Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming brings to life the flawed and troubled FDR who struggled to manage WWII. Starting with the leak to the press of Roosevelt's famous Rainbow Plan, then spiraling back to FDR's inept prewar diplomacy with Japan, and his various attempts to lure Japan into an attack on the U.S. Fleet in the Pacific, Fleming takes the reader inside the incredibly fractious struggles and debates that went on in Washington, the nation, and the world as the New Dealers, led by FDR, strove to impose their will on the conduct of the War. Unlike the familiar yet idealized FDR of Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time, the reader encounters a Roosevelt in remorseless decline, battered by ideological forces and primitive hatreds which he could not handle-and frequently failed to understand-some of them leading to unimaginable catastrophe. Among FDR's most dismaying policies, Fleming argues, were an insistence on "unconditional surrender" for Germany (a policy that perhaps prolonged the war by as many as two years, leaving millions more dead) and his often uncritical embrace of and acquiescence to Stalin and the Soviets as an ally.
For many Americans, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is a beloved, heroic, almost mythic figure, if not for the "big government" that was spawned under his New Deal, then certainly for his leadership through the War. The New Dealers' War paints a very different portrait of this leadership. It is sure to spark debate....Continua
The author, who has considerable experience writing about U.S. Presidents, seems to enjoy castigating Franklin Roosevelt in this account of how the President and assorted ill-suited associates dealt with the United States as a wartime nation. Near-deification of FDR has grown tiresome, but the shrill tone of this book makes reading it seem like a punishment doled out by a vindictive teacher. Only the most prevent history readers would want to deal with this....Continua