Longlisted for the National Book Award
“This bold argument . . . will undoubtedly change the way we see Franklin Roosevelt.”
—Christian Science Monitor
—Wall Street Journal
A dramatic, eye-opening account of how FDR took personal charge of the military direction of World War II
Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving Roosevelt aides and family members, The Mantle of Command offers a radical new perspective on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s masterful — and underappreciated — leadership of the Allied war effort. After the disaster of Pearl Harbor, we see Roosevelt devising a global strategy that will defeat Hitler and the Japanese, rescue Churchill and the British people, and quell a near insurrection of his own American generals and War Department. All the while, Hamilton’s account drives toward Operation Torch — the invasion of French Northwest Africa — and the outcome of the war hangs in the balance. The Mantle of Command is an intimate, sweeping look at a great President in history’s greatest conflict.
Accomplished biographer Hamilton (Biography: A Brief History) delivers an analysis of President Franklin Roosevelt in the role of Commander-in-Chief through the first two years of WWII. The author follows his subject through 14 pivotal periods of the early war years and demonstrates that F.D.R. frequently trusted his own judgment over the advice of the military professionals who surrounded him. Central to the book and its thesis is the contest of wills between F.D.R. and his group of distinguished military advisors regarding the proposed invasion of North Africa in 1942, which was aggressively opposed by General Marshall and Secretary of War Stimson. This decision almost resulted in a "mutiny" against the President. Events ultimately vindicated the President's decision and firmly established his talent for grand strategy. Though it's a weighty tome, and is based extensively on Roosevelt's own notes, Hamilton keeps a brisk pace throughout to produce what will likely be seen as a definitive volume on this aspect of Roosevelt's career and essential reading for anyone interested in WWII, the Roosevelt Presidency, and presidential leadership.