War and Peace (FDR at War, #3)
To mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the stirring climax to Nigel Hamilton’s three-part saga of FDR at war—proof that he was WWII’s key strategist, even on his deathbed. “A first-class, lens-changing work.” —James N. Mattis, former United States 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 Using hitherto unpublished documents and interviews, Hamilton rewrites the famous account of World War II strategy given by Winston Churchill in his memoirs.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.

War and Peace (FDR at War, #3) Details

TitleWar and Peace (FDR at War, #3)
Author
ReleaseMay 7th, 2019
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139780544876804
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography, Nonfiction, War, World War II, North American Hi..., American History, Military Fiction

War and Peace (FDR at War, #3) Review

  • Socraticgadfly
    January 1, 1970
    Basically, up to Yalta, this was a 4-star book. The chapters about Yalta are about 3.25 stars. The post-Yalta stuff is 2 stars. If that. I may have been generous. (This is updated in light of some yet more recent WWII reading and a second wave of thought. If I come across yet more, the book overall loses another star.)Even though those portions of the book are shorter, I’m still averaging it down to a 3-star overall, as Hamilton gets more blatantly hagiographic of Roosevelt than in his second vo Basically, up to Yalta, this was a 4-star book. The chapters about Yalta are about 3.25 stars. The post-Yalta stuff is 2 stars. If that. I may have been generous. (This is updated in light of some yet more recent WWII reading and a second wave of thought. If I come across yet more, the book overall loses another star.)Even though those portions of the book are shorter, I’m still averaging it down to a 3-star overall, as Hamilton gets more blatantly hagiographic of Roosevelt than in his second volume. (I haven’t read the first one.)First, on the good stuff in the first 2/3-3/4 of the book?Hamilton rightly eviscerates Churchill’s attempted blocking of Overlord. He does this in context of Churchill’s senseless pinpricks in the eastern Mediterranean, while noting that more of the same plus Italy to the mythical Ljubljana Gap would have had almost as many casualties. He then puts this in context of Churchill at Gallipoli in WWI and Dieppe in WW11.He also shows how Churchill rushed Shingle into place with no beach trials, no real preparation (while not acknowledging that with both more prep and more daring, it could have worked).Also explains how Churchill’s insistence on Anzio helped delay Overlord by a month.And he — and rightly so — does all this more thoroughly and vigorously than the typical WWII history or even WWII military history.That said, while not over the top, his Churchill-bashing was a bit strained at times. Dieppe was not intended to be an invasion, and it was seen as being in part a learning experience. After all, no major contested amphibious operation had been attempted up to that time in the history of mechanized warfare. Before that, the British at both the Crimea and before that at New Orleans were not opposed at the time of landings.Even within its parameters, it was arguably more a failure than a success tactically.That then said, Hamilton also nowhere mentioned that Churchill pushed for Dieppe in part due to Uncle Joe pushing for a second front already then. Nor does he mention that some lessons were learned from Dieppe in time for Torch. (Not having Dieppe listed in the index when I was writing up this review didn't help my take on the book.)Beyond THAT, which Hamilton (I presume deliberately) doesn't tell the reader is that in the last few weeks before Dieppe was launched, German counterintelligence in France had rolled up British SOE agents and uncovered all the main points of the Dieppe plan.But, there was plenty of bad outside of this.First, he has NO look at FDR’s military options on Hungary after Nazi takeover and no asking why he didn’t. Briefly brings up Hungary again in the second half of the book, but still doesn't address these issues. Many military historians today believe that rail line bombing could have at least slowed the transport of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz and that it was even feasible, even without Russian help, to take a shot at bombing Auschwitz itself. BIG failure for Hamilton to not discuss this issue.Even people who give FDR a pass on pre-US entry into the war tightfistedness on Jewish refugees, but who are thoughtful historians, struggle with the Hungarian Jews issue.But Hamilton doesn’t “struggle” at all. Second, he repeats that FDR had polio even though this is being more and more questioned, with many forensic medical historians believing Guillain-Barré syndrome felled him instead.That’s why the pre-Yalta stuff is 4.25 star, no more.The Yalta chapters themselves aren’t horrendous. I’ve never thought we really “lost” a lot at Yalta. But, FDR could have tried to have been firmer. And, contra the UN, the spheres of influence that Churchill and Stalin had agreed to DID keep Greece non-communist.The biggest black mark is that Hamilton is already trying to whitewash Stalin here. And it gets worse in the post-Yalta chapters, to which I now head.First, 480ff claims, or seems to, that Hitler was behind Operation Sunrise. This is not true, nor is the claim that Hitler was behind Himmler’s late attempts to negotiate a separate piece. And, there simple IS NOT an “Operation Wool” that was a grand plan for this, despite his claim on 481. I have NO idea where this came from. I did a Google because I had NEVER heard of such a thing, and I’ve read Hastings, Kershaw and many other modern WWII historians.But, the ultimate goal of Hamilton’s inaccurate slant here seems to be what it had been at Yalta — throw Churchill further under the bus, wrongly as well as rightly, and then türd-polish Stalin, mostly wrongly.On 485, appears to blame Truman, of all things, for FDR not meeting with him privately to inform him more on serious issues, starting with the bomb. Hamilton knows FDR held one-on-ones with few people even when he was in good health. And, this totally tries to otherwise whitewash FDR. If his musings about resigning in just months were truly meant, then he should have truly sat down with Truman.I directly quote:"Why, then, in the circumstances, did he not summon Harry Truman, his chosen vice president, to come and discuss, in private, the challenges the former senator would soon enough have to face. This was something no biographer or historian would ever be able to comprehend ... "Yet in the subsequent four weeks before he left the capital he met with Truman only once, for ninety minutes, and that was in the company again of Speaker Rayburn [and others]. ... Truman had NOT [emphasis added) complained. Highly intelligent, a quick study and a bon viveur when it came to whiskey and cards, Truman had not thought to request a private meeting."Other than throwing Truman under the bus, this is a failure as an argument from silence. How do we KNOW Truman never requested a private meeting? There's no footnote here citing a Truman diary entry that says something like "Asked Pres. 3 days ago for private meeting. Still no response."There was one just plain weird thing, from FDR’s last State of the Union.Halifax wasn’t one-armed; he was missing his left hand, and the arm higher up was at least somewhat atrophied; also, calling him such out of the blue on 467 came off as irrelevant to the narrative and jarring.Had other parts of the book not been so well, the last 60 pages were enough I might have two-starred it. The book is simply marred at the end. As though Nigel Hamilton had hit his own medical wall or something.
    more
  • Stefanie Van Steelandt
    January 1, 1970
    War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey is the third and final installment in Nigel Hamilton’s FDR at War trilogy. It is a fitting and poignant end to a series which highlights FDR as Commander in Chief during WWII. Its main aim was to show how FDR was as much a military commander as a politician, and Nigel Hamilton certainly accomplished this.Unlike almost everyone else involved in WWII, President Roosevelt had not been able to write his own account of the war, and this is what Nigel Hamilton has be War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey is the third and final installment in Nigel Hamilton’s FDR at War trilogy. It is a fitting and poignant end to a series which highlights FDR as Commander in Chief during WWII. Its main aim was to show how FDR was as much a military commander as a politician, and Nigel Hamilton certainly accomplished this.Unlike almost everyone else involved in WWII, President Roosevelt had not been able to write his own account of the war, and this is what Nigel Hamilton has been trying to do for him. Undoubtedly Roosevelt would have written his own story, just as Churchill and many of his contemporaries had done, but in his efforts to lead the war to its conclusion, Roosevelt inadvertently became one of its final casualties. Roosevelt died on April 12th 1945, just days before the war in Europe was over. It is a consolation to know that he was aware the war would be over soon, predicting the dates with remarkable accuracy to Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King at the end of March 1945.War and Peace deals with the final two to three years of the President’s life, focusing on how he guided the Allies from the first attacks in North Africa, through D-Day and so to the conclusion of the war. A main point of focus is FDR‘s health, which steadily deteriorated from mid-1944 on. Having read many books on FDR over the years, it was never more apparent than from reading War and Peace how very aware Roosevelt was himself of his impending death. Hamilton does a great job telling FDR’s story by weaving together eyewitness accounts and diary entries of all the major players involved, from Mackenzie King, to Lord Moran and many of the president’s doctors and confidantes.When it comes to military matters, the story focuses on Roosevelt’s insistence on a Second Front, having to fight his own staff and Winston Churchill, who insisted on attacking Germany’s ‘soft underbelly,’ in the process. The book gives a good idea of the decisions which had to be made, and the process FDR went through to reach those while at the same time getting others in line behind him. Certain aspects about the war are more talked about than others, such as FDR’s decision to make General Eisenhower Supreme Commander and the final meeting of the Big Three at Yalta in February 1945, but in general no stone is left unturned. The book comprises about ninety short chapters, each dealing with a specific moment in time, and chronologically organized.At 500 pages the book is a wonderful and fast read, even though it has a tendency to fall into repetition at certain times. It is evident from the very beginning that Mr. Hamilton is no fan of Winston Churchill, and sometimes this gives the feeling that the book is a little one-sided. Churchill might not have been the best military strategist, but if one were to base one’s opinion of Churchill solely on this book, he would barely get a passing grade! However, as a history of Roosevelt’s military leadership during WWII, War and Peace does a superb job. Having read both The Mantle of Command and Commander in Chief, this was a fitting end and a real tribute to the courage and visionary leadership of President Roosevelt.
    more
  • JerryDeanHalleck
    January 1, 1970
    This is actually the best book of Hamilton's 3-book series on FDR in WW2. The first book was marred by hero-worship and the second was superficial and dull, but this one is well written and somewhat accurate, and quits bashing everyone who disagreed with FDR . Covering FDR's last days from the Tehran Conference to his death in April 1945, Hamilton details FDR's every step. And points for quoting from the Stimson, Leahy, and Mackenzie King diaries.And unlike most FDR historians, he goes into FDR' This is actually the best book of Hamilton's 3-book series on FDR in WW2. The first book was marred by hero-worship and the second was superficial and dull, but this one is well written and somewhat accurate, and quits bashing everyone who disagreed with FDR . Covering FDR's last days from the Tehran Conference to his death in April 1945, Hamilton details FDR's every step. And points for quoting from the Stimson, Leahy, and Mackenzie King diaries.And unlike most FDR historians, he goes into FDR's health problems and shows the man was too ill to be Commander-in-Chief during WW2. In fact, after his heart attack in March 1945, FDR was incapable of working more than 4 hours per day, or getting into the details, and needed long vacations from the White House to conserve his strength. Downside? We get the usual Hamilton sloppy errors and odd comments. For example, Hamilton asserts MacArthur never went on-board a US Navy ship from March 1942 to July 1944, which would have been news to both MacArthur and Admiral Kincaid.
    more
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    The third and final volume of Nigel Hamilton's masterpiece on Franklin Roosevelt. This final volume tells of the years of World War II until 1945, when the war ended. Roosevelt's leadership in the war years was crucial as well as his relationship with British prime minister Winston Churchill and Russian premier Joseph Stalin to work together to win the war. FDR was instrumental in planning the D Day invasion in France and appointed Dwight Eisenhower to command it. Unfortunately, FDR did not live The third and final volume of Nigel Hamilton's masterpiece on Franklin Roosevelt. This final volume tells of the years of World War II until 1945, when the war ended. Roosevelt's leadership in the war years was crucial as well as his relationship with British prime minister Winston Churchill and Russian premier Joseph Stalin to work together to win the war. FDR was instrumental in planning the D Day invasion in France and appointed Dwight Eisenhower to command it. Unfortunately, FDR did not live to see the outcome and the victory over Germany and Japan which ended World War II. On April 12, 1945, FDR died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his summer retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia.
    more
  • Gerry Connolly
    January 1, 1970
    The final volume War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey 1943-1945 of Nigel Hamilton’s trilogy debunks Churchill’s self serving six volume history of WWII. Hamilton convincingly makes the case for FDR as a brilliant and intuitive C of C from the beginning through the end of the conflict whereas Churchill was a disaster in strategy and tactics. His bumbling and interference in D-Day and his erroneous fixation on the Mediterranean and Balkans could have cost the Allies the war but certainly could have The final volume War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey 1943-1945 of Nigel Hamilton’s trilogy debunks Churchill’s self serving six volume history of WWII. Hamilton convincingly makes the case for FDR as a brilliant and intuitive C of C from the beginning through the end of the conflict whereas Churchill was a disaster in strategy and tactics. His bumbling and interference in D-Day and his erroneous fixation on the Mediterranean and Balkans could have cost the Allies the war but certainly could have dragged it out for years.
    more
  • jesse r lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Having not read the first 2 books in this historical trilogy, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, even though it describes FDR's decline in health toward the end of the war. FDR is my favorite president and I love the combination of biography and history - my two favorite subjects - that the author weaves. I will definitely read the first two books in this series now that I've read this one.
    more
Write a review