THE GREATEST CRUSADE: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Naval Wars by Richard Hough

THE GREATEST CRUSADE: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Naval Wars

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A survey of the separate careers in naval administration of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill that ultimately converged in their close-knit prosecution of WW II. Hough, who has written some two dozen books, mostly concentrating on naval subjects during the wars, handles these two giants strictly in relation to maritime issues. The story is told in counterpoint--alternating chapters chronicle Churchill's, then Roosevelt's development--until the creation of their mutual strategies against Hitler and Japan, with the neat resolution of triumph over tyranny. There were three years--from 1913 through 1915--when the two men held the posts of Assistant Secretary of the Navy (although FDR was ""assistant"" in name only) and First Lord of the Admiralty concurrently. Roosevelt's career leapt as a result of his successful administration of the Navy (his Naval Reserve system was his greatest triumph, standing the US in good stead for yearsto come), while Churchill went out of office in disgrace to face his ""wilderness years"" as a result of the disastrous Dardenelles expedition. (Hough takes the conventional view. There is little mention here of Lord Jack'y Fisher's incipient madness that jeopardized the mission unnecessarily. There is every reason to see Churchill's strategy in the Dardenelles as a stroke of military genius, had he been allowed to go at it in his own way.) The two men, it appears, loved their navies more than anything else (Churchill's WW II code for himself in correspondence with Roosevelt was even ""Former Naval Person""). Whatever variations in their styles in mobilizing their forces stemmed from one fundamental difference: Roosevelt's ease in dealing with naval matters came from a strong inner sense of security, while Churchill's pugnacity in naval affairs arose out of his insecurities, especially from his omnipresent need to redeem his father's reputation. Hough has added little to common knowledge about these two distant cousins. His contribution is in synthesizing naval information under one heading. Basically, as book number 25, The Greatest Crusade is unlikely to make waves in the historical world.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow