T.R. Fehrenbach (This Kind of War, This Kind of Peace) writes a readable, even facile prose that appropriates reader interest easily, and in this case runs from F.D.R.'s July 1939 meeting with Congressional leaders which ""marked the beginning of a war"" to fight a war, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, when America began to fight that war outwardly and in earnest. The author traces F.D.R.'s moves toward intervention from the isolation that popular opinion clung to even through the fall of France, follows his acts from the repeal of the arms embargo through rearmament, lend-lease programs, secret association with the British, Atlantic escalation and extension of the President's executive powers. Fehrenbach sees Roosevelt, ""like every successful American president,"" as advocating a consensus, cites his failure to form a true consensus in favor of the use of American power abroad until Pearl Harbor, and the administration's inability to take a stand in open defiance of majority opinion despite its informed views. This is the kind of fleshing out of history that sharpens perspective; it is popular rather than scholarly in its execution.