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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Armed with information gleaned from newly opened archives, popular historian Michael Beschloss has penned a fascinating look at how Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived at, and Harry Truman instituted, a plan for the reconstruction of postwar Germany.
Bechloss breathes new life into this well-known history. He shows how Roosevelt evolved from embracing the Morgenthau Plan, which called for the reduction of Germany to a pastoral country devoid of industry, to accepting British prime minister Winston Churchill's desire for a revived but divided Germany. He also provides fascinating insight into Roosevelt's style, depicting the ever-astute president playing members of his cabinet against one another as they presented various visions of a post-Hitler Germany.
Beschloss recounts the conferences of the Big Three -- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet premier Josef Stalin -- revealing how these leaders used the German question in their maneuvering for power in the postwar world. He also shows that after FDR's death, Truman assumed the presidency with little knowledge of the issue, because FDR had kept him at arm's length through the great deliberations. Nevertheless, Truman was able to successfully assert his authority at the Potsdam Conference because he was the only world leader whose nation possessed an atomic bomb.
Beschloss has given us an enthralling work that illuminates this amazing period of history. With keen observation and graceful prose, he shows how FDR and Truman made it possible for Germany to rise from the ashes and become a peaceful and democratic country. Glenn Speer