FORGED IN WAR by Warren F. Kimball


Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War
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 From Kimball (History/Rutgers Univ.), who edited the collected correspondence of FDR and Winston Churchill, another look at the fateful partnership that helped win the Second World War. FDR and Churchill first met in London in 1918, when the American was a visiting assistant secretary of the navy and Churchill a famous member of Britain's war cabinet. It was not, apparently, an auspicious meeting: Churchill offended Roosevelt years later by telling him he did not remember the encounter. Also, Churchill's attempts to cultivate political contact with Roosevelt when he was governor of New York and later president were unsuccessful, until WW II intervened. However, once the correspondence between the two finally began (even while Churchill was still a member of Neville Chamberlain's cabinet), the tone was set for the ``special relationship'' that ultimately resulted in the Atlantic Alliance. In sketching the personalities of the two partners, Kimball draws parallels and contrasts: Both were flamboyant speakers and masters of dramatic language, both generated intense personal loyalty, both were idealists with a pragmatic bent. Churchill was a master of detail who micromanaged, while Roosevelt left most of the details to subordinates. Kimball records the years of America's pro-British neutrality, in which the US supported Britain through lend-lease aid and assistance of an increasingly military nature, and the intensification of the relationship between the two leaders as the US and the Soviet Union entered the war. The Churchill-Roosevelt friendship set the tone for the sometimes tense, sometimes warm Anglo-American relationship, which Kimball follows through its high points and its lows (like the Yalta Conference, in which Roosevelt joined forces with Stalin in opposing some of Churchill's ideas). Ultimately, Kimball points out, the relationship played a crucial role in creating the ``Holy Alliance'' against fascism that ended the war and created the postwar world. An absorbing examination of one of modern history's most dynamic friendships and its military consequences.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-688-08523-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997


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