It’s hard to recall, but going to war used to take a long time. The protracted two-year battle over F.D.R.’s gradual, hard-fought, bitter, and often necessarily devious campaign to prepare the U.S. for war and overcome powerful isolationist sentiment is the subject of this snappy, comprehensive book. At its center are Charles Lindbergh, a tin-eared, pro-German, unappealing, obtuse naïf, and F.D.R., wily but hemmed in by political forces. Olson, author of numerous books on the WWII era (including Citizens of London), manages to keep her complex, character-filled story on keel as she describes the forces bearing down on F.D.R.’s administration while the world slipped into war. Familiar and unfamiliar figures—military and civilian, private and public—people the book, and delicious tales abound. Overall, the story is sobering, and it’s hard to understand now how the run-up to America’s greatest war was so fraught with political and cultural explosives. Olson tells the story unerringly, but the book—however lively—is largely descriptive and short on ideas, argument, and point of view. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Literary Agency. (Mar. 26)
“Powerfully [re-creates] this tenebrous era . . . Olson captures in spellbinding detail the key figures in the battle between the Roosevelt administration and the isolationist movement.”—The New York Times Book Review
“In Those Angry Days, journalist-turned-historian Lynne Olson captures [the] period in a fast-moving, highly readable narrative punctuated by high drama. It’s . . . popular history at its most riveting, detailing what the author rightfully characterizes as ‘a brutal, no-holds-barred battle for the soul of the nation.’ It is sure to captivate readers seeking a deeper understanding of how public opinion gradually shifted as America moved from bystander to combatant in the war to preserve democracy.”—Associated Press
“Filled with fascinating anecdotes and surprising twists . . . With this stirring book, Lynne Olson confirms her status as our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.”—Madeleine K. Albright
“Olson has shone a dramatic light on the complexities of the issue and skillfully portrayed the protagonists of an almost forgotten crisis in American history.”—Newsweek/The Daily Beast
“[An] absorbing chronicle . . . [Olson] doesn’t so much revisit a historical period as inhabit it; her scenes flicker as urgently as a newsreel. While highlighting Lindbergh and FDR as its stars, Those Angry Days embraces a cast of characters far beyond the book’s title characters.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Masterfully describes America’s conflicting opinions before Pearl Harbor . . . a comprehensive take on another era of angry divisions.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Spanning the years 1939 to 1941, Lynne Olson’s masterful book relives American’s debate over whether to go to war—a bitter clash personified by FDR and Charles Lindbergh.”—Parade
“A fully fleshed-out portrait of the battle between the interventionists and isolationists in the eighteen months leading up to Pearl Harbor . . . a vivid, colorful evocation of a charged era.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Humanizing public events with private strains . . . Olson delivers a fluid rendition of a tempestuous time.”—Booklist
“[Olson] manages to keep her complex, character-filled story on keel as she describes the forces bearing down on FDR’s administration while the world slipped into war. . . . Delicious tales abound.”—Publishers Weekly
Olson’s (Citizens of London) most recent work captures the contentious debate over American intervention into World War II. Olson chronicles the “Great Debate” between the interventionists, led by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the isolationists, unofficially led by Charles Lindbergh. Digging more deeply than a simple retelling of policy and events, Olson provides intimate details through a variety of sources including diary entries. Readers will appreciate Olson’s fair criticism of both sides and her honest approach to the often shocking events that included death threats, vicious personal attacks, and even fistfights among politicians. Multiple award?winning narrator Robert Frass has a smooth, deliberate cadence that makes it easy to soak up the extensive coverage of the era.
Verdict A must for history fans. [“Though this subject is not new, Olson’s focus on the Lindberghs and the pressure groups opposing and supporting the aviator offers additional insight into the period that ended with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Its readability further recommends the book to history buffs,” read the review of the New York Times best-selling Random hc, LJ 3/15/13.Ed.]Sean Kennedy, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.
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A fully fleshed-out portrait of the battle between the interventionists and isolationists in the 18 months leading up to Pearl Harbor. Former Baltimore Sun White House correspondent Olson (Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, 2010, etc.) looks closely at both sides of the U.S. debate about whether to support Britain against the onslaught of Nazi Germany or remain aloof from the European conflict, epitomized by the two prominent personalities of the respective camps, President Franklin Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh. The author clarifies "those angry days," so-called by Arthur Schlesinger, and the deep, searing divisions within the country: from FDR, his hands tied to aid Britain materially by Senate Midwestern leaders like Burton Wheeler and Gerald Nye, who deeply resented the growing power of the presidency; to pro-German, frankly racist Lindbergh, whose trips to Germany and radio broadcasts helped sharpen the public outcry, gave fodder to prescient journalists like Dorothy Thompson and alienated his own long-suffering wife, Anne Morrow. Once viewed as America's great hero for his solo trans-Atlantic flight, Lindbergh spiraled into controversy with his public argument against aiding the English, his rationalization of German aggression and espousal of racial purity. Ostracized by the Europeans, who had not long before sheltered him and his wife after the kidnapping of his son, and excoriated by the press and the East Coast moneyed establishment, Lindbergh took up with the reactionary American First campaign and was increasingly regarded as traitorous. Roosevelt, in turn, warned the country about the "perils of complacency" in his State of the Union speech of 1940 as events in Europe heated up, and he was not averse to stoking fears of "Fifth column" infiltration and restricting civil liberties in garnering support for his policies. Throughout, Olson adroitly sifts through the many conflicting currents. A vivid, colorful evocation of a charged era.