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To Keep the British Isles Afloat [NOOK Book]

Overview

An inside look at the work and adventures of Harry Hopkins and Averell Harriman in the creation of history's most remarkable international partnership

After the fall of France in June 1940, London became the center of world political theater. For the U.S. president, the vital question was: could Britain, with American help, hold out against the might of Nazi Germany? While keeping the United States officially neutral, Franklin D. Roosevelt devised an unprecedented strategy, ...

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To Keep the British Isles Afloat

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Overview

An inside look at the work and adventures of Harry Hopkins and Averell Harriman in the creation of history's most remarkable international partnership

After the fall of France in June 1940, London became the center of world political theater. For the U.S. president, the vital question was: could Britain, with American help, hold out against the might of Nazi Germany? While keeping the United States officially neutral, Franklin D. Roosevelt devised an unprecedented strategy, leading to the revolutionary idea of lend-lease. But was Winston Churchill—famous as a speechmaker but regarded by many as a reckless politician and possibly a drunk—a good bet? To find the answer, Roosevelt dispatched his closest associate, Harry Hopkins, to Britain on a mission. Hopkins's endorsement of Churchill put an end to FDR's doubts, and with the passage of the Lend-Lease Act the president sent Averell Harriman, a wealthy financier and entrepreneur, to London "to keep the British Isles afloat." For Harriman, the assignment turned out to be the great adventure of a remarkable life.

Filled with vivid details and great storytelling, To Keep the British Isles Afloat explores the still-misunderstood beginnings of the unique Anglo-American alliance in World War II, offering an intriguing new look at Roosevelt's thinking and a fresh perspective on the relationship between the president and the prime minister.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Great presidents seem to attract the most talented assistants. This especially characterized the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration during the early months leading up to U.S. involvement in World War II. Parrish (Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War) has the writing skills and historical knowledge to tackle how FDR moved the nation from isolationism toward support of the British against Nazi Germany. Parrish focuses on how FDR used Harry Hopkins to check up on Winston Churchill and then relied on Averell Harriman to coordinate and implement the lend-lease program in England. Indifferent to class, position, and bureaucratic organization, FDR simply recognized talent; he knew and trusted the individuals he selected for special assignments. Hopkins and Harriman were both self-starters who became part of an effective and honest team. Though this story will be familiar to many scholars, the author incorporates unpublished interviews with Harriman and his associates and captures the essence of FDR, Harriman, and Hopkins. This page-turner will appeal to general readers interested in FDR, Winston Churchill, and World War II.
—William D. Pederson

Kirkus Reviews
Popular historian Parrish (The Submarine: A History, 2004, etc.) looks at the people behind Franklin Roosevelt's lend-lease program with England. After France fell to the Nazis in 1940, President Roosevelt wondered if England, with American assistance, would be able to hold off invading German armies. At the time, the United States was officially neutral in the conflict, but Roosevelt was determined to do everything in his power to stop Hitler. His "lend-lease" plan sought to supply critical war materials to England and other allies, but he wanted to know if England, and especially Winston Churchill, would be a safe bet. He sent his close friend and advisor Harry Hopkins to England in early 1941 to size up the prime minister. Though Churchill had a reputation for recklessness and drunkenness, Hopkins was impressed with him immediately, and provided a glowing endorsement: "Churchill is the gov't in every sense of the word," he wrote. "This island needs our help now Mr. President with everything we can give them." Soon the lend-lease program was in full swing; England would receive more than $30 billion in supplies during the war. Roosevelt sent another friend, businessman Averell Harriman, to oversee the London end of the operation. "I want you to go over to London," Roosevelt told him, "and recommend everything that we can do, short of war, to keep the British Isles afloat." Parrish brings many of the men involved to vibrant life-particularly Hopkins, a likable, energetic character who died of stomach cancer at the age of 55, just after World War II. The author's emphasis on the personalities of the period transform what could have been a dry explication of war policy into a page-turner.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061910197
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/21/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 889,102
  • File size: 676 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Parrish is the author of a number of distinguished popular histories, including Berlin in the Balance, The Submarine: A History, and Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War. He lives in Berea, Kentucky.

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