The first comprehensive history of the deeply entwined personal and public lives of the Churchills and the Kennedys and what their special relationship meant for Great Britain and the United States.
When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates - soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the greatness in each other.
Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons - and the remarkable women in their lives - providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage, and ambition that shaped them. He explores the seismic impact of Winston Churchill on JFK and American policy, wrestling anew with the legacy of two titans of the twentieth century. By approaching these iconic figures from a new perspective, Maier not only illuminates the intricacies of this all-important cross-Atlantic allegiance but also enriches our understanding of the tumultuous time in which they lived and the world events they so greatly influenced.
With deeply human portraits of these flawed but larger-than-life figures, When Lions Roar explores the special relationship between the Churchills and Kennedys, between Great Britain and the United States, highlighting all of its emotional complexity and historic significance.
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Wonderful Book. Narration Superb.
- Margaret P. Johnson
Study of influence of Winston Churchill on JFK
When reading the sub-title of the book, my first thought was: someone has come up with another far-fetched idea for an angle on Churchill. After reading the book, however, I have to confess there is nothing fanciful about the idea. Thomas Maier’s book is a sound study of the influence Churchill had on JFK, how this came about and its influence on history.
The book focuses first on the two family patriarchs, Winston Churchill and Joe Kennedy. It tells of their shady dealings at the end of the Prohibition era in America, when with the help of Franklin Roosevelt oldest son, Joe brokered a deal to import British liquor to the US. Winston obtained some lucrative stock in two companies controlled by Joe. From that moment onwards the lives of the two families intertwine. Joe and Winston becoming divided over America’s entry into World War II. In the end these isolationist views will cost Joe his is political career. The spotlight shifts to the next generation, on the political rise of JFK and the tragic decline of Randolph Churchill into alcoholism, after he tried in vain to hold his own in the shadow of his overpowering father. Maier superbly dissects the role women played in the lives of these powerful man, be it as wives or mistresses. There are vivid profiles of colorful figures like Bernard Baruch, Evelyn Waugh, Aristotle Onassis, Averell Harriman, John Winant and Edward R. Murrow. Although the book is a bit gossipy now and then, it certainly is an important addition to the written history of both families.
Malcolm Hillgartner did a superb job. When a narrator is able to retain your attention for 22 hours, he’s certainly doing it right.
- Pierke Bosschieter