyline unpacking the war behind WWII fully capturing the players involved. I highly recommend.

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