HARRY HOPKINS by Henry H. Adams
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Harry Hopkins was the New Deal dynamo of public work relief and then FDR's all-round troubleshooter, adviser, and personal liaison with Winston Churchill during WW II--who dubbed him ""Lord Root of the Matter."" Adams is at pains to deny that Hopkins ever acted as a ""Rasputin"" coaxing FDR into deficit spending and unwarranted lavishness toward the Allies. On the contrary, writes Adams, Hopkins ""survived in Roosevelt's friendship because he did not try to originate policy and sell his chief on his ideas."" Yet Hopkins made the difference at certain junctures, convincing FDR after arduous diplomatic missions that Britain and the USSR could indeed hold out against Hitler, and therefore deserved aid. Hopkins meanwhile revved up US war production through the manifold big-business contacts he developed while spurning ""those damned New Dealers""; and, by Adams' account, he virtually orchestrated key Allied conferences, especially Casablanca and Teheran, forcing his good friend Churchill to accede to a Normandy invasion instead of attacking from the south. Throughout Adams succeeds in making real and moving the energy, improvisatory talents, and blunt humor of his often deathly ill hero, and he is more explicit than Robert Sherwood (Roosevelt and Hopkins, 1948) about Hopkins' value to FDR as a short-circuit against Congress and the State Department. Though somewhat wide-eyed and without Sherwood's style or intimacy, Adams' book has its own solid merits.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1977
Publisher: Putnam