FDR: The War President, 1940-1943: A History

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9780679415428: FDR: The War President, 1940-1943: A History

FDR: The War President opens as Roosevelt has been re-elected to a third term and the United States is drifting toward a war that has already engulfed Europe. Roosevelt, as commander in chief, statesman, and politician, must navigate a delicate balance between helping those in Europe--while remaining mindful of the forces of isolation both in the Congress and the country--and protecting the gains of the New Deal, upon which he has spent so much of his prestige and power.

Kenneth S. Davis draws vivid depictions of the lives, characters, and temperaments of the military and political personalities so paramount to the history of the time: Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle, and Hitler; Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, and MacArthur; Admiral Darlan, Chiang Kai-shek, Charles Lindbergh, William Allen White, Joseph Kennedy, Averell Harriman, Harry Tru-man, Robert Murphy, Sidney Hillman, William Knud-sen, Cordell Hull, Henry Morgenthau, Henry Stimson, A. Philip Randolph, Wendell Willkie, and Henry Wallace.

The portrait of Henry Hopkins, who interacted with many of these personalities on behalf of Roosevelt, is woven into this history as the complex, interconnected relationship it was. Hopkins burnished the relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt and eased the way for their interactions with Stalin.

Another set of characters central to Roosevelt's life and finely drawn by the author includes Eleanor Roo-sevelt, Sara Roosevelt, Missy LeHand, Grace Tully, Princess Martha of Norway, and Daisy Suckley.

Integral to this history as well are the Argentina Conference, the Atlantic Charter and the beginnings of the United Nations, the Moscow Conference, lend-lease, the story of the building of the atomic bomb, Hitler's Final Solution and how Roosevelt and the State Department reacted to it, Pearl Harbor and war with Japan, the planning of Torch, and the murder of Admiral Darlan. All these stories intersect with the economic and social problems facing Roosevelt at home as the United States mobilizes for war.

The lessons and concerns of 1940-1943 as dissected in this book are still relevant to the problems and concerns of our own time. A recurrent theme is technology: Do people control technology, or does technology control people?

Kenneth Davis had the rare gift of writing history that reads with the immediacy of a novel; and though the outcome of this history is well known, the events and people depicted here keep the reader focused on an enthralling suspense story.

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Review:

The fifth volume of Kenneth S. Davis's magisterial, much-praised biography follows FDR from his re-election to an unprecedented third term in November 1940 through New Year's Eve, 1942, when he screened a brand-new film, Casablanca, at the White House. During the intervening 25 months, President Roosevelt prepared a reluctant nation for the war that he knew was coming, then struggled to maintain the government's commitment to his New Deal social programs, as well as the conflict overseas. Like its predecessors, this installment combines shrewd, intimate psychological insights into Roosevelt's character with a sweeping historical narrative of world events and a superbly detailed account of Washington political maneuvers--all three laid out in grave, elegant prose. Perhaps Davis's most notable achievement lies in tracing the links between FDR's personality and his leadership style: the unexpected benefits of his maddening indecisiveness, his ability to use even his crippling physical handicap to political advantage, the way in which the adult president cemented personal and professional ties with the evasive charm that he developed in adolescence to defend himself against a smothering mother. Admirers of serious yet accessible biography can regret only that the author's death in 1999 means that there will be no concluding volume to this magnificent series, which has shed so much light on one of the more complex men ever to inhabit the White House. --Wendy Smith

From the Back Cover:

Praise for Kenneth S. Davis's landmark biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Beckoning of Destiny, 1882-1928

"There is an unusually powerful sweep to his story that depends, I think, on more than simply his considerable skills as a teller of great tales. . . . The sheer grandeur of Mr. Davis's frieze does have the happy effect of bringing into sharper relief what is unquestionably one of the subtler and more vivid portraits of FDR yet created."
--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times


The New York Years, 1928-1933

"Superb . . . Mr. Davis manages to imbue with suspense a story whose outcome we know, so that the Democratic victory of 1932 becomes an adventure."
--The New Yorker


The New Deal Years, 1933-1937

"In the spirit of his pragmatic, eclectic, and opportunistic central figure, Davis weaves an engaging narrative. . . . This carefully crafted volume provides a highly readable integration of Rooseveltiana."
--John A. Brennan, The Journal of American History


Into the Storm, 1937-1940

"Drawing on FDR's press conferences, 'fireside chats,' formal addresses and conversations with cabinet members, congressmen and advisors, Davis

assembles a full portrait of one of our most forceful, effective yet inscrutable presidents. This is a major work by a biographer with exceptional psychological insight."
--Publishers Weekly

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Book Description Random House, U.S.A., 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. SUPERB: New 1st ed. hardcover w/ full no. line indicating 2nd printing, new unclipped mylar-protected jacket w/ new edges & corners showing orig. $39.95 price at top right inside front flyleaf, new cover, immaculate smooth-cut text-block exterior, new sewn binding w/ tight signatures & blue-white-checked cloth bands at spine caps, impeccable cream-white end-papers on heavy stock, pristine interior printed w/ handsome clarity in Times Roman on superb silk-finish unblemished paper * 6.36" x 9.50" x 1.76", 1.24 kg, 848 pp. * Notes (759), Index (805) * FDR: The War President opens as Roosevelt has been re-elected to a 3rd term & the United States is drifting toward a war that has already engulfed Europe. Roosevelt, as commander in chief, statesman, & politician, must navigate a delicate balance between helping those in Europe (while remaining mindful of the forces of isolation both in the Congress and the country) & protecting the gains of the New Deal, upon which he has spent so much of his prestige & power. Kenneth S. Davis draws vivid depictions of the lives, characters & temperaments of the military & political personalities so paramount to the history of the time: Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle & Hitler; Generals Marshall, Eisenhower & MacArthur; Admiral Darlan, Chiang Kai-shek, Charles Lindberg, Joseph Kennedy, Averell Harriman, Harry Truman, Robert Murphy, Cordell Hull, Henry Morgenthau, Henry Stimson, A. Philip Randolph, Wendell Willkie & Henry Wallace. The portrait of Henry Hopkins, who interacted w/ many of these personalities on behalf of Roosevelt, is woven into this history as the complex, interconnected relationship it was. Hopkins burnished the relationship between Churchill & Roosevelt & eased the way for their interactions w/ Stalin. Another set of characters central to Roosevelt's life & finely drawn by the author includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Sara Roosevelt, Missy LeHand, Grace Tully, Princess Martha (Norway) & Daisy Suckley. Integral to this history as well are the Argentina Conference, the Atlantic Charter & the beginnings of the United Nations, the Moscow Conference, lend-lease, the story of the building of the atomic bomb, Hitler's Final Solution & how Roosevelt & the State Department reacted to it, Pearl Harbor & war w/ Japan, the planning of Torch & the murder of Admiral Darlan. All these stories intersect w/ the economic & social problems facing Roosevelt at home as the United States mobilizes for war. The lessons & concerns of 1940-1943 as dissected in this book are still relevant to the problems & concerns of our own time. A recurrent theme is technology: Do people control technology, or does technology control people? Kenneth Davis had the rare gift of writing history that reads w/ the immediacy of a novel; & though the outcome of this history is well known, the events & people depicted here keep the reader focused on an enthralling suspense story. * A biographer of Eisenhower, Lindbergh & Adlai Stevenson as well as a novelist, Kenneth S. Davis was awarded the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize for FDR: The Beckoning of Destiny, which was also a nominee for the National Book Award. In addition, his next two volumes on FDR were both chosen as among the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. A graduate of Kansas State University w/ a master of science degree from the University of Wisconsin & an honorary doctorate of letters from Assumption College, Davis was a journalism instructor at New York University, a war correspondent attached to General Eisenhower's headquarters, special assistant to Milton Eisenhower, the president of Kansas State University, a member of the State Department's UNESCO relations staff, editor of The Newberry Library Bulletin in Chicago, adjunct professor of English at Clark University, & an adjunct professor of history at both Kansas University and Kansas State University. Kenneth S. Davis died in June 1999. Bookseller Inventory # 006912

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