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The stirring climax to Nigel Hamilton’s three-part saga of FDR at war—proof that he was the Second World War’s key strategist, even on his deathbed
“A first-class, lens-changing work.” —James N. Mattis, former US secretary of defense
Nigel Hamilton’s celebrated trilogy culminates with a story of triumph and tragedy. Just as FDR was proven right by the D-day landings he had championed, so was he found to be mortally ill in the spring of 1944. He was the architect of a victorious peace that he would not live to witness.
Using hitherto unpublished documents and interviews, Hamilton rewrites the famous account of World War II strategy given by Winston Churchill in his memoirs. Seventy-five years after the D-day landings we finally get to see, close-up and in dramatic detail, who was responsible for rescuing, and insisting upon, the great American-led invasion of France in June 1944, and why the invasion was led by Eisenhower. As FDR’s D-day triumph turns to personal tragedy, we watch with heartbreaking compassion the course of the disease, and how, in the months left him as US commander in chief, the dying president attempted at Hawaii, Quebec, and Yalta to prepare the United Nations for an American-backed postwar world order. Now we know: even on his deathbed, FDR was the war’s great visionary.
Hamilton (Commander in Chief: FDR's Battle with Churchill) closes out his trilogy focusing on Franklin D. Roosevelt's role in WWII with this thorough and deliberate recounting of the final months of Roosevelt's life, during which he suffered through increasingly poor health while leading the U.S. toward the end of the war. Hamilton aims "not only to chart with fresh clarity how dire was his affliction, but how exactly it affected his decisions and once masterly performance as commander in chief of the Western Allies." Hamilton shows how Roosevelt "held the feet of the British to the D-Day fire" during the 1943 Tehran meetings, when Churchill began to doubt the war strategy prior to meeting with Stalin. Returning from that success, Roosevelt's health took a turn for the worse; what first seemed to be a bout of flu was more serious cardiac complications. While ill, he won an unprecedented fourth term as president, rekindled an affair with Lucy Rutherfurd, and met again with Stalin and Churchill in Yalta to plan for a postwar world order, including the founding of the United Nations. The depth of coverage of these 17 months may be more than some readers desire, but it vividly recreates FDR's decline and makes his accomplishments all the more impressive. Like its predecessors in the trilogy, this volume will reward readers of WWII and presidential history. Illus.