WAR AND PEACE : FDR’s Final Odyssey D-Day to Yalta, 1943–1945Nigel Hamilton
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A Book Focuses On The Final Years Of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency From The D-Day Invasion In 1943 To The Yalta Conference In 1945
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★★ To mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the stirring climax to Nigel Hamilton’s three-part saga of FDR at war—proof that he was WWII’s key strategist, even on his deathbed. ★★
This book is a part of a trilogy by Hamilton that explores the life and leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the 32nd President of the United States. The trilogy covers FDR’s presidency and his role in shaping American foreign policy during World War II and the lead-up to the post-war world order.
Nigel Hamilton’s celebrated trilogy culminates with a story of triumph and tragedy. Just as FDR was proven right by the D-day landings he had championed, so was he found to be mortally ill in the spring of 1944. He was the architect of a victorious peace that he would not live to witness. It is a book that focuses on the final years of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, from the D-Day invasion in 1943 to the Yalta Conference in 1945.
Hamilton closes out his trilogy focusing on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s role in WWII with this thorough and deliberate recounting of the final months of Roosevelt’s life, during which he suffered through increasingly poor health while leading the U.S. toward the end of the war. Hamilton aims “not only to chart with fresh clarity how dire was his affliction, but how exactly it affected his decisions and once masterly performance as commander in chief of the Western Allies.”
In “War and Peace,” Nigel Hamilton focuses on the later years of FDR’s presidency, particularly from the period of 1943 to 1945. This period was crucial in the history of World War II, as it encompassed significant events such as the Allied invasion of Normandy (D-Day), the final stages of the war in Europe, and the negotiations that took place at the Yalta Conference in 1945.
The book provides a detailed account of Roosevelt’s leadership during the final years of World War II, including his interactions with other world leaders and his efforts to shape the post-war world. It delves into FDR’s leadership during these tumultuous times, his relationships with other world leaders such as Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, and the complex diplomatic and military strategies that were employed to bring the war to an end. It also explores the challenges FDR faced on the home front, including managing a nation at war and dealing with his own declining health.
Using hitherto unpublished documents and interviews, Hamilton rewrites the famous account of World War II strategy given by Winston Churchill in his memoirs. Seventy-five years after the D-day landings we finally get to see, close-up and in dramatic detail, who was responsible for rescuing, and insisting upon, the great American-led invasion of France in June 1944, and why the invasion was led by Eisenhower.
The book explores the challenges and complexities of Roosevelt’s leadership during this period, including his declining health and the tensions between the Allied powers. Hamilton also provides insights into the personal life of Roosevelt, including his relationships with his family and his mistress, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd.
Hamilton shows how Roosevelt “held the feet of the British to the D-Day fire” during the 1943 Tehran meetings, when Churchill began to doubt the war strategy prior to meeting with Stalin. Returning from that success, Roosevelt’s health took a turn for the worse; what first seemed to be a bout of flu was more serious cardiac complications. While ill, he won an unprecedented fourth term as president, rekindled an affair with Lucy Rutherfurd, and met again with Stalin and Churchill in Yalta to plan for a postwar world order, including the founding of the United Nations.
As FDR’s D-day triumph turns to personal tragedy, we watch with heartbreaking compassion the course of the disease, and how, in the months left him as US commander in chief, the dying president attempted at Hawaii, Quebec, and Yalta to prepare the United Nations for an American-backed postwar world order. Now we know: even on his deathbed, FDR was the war’s great visionary.
Overall, Nigel Hamilton’s trilogy on FDR provides a comprehensive look at the life and times of one of America’s most influential presidents, with a particular focus on his role in the global events of World War II and the shaping of the post-war world order. “War and Peace” is an important contribution to the study of FDR’s presidency and his impact on the course of history during this critical period. The book provides insights into Roosevelt’s leadership during a pivotal period in world history, and sheds new light on his personal life and relationships.
The depth of coverage of these 17 months may be more than some readers desire, but it vividly recreates FDR’s decline and makes his accomplishments all the more impressive. Like its predecessors in the trilogy, this volume will reward readers of WWII and presidential history.
KIRKUS REVIEW :
The final installment of the biographer’s significant study of Franklin Roosevelt’s sine qua non leadership in World War II.
It seems safe to say that, following his Commander in Chief: FDR’S Battle with Churchill, 1943 (2016), Hamilton is not Winston Churchill’s greatest admirer. As this volume recounts frequently and at length, Churchill often attempted to assert British leadership of the tripartite alliance with the United States and the Soviet Union, especially by pressing not for a cross-Channel invasion of Europe but instead for a push up through Italy, “an alternative Mediterranean strategy” that had the virtue, for Churchill, of taking place in a theater that was largely in the British sphere to begin with.
Churchill’s strategy endangered one of D-Day’s lesser-known effects: The Western Allies’ pledge to open a second front in continental Europe would in turn produce a deepening of the war in the East—so Stalin promised, at any rate, while nursing a private bitterness that the Soviet Union had borne the brunt of the fight.
Meanwhile, Germany exploited the weaknesses that emerged by floating hints of making a separate peace, with Joseph Goebbels noting in his diary that “Americans have only a secondary interest in the war in Europe and are only inspired by the war against Japan.”
Even so, and against the odds, the Allies held together, an achievement that Hamilton credits to FDR’s unwavering leadership even in the face of Churchill’s maneuvering—and even though FDR, by the author’s account, knew that he was dying and still pressed on. The fact that those German offers were floated in March 1945, however—no secret from Hitler but a deliberate strategy—increased the Soviet mistrust of the Western powers and, Hamilton suggests, may have “presaged the Cold War” that followed the defeat of the Axis powers.
Of considerable interest to students of presidential and American military history, though likely to court criticism from the Churchill camp.
About the Author :
NIGEL HAMILTON is a best-selling and award-winning biographer of President John F. Kennedy, General Bernard “Monty” Montgomery, and President Bill Clinton, among other subjects. His most recent book, The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941–1942, was long-listed for the National Book Award. He is a senior fellow at the McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and splits his time between Boston, Massachusetts, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
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