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Remarkable insight to perhaps the two most important figures in the 20th century. "W" is portrayed as the loyal friend for life-- an eternal optimist who delivered Britian from its darkest hour with the help from his sometimes aloof, and not so loyal Roosevelt, whom the author paints as long on charm, but sometimes as more opportunist than friend. The strong bonds that developed in the early years of the war between these men began to diverge during the pre-'44 plans for D-day, with Roosevelt loosening his ties with Churchill, to curry favor from Stalin. Stalin needed a Normandy diversion to ease Nazi pressure on the eastern front while Roosevelt, unable to predict completion of the Manhattan project, needed access to strategic Soviet airfields in Siberia for America's war against Japan. Churchill, on the other hand, mindful of the complexity of a channel naval invasion (and mindful of hard naval lessons past learned), was not quite ready to stomach the sacrifice in men that was sure to occur at D-day, at least not so soon as the proposed May '44 invasion. The fact that "F" and "W" disagreed is understandable, but the listener is left with a sense of regret that our "great" American president could have been more forthright and less political with the man who viewed Roosevelt among his closest friends. Franklin's cozy relations with "Uncle Joe" are made more distasteful by our retrospective view of the tyrant, a view, in fairness, Roosevelt did not have. While the "F" and "W" relationship was complex, and not completely devoid of emotion by Roosevelt, the traits of confidence and ego which made the "leader" Roosevelt, perhaps prevented the type of fraternal relationship we might have wished for them in retrospect. The author is masterful in providing us with the human frailties among the bundle of traits which made these men great. A very good listen indeed!
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
I had high hopes for this volume and although I enjoyed it I do not feel I understand the two men any better than before. I did come away with a distaste for Roosevelt, who seemed cruel and purposefully devious, and more respectful for Churchill, who seemed to really make an effort to form a personal bond with a man who was not capable of returning such emotions. The author seemed simply to recite what he found, rather than interpreting the data, and I felt overall the book was rather thin.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful