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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Jay Winik brings to life in gripping detail the year 1944, which determined the outcome of World War II and put more pressure than any other on an ailing yet determined President Roosevelt.
It was not inevitable that World War II would end as it did or that it would even end well. Nineteen forty-four was a year that could have stymied the Allies and cemented Hitler's waning power. Instead it saved those democracies - but with a fateful cost. Now, in a superbly told story, Jay Winik, the acclaimed author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval, captures the epic images and extraordinary history as never before.
1944 witnessed a series of titanic events: FDR at the pinnacle of his wartime leadership as well as his reelection, the planning of Operation Overlord with Churchill and Stalin, the unprecedented D-Day invasion, the liberation of Paris and the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and the tumultuous conferences that finally shaped the coming peace. But on the way, millions of more lives were still at stake as President Roosevelt was exposed to mounting evidence of the most grotesque crime in history, the Final Solution. Just as the Allies were landing in Normandy, the Nazis were accelerating the killing of millions of European Jews.
Winik shows how escalating pressures fell on an all but dying Roosevelt, whose rapidly deteriorating health was a closely guarded secret. Here then, as with D-Day, was a momentous decision for the president. Was winning the war the best way to rescue the Jews? Was a rescue even possible? Or would it get in the way of defeating Hitler? In a year when even the most audacious undertakings were within the world's reach, including the liberation of Europe, one challenge - saving Europe's Jews - seemed to remain beyond Roosevelt's grasp.
©2015 Jay Winik. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mission Possible People on 12-08-15

ISIS Is amateur

Not wishing to minimize the senseless atrocities perpetrated by ISIS, but they are amateurs compared to the Nazis. Winik, with unrestrained detail chronicles the years of moral depravity of the German and Nazi people toward all who did not fit their definition of correctness. What lessons can we learn from history in closing our response to the evils of genocide? The US has and is guilty. Winik, without specifically proclaiming it, would call a halt to isolation from our moral responsibility to the value of human life. Winik's seamless weaving of so many threads of our recent history into a cohesive, illuminated picture is revelatory. I am so much better informed than I was even having personally lived through the entire epoch. Born in 1930 I was too involved in personal naval gazing to ever perceiving of a personal responsibility to be involved in attempting to effect change--for which I repent. Read the book and ask what your response should be--you may be surprised.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 11-14-15


I believe that Jay Winik is attempting to claim that FDR failed the Jews or at least could have done more to save them from the Holocaust. Winik claims that FDR chose inaction time after time about stopping Hitler’s Final Solution. Winik thought that FDR could have rallied the country in his fire side chats and that he could have dealt with the anti-Semitism in his own cabinet. Winik does spend time discussing FDR’s health in 1944. Winik claims FDR missed his own “Emancipation Proclamation Moment” by not stopping the holocaust. Winik also provides a review of the history of World War II.

The story is interesting but in my opinion Winik has failed to make his case. I do agree the United States could have done more to save the Jews. We could have taken in more refugees, earlier but by 1944 it was too late. I think that FDR and Churchill decided that winning the War as fast as possible was the best approach and in 1944 they may have been correct. According to Winik the British government took the early claims about the concentration camp seriously whereas, he claims the U.S. government buried the reports.
Winik does discuss the “War Refugee Board” operated by the Treasury Department; it is credited with rescuing more than 200,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Winik uses the board’s success to show that FDR could have done more.

The book is well written and researched and Winik is a great storyteller. The book is an interesting read for those interested in the subject but it does not live up to its title. I picked up some great trivia information to add to my collection. Arthur Morey does a good job narrating the book. The book is fairly long at just over 21 hours.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By christiaan on 10-05-15

Good book

Interesting to listen to with some nice side story's. Focuses mainly on the (lack of) rescue efforts of the Jews.

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