Michael D. Hull
Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World Warby Warren F. Kimball
An authoritative and entertaining portrait of the fateful friendship that was destined to save Western civilization. Drawing extensively on his intimate knowledge of the two men's correspondence, Mr. Kimball shows beyond all doubt how critical their combined leadership was to the eventual Allied victory and how it laid the groundwork for the peace that followed. "A
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An authoritative and entertaining portrait of the fateful friendship that was destined to save Western civilization. Drawing extensively on his intimate knowledge of the two men's correspondence, Mr. Kimball shows beyond all doubt how critical their combined leadership was to the eventual Allied victory and how it laid the groundwork for the peace that followed. "A compelling account, as penetrating as it is lively."Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Michael D. Hull
Michael D. Hull
FDR and Churchill first met in London in 1918, when the American was a visiting assistant secretary of the navy and Churchill a famous member of Britain's war cabinet. It was not, apparently, an auspicious meeting: Churchill offended Roosevelt years later by telling him he did not remember the encounter. Also, Churchill's attempts to cultivate political contact with Roosevelt when he was governor of New York and later president were unsuccessful, until WW II intervened. However, once the correspondence between the two finally began (even while Churchill was still a member of Neville Chamberlain's cabinet), the tone was set for the "special relationship" that ultimately resulted in the Atlantic Alliance. In sketching the personalities of the two partners, Kimball draws parallels and contrasts: Both were flamboyant speakers and masters of dramatic language, both generated intense personal loyalty, both were idealists with a pragmatic bent. Churchill was a master of detail who micromanaged, while Roosevelt left most of the details to subordinates. Kimball records the years of America's pro-British neutrality, in which the US supported Britain through lend-lease aid and assistance of an increasingly military nature, and the intensification of the relationship between the two leaders as the US and the Soviet Union entered the war. The Churchill-Roosevelt friendship set the tone for the sometimes tense, sometimes warm Anglo-American relationship, which Kimball follows through its high points and its lows (like the Yalta Conference, in which Roosevelt joined forces with Stalin in opposing some of Churchill's ideas). Ultimately, Kimball points out, the relationship played a crucial role in creating the "Holy Alliance" against fascism that ended the war and created the postwar world.
An absorbing examination of one of modern history's most dynamic friendships and its military consequences.
- Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
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Never were there two less likely-looking warriors. Winston Spencer Churchill was, to be candid, short and fat; "very pink and cuddly," commented one journalist's wife upon her first close encounter. His round red cheeks invariably prompted the description "cherubic," though nothing could be further from the truth. He waddled rather than walked and lectured rather than listened, talking endlessly about everything, the opposite of the virile, strong, silent leader that fiction idealized and John Wayne and Hollywood popularized. Much of his working time was spent lying abed, and when he did get up, it was often to prance around in soft slippers and pink bathrobe or his "siren suit" (designed to be pulled on easily in the event of an air raid), getups that brought derision from more than a few diarists. "A marvellous garment [Churchill's dressing gown], rather like Joseph's many-coloured robe," General Alan Brooke, the chief of the Imperial General Staff, acidly commented, going on to describe a typical evening's work with the prime minister.
"Finally at 2:15 A.M. he suggested we should proceed to the hall to have some sandwiches, and I hoped this might at least mean bed. But, no! We went on till ten to three before he made a move for bed. He had the gramophone turned on, and in the many-coloured dressing gown, with a sandwich in one hand and watercress in the other, he trotted round and round the hall, giving occasional little skips to the tune of the gramophone.
On each lap near the fireplace he stopped to release some priceless quotation or thought. For instance he quoted a saying that a man's life is similar to a walk down a long passage with closed windows on either side.As you reach each window, an unknown hand opens it and the light it lets in only increases by contrast the darkness at the end of the passage."
That image of English eccentricity must be balanced against the description of Churchill from a soldier in the ranks during a formal inspection: "He's a pugnacious looking b[astard]." But as Adolf Hitler found out, it was more than just looks.
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Warren F. Kimball is the Robert Treat Professor of History at Rutgers University and editor of the acclaimed three-volume correspondence of Roosevelt and Churchill.
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