'From 1939 to 1941, with Europe at war and the United States strongly isolationist, Roosevelt sent five exceptional men to Europe as his personal envoys to assess, among other issues, America's role. Rendezvous With Destiny is a fascinating and well-written account of a little-known chapter that was crucial to the course of WWII and to America's global leadership.' Henry Kissinger 'Superb . . . One of the most fascinating works of history I have read in many years' Ross Fitzgerald, Weekend Australian 'Real Team of Rivals stuff: smart, engaging, historical storytelling' Time 'A cracking book . . . as difficult to put down as a thriller' Adelaide Review In the dark days between Hitler's invasion of Poland and the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of highly unorthodox emissaries dispatched to Europe by President Franklin D. Roosevelt paved the way for America's entry into the war. Sumner Welles, the buttoned-down diplomat eventually ruined by his sexual misdemeanours, met with Mussolini, Hitler and Chamberlain. William 'Wild Bill' Donovan, war hero and future spymaster, visited an isolated United Kingdom to determine whether it could hold out against the Nazis. Harry Hopkins, frail social worker and New Dealer, became an unlikely confidant of Churchill and Stalin. Averell Harriman, banker and railroad heir, ran the massive aid program out of London, where he romanced Churchill's daughter-in-law. Wendell Willkie, the charismatic former Republican presidential candidate, raised British morale and helped FDR to win over wary Americans to the cause. Together, they shaped the future of America, the Second World War, and the modern world. Michael Fullilove restores Roosevelt's unlikely envoys to their proper place in history. Rendezvous with Destiny is stirring and important history, written with the pace of a thriller. 'Rendezvous with Destiny reminds us that the great challenges of any age typically summon the unconventional; in this case, a President who was perhaps the most unconventional of all. Michael Fullilove has produced a fascinating account of how Franklin Roosevelt and the brightest statesmen of their day helped save a civilisation.' Paul Keating 'Fullilove proves these crucial figures were more than just the servants of the American Goliath's move from isolationism - they were shapers of destiny in their own right. And he achieves this with a gripping narrative power.' Thomas Keneally 'A revealing account of the entry of the United States into the Second World War, that underlines the importance of leadership and individuals in history. The story is told with a great eye for detail, as well as a sound grasp of the broad arc of events.' Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man 'A rare combination of diplomatic thriller and original history, well-paced and expertly told' Kurt Campbell, Financial Times 'Fullilove infuses each chapter with the danger, romance and deadly seriousness of war . . . The book is at its finest when it portrays Roosevelt as a mariner steering through the fog' Jordan Chandler Hirsch, Wall Street Journal 'Entertaining . . . Fine capsule biographies of five remarkable Americans' David Nasaw, New York Times Book Review 'Fullilove writes superbly, weaving an intriguing Australian role into his narrative . . . An outstanding book, marked by insight and irony.' The Spectator, Australia 'Highly readable and original . . . A work of detailed scholarship and vigorous writing . . . a model of what the best academic research is capable of producing' Australian Book Review 'Outstanding... Fullilove has undertaken an enormous amount of research to produce a massive work that will change the way we view America's role in the war.' Herald Sun 'Fullilove is a gifted narrative historian, as this immensely readable and enjoyable book demonstrates' Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs 'This is a work of history that engages the reader from beginning to end. It's one that you'll want to add to your...
In the lead-up to the U.S. entry into World War II, F.D.R. had to jump some big hurdles: he had to convince his fellow Americans of the necessity of getting involved, and he had to support Britain's efforts to keep Hitler from overwhelming the U.K.'s skies and shores. In 1940, Roosevelt enlisted five capable men to cross the Atlantic to visit, negotiate, observe the war-weary British, and assess how the U.S. could help. Fullilove, a senior fellow at Washington, D.C.'s Brookings Institution, fills his story with fascinating diplomatic details: Henry Hopkins quotes the Bible to Churchill; "Wild Bill" Donovan maneuvers and flirts his way through British high society; Wendell Wilkie pulls drinks for patrons at an English pub and almost gets betrothed to an African chief's daughter. These extraordinary anecdotes are plentiful, and they combine to offer readers a fascinating display of different styles of American diplomacy in action. Unfortunately, stiff, dated prose slows the narrative Harriman's a "handsome devil," Wilkie "jawboned with a native chieftain," and Lord Halifax "was still open to treating with Hitler rather than licking him." Nevertheless, this is a fascinating account of the men who paved the way for the Lend-Lease Act.