In 1941: Fighting the Shadow War, A Divided America in a World at War , historian Marc Wortman thrillingly explores the little-known history of America’s clandestine involvement in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Prior to that infamous day, America had long been involved in a shadow war. Winston Churchill, England’s beleaguered new Prime Minister, pleaded with Franklin D. Roosevelt for help. FDR concocted ingenious ways to come to his aid, without breaking the Neutrality Acts. Launching Lend-Lease, conducting espionage at home and in South America to root out Nazi sympathizers, and waging undeclared war in the Atlantic, were just some of the tactics with which FDR battled Hitler in the shadows.
FDR also had to contend with growing isolationism and anti-Semitism as he tried to influence public opinion. The largest obstacle was Charles Lindbergh and his America First Committee, with its following of hundreds of thousands. While Americans were sympathetic to those being crushed under Axis power, they were unwilling to enter a foreign war. Wortman looks at this dynamic time through the eyes of the powerful as well as ordinary citizens. The book opens with two American journalists who witness Hitler’s invasion of Poland: William Shirer is appalled by the rise of Nazism, Philip Johnson is enthralled with Hitler. Their stories weave throughout the intricate tapestry of events that unfold during the crucial year of 1941.
Combining military and political history, Wortman crafts an eye-opening account of how FDR took the country to war.
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About the Author
Marc Wortman is an independent historian and award-winning freelance journalist. He is the author of two previous books, The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power (the inspiration for the prize-winning, feature-length documentary by Humanus Films) and The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. He has written for many popular publications, including Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, and Town & Country , and his essays and reviews appear frequently on The Daily Beast. He and his family live in New Haven.
Table of Contents
Introduction: 1941 1
Chapter 1 Foreign Correspondents 5
Chapter 2 A New World 17
Chapter 3 "That Prophecy Comes True" 31
Chapter 4 Unneutral Acts 43
Chapter 5 Scooping Hitler 53
Chapter 6 Blitzkrieg Propaganda 62
Chapter 7 Shadowed by the G-Men 73
Chapter 8 The Roosevelt Brand 82
Chapter 9 Cassandra 90
Chapter 10 A Rising Sun 100
Chapter 11 Prairie Fire 115
Chapter 12 "Aviation, Geography, and Race" 125
Chapter 13 Indictments 140
Chapter 14 The Garden Hose 149
Chapter 15 How Do You Do? 165
Chapter 16 Intolerance 179
Chapter 17 Good Americanism 187
Chapter 18 Living in a Nightmare 191
Chapter 19 Volunteers 208
Chapter 20 The Strongest Fortress in the World 220
Chapter 21 Geographers 237
Chapter 22 Son of a Harness Maker 252
Chapter 23 The Obvious Conclusion 262
Chapter 24 At Last We've Gotten Together 268
Chapter 25 The Rattlesnakes of the Atlantic 285
Chapter 26 Ten no 296
Chapter 27 The Undeclared War 306
Chapter 28 Son of Man, Son of God 316
Chapter 29 East Wind, Rain 326
Epilogue: Rendezvous with Destiny 337
Picture Acknowledgments 387
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An outstandingly entertaining and focused narrative that paints the time and place so vividly I felt as though I was there. FDR, Churchill, Hopkins, Lindberg and many more are included in this often overlooked period of pre-war USA.