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By Lizzie Collingham. 2011
A New York Times Notable Book of 2012 Food, and in particular the lack of it, was central to the… experience of World War II. In this richly detailed and engaging history, Lizzie Collingham establishes how control of food and its production is crucial to total war. How were the imperial ambitions of Germany and Japan - ambitions which sowed the seeds of war - informed by a desire for self-sufficiency in food production? How was the outcome of the war affected by the decisions that the Allies and the Axis took over how to feed their troops? And how did the distinctive ideologies of the different combatant countries determine their attitudes towards those they had to feed? Tracing the interaction between food and strategy, on both the military and home fronts, this gripping, original account demonstrates how the issue of access to food was a driving force within Nazi policy and contributed to the decision to murder hundreds of thousands of 'useless eaters' in Europe. Focusing on both the winners and losers in the battle for food, The Taste of War brings to light the striking fact that war-related hunger and famine was not only caused by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, but was also the result of Allied mismanagement and neglect, particularly in India, Africa and China. American dominance both during and after the war was not only a result of the United States' immense industrial production but also of its abundance of food. This book traces the establishment of a global pattern of food production and distribution and shows how the war subsequently promoted the pervasive influence of American food habits and tastes in the post-war world. A work of great scope, The Taste of War connects the broad sweep of history to its intimate impact upon the lives of individuals. .
By Michael Good. 2006
When The Search for Major Plagge was published last spring the world finally learned about a unique hero … and about one American doctor s extraordinary journey to tell Karl Plagge s story Part detective story part personal quest Michael Good s book is the story of the German commander of a Lithuanian work camp who saved hundreds of Jewish lives in the Vilna ghetto including the life of Good s mother Pearl Who was this enigmatic officer Pearl Good had spoken of so often After five years of research interviewing survivors assembling a team that could work to open German files untouched for fifty years following every lead he could Good was able to uncover the amazing tale of one man s remarkable courage And in April 2005 Karl Plagge joined Oskar Schindler and 380 other Germans as a Righteous among Nations honored by the State of Israel for protecting and saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust This expanded edition features new photographs and a new epilogue on the impact of the discovery of Karl Plagge especially the story of 83-year-old Alfons von Deschwanden who after fifty years of silence came forward as a veteran of Plagge s unit His testimony is now part of this growing witness to truth
Under the code name Operation Reinhard more than one and a half million Jews were murdered between 1942 and… 1943 in the concentration camps of Belzec Sobibor and Treblinka located in Nazi-occupied Poland Unlike more well-known camps which were used both for slave labor and extermination these camps existed purely to murder Jews Few victims survived to tell their stories and the camps were largely forgotten after they were dismantled in 1943 The Operation Reinhard Death Camps bears eloquent witness to this horrific tragedy This newly revised and expanded edition includes new material on the history of the Jews under German occupation in Poland the execution and timing of Operation Reinhard information about the ghettos in Lublin Warsaw Krakow Radom and Galicia and updated numbers of the victims who were murdered during deportations In addition to documenting the horror of the camps Yitzhak Arad recounts the stories of those courageous enough to struggle against the Nazis and their Final Solution Arad s work retrieves the experiences of Operation Reinhard s victims and survivors from obscurity and exposes a terrible chapter in humanity s history
By Alexander Prusin. 2017
The 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia initially left the German occupiers with a pacified Serbian heartland willing to cooperate in… return for relatively mild treatment. Soon, however, the outbreak of resistance shattered Serbia's seeming tranquility, turning the country into a battlefield and an area of bitter civil war. Deftly merging political and social history, Serbia under the Swastika looks at the interactions between Germany's occupation policies, the various forces of resistance and collaboration, and the civilian population. Alexander Prusin reveals a German occupying force at war with itself. Pragmatists intent on maintaining a sedate Serbia increasingly gave way to Nazified agencies obsessed with implementing the expansionist racial vision of the Third Reich. As Prusin shows, the increasing reliance on terror catalyzed conflict between the nationalist Chetniks, communist Partisans, and the collaborationist government. Prusin unwraps the winding system of expediency that at times led the factions to support one-another against the Germans--even as they fought a ferocious internecine civil war to determine the future of Yugoslavia.
From the acclaimed author of Citizens of London comes the definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World… War II--a bitter sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America President Franklin D Roosevelt who championed the interventionist cause and aviator Charles Lindbergh who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America s isolationists emerged as the president s most formidable adversary Their contest of wills personified the divisions within the country at large and Lynne Olson makes masterly use of their dramatic personal stories to create a poignant and riveting narrative While FDR buffeted by political pressures on all sides struggled to marshal public support for aid to Winston Churchill s Britain Lindbergh saw his heroic reputation besmirched--and his marriage thrown into turmoil--by allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer Spanning the years 1939 to 1941 Those Angry Days vividly re-creates the rancorous internal squabbles that gripped the United States in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor After Germany vanquished most of Europe America found itself torn between its traditional isolationism and the urgent need to come to the aid of Britain the only country still battling Hitler The conflict over intervention was as FDR noted a dirty fight rife with chicanery and intrigue and Those Angry Days recounts every bruising detail In Washington a group of high-ranking military officers including the Air Force chief of staff worked to sabotage FDR s pro-British policies Roosevelt meanwhile authorized FBI wiretaps of Lindbergh and other opponents of intervention At the same time a covert British operation approved by the president spied on antiwar groups dug up dirt on congressional isolationists and planted propaganda in U S newspapers The stakes could not have been higher The combatants were larger than life With the immediacy of a great novel Those Angry Days brilliantly recalls a time fraught with danger when the future of democracy and America s role in the world hung in the balance Advance praise for Those Angry Days With this stirring book Lynne Olson confirms her status as our era s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy Those Angry Days tells the extraordinary tale of America s internal debate about whether and how to stop Hitler Filled with fascinating anecdotes and surprising twists the text raises moral and practical questions that we still struggle with today Compelling for students of history and casual readers alike --Madeleine K Albright former U S Secretary of State Lynne Olson has done it again Those Angry Days is a riveting account of the political tensions and cast of historic figures engaged in an epic battle over the role of the United States in the early years of World War II It s all here FDR Lindbergh Churchill Hitler war in Europe and the Pacific The stakes could not have been higher and the outcome was never certain Modern leaders and citizens alike can learn so much from Those Angry Days --Tom Brokaw author of The Greatest Generation
The dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II where… thousands of families--many US citizens--were incarcerated From 1942 to 1948 trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City Texas a small desert town at the southern tip of Texas The trains carried Japanese German Italian immigrants and their American-born children The only family internment camp during World War II Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called quiet passage During the course of the war hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City including their American-born children were exchanged for other more important Americans--diplomats businessmen soldiers physicians and missionaries--behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany Focusing her story on two American-born teenage girls who were interned author Jan Jarboe Russell uncovers the details of their years spent in the camp the struggles of their fathers their families subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards daily roll call and censored mail have never been told Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America the secrets of FDR s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war
By Craig Nelson. 2016
Published in time for the 75th anniversary a gripping and definitive account of the event that changed twentieth-century America--Pearl… Harbor--based on years of research and new information uncovered by a New York Times bestselling author The America we live in today was born not on July 4 1776 but on December 7 1941 when an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers destroyers and midget submarines suddenly and savagely attacked the United States killing 2 403 men--and forced America s entry into World War II Pearl Harbor From Infamy to Greatness follows moment by moment the sailors soldiers pilots diplomats admirals generals emperor and president as they engineer fight and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history Beginning in 1914 bestselling author Craig Nelson maps the road to war beginning with Franklin D Roosevelt then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and not yet afflicted with polio attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Writing with vivid intimacy Nelson traces Japan s leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism which culminates in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged Within seconds the country would never be the same In addition to learning the little understood history of how and why Japan attacked Hawaii we hear an abandoned record player endlessly repeating Sunrise Serenade as bombs shatter the decks of the California we feel cold terror as lanky young American sailors must anxiously choose between staying aboard their sinking ships or diving overboard into harbor waters aflame with burning ship fuel we watch as Navy wives tearfully hide with their children in caves from a rumored invasion and we understand the frustration and triumph of a lone American teenager as he shoots down a Japanese bomber even as the attack destroys hundreds of US airplanes and dozens of ships Backed by a research team s five years of work which produced nearly a million pages of documents as well as Nelson s thorough re-examination of the original evidence assembled by federal investigators this page-turning and definitive work provides a thrilling blow-by-blow account from both the Japanese and American perspectives and is historical drama on the grandest scale Nelson delivers all the terror chaos violence tragedy and heroism of the attack in stunning detail and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy s unforeseen and resonant consequences that linger even today
By Norman Davies, Lilka Trzcinska-Croydon. 2004
Lilka Trzcinska was fourteen years old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 The daughter of an architect … Lilka was a high school student at the time When schools were closed by the occupier she along with her siblings continued their education in secret classes and joined the Polish Home Army the secret resistance force Lilka and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and sent to the political prison Pawiak then to Auschwitz There Lilka s mother died and her younger sister was sent off to another camp The rest of the family was put to work in the camp building offices After being transported to a number of different camps the three sisters were reunited in 1945 and shortly thereafter liberated by the British Lilka later went to Italy to continue her education moving to Canada in 1948 The Labyrinth of Dangerous Hours is the memoir of a survivor Lilka Trzcinska-Croydon narrates her adolescence and that of her sisters and brother in a way that binds poetry and history together seamlessly It describes the strength of the family ties and solidarity that helped them emerge from their horrific ordeal with their dignity intact As many as 150 000 Polish political prisoners were taken during the war half of whom died in the camps This memoir is a testament to their struggle
By Aidan MacCarthy, Pete McCarthy. 2006
As an RAF medical officer Aidan MacCarthy served in France survived Dunkirk and was interned by the… Japanese in Java where his ingenuity helped his fellow prisoners through awful conditions While en route to Japan in 1944 his ship was torpedoed sending him into the Pacific Miraculously MacCarthy was rescued by a whaling boat only to be re-interned in Japan Ironically it was the dropping of the atomic bomb at Nagasaki that saved his life though it also meant being an eyewitness to the horror and devastation it caused Long out of print this remarkable war memoir was rediscovered during a journey through Ireland by Pete McCarthy author of McCarthy s Bar who describes it as jaw-dropping
By Radomir Luza. 2004
This gripping autobiography is at once a heart-pounding adventure story a moving recollection of a larger-than-life father and… an important account of the Czech resistance Radomir Luza s father was a revered army general when the Nazis stormed into Czechoslovakia After his father went underground to avoid arrest and torture the nineteen-year-old Radomir spent weeks in a Gestapo prison Upon his release he joined his father in hiding General Luza became the military commander of the Czech resistance while Radomir secretly helped organize the country s largest resistance network Luza s narrative makes palpable the terror of being constantly hunted and nearly snared by betrayals and Gestapo raids The Hitler Kiss is a portrait of courage tenderness optimism and sheer survival
By Elizabeth Campbell Karlsgodt. 2011
Defending National Treasuresexplores the fate of art and cultural heritage during the Nazi occupation of France The French… cultural patrimony was a crucial locus of power struggles between German and French leaders and among influential figures in each country Karlsgodt examines the preservation policy that the Vichy regime enacted in an assertion of sovereignty over French art museums historic monuments and archeological sites The limits to this sovereignty are apparent from German appropriations of public statues Jewish-owned art collections and key Germanic works of art from French museums A final chapter traces the lasting impact of the French wartime reforms on preservation policy InDefending National Treasures Karlsgodt introduces the concept ofpatrimaniato reveal examples of opportunism in art preservation During the war French officials sought to acquire coveted artwork from Jewish collections for the Louvre and other museums in the early postwar years they established a complicated guardianship over unclaimed art recovered from Germany A cautionary tale for our own times Defending National Treasuresexamines the ethical dimensions of museum acquisitions in the ongoing noble quest to preserve great works of art
By John Stoessinger. 2014
A true and touching human tale of survival and achievement.When John Stoessinger was ten years old, Adolf Hitler annexed his… homeland of Austria, ripping the boy from his home and his friends in Vienna. His grandparents encouraged his mother and stepfather to take young John somewhere safe. "You must have a future,” his grandfather told him before he and his parents boarded the train and waved goodbye.As they trekked across the country, from Vienna to Prague and then finally settling in Shanghai, there was never a single moment Stoessinger was not afraid-he lived in constant fear that he and his family would be found and killed. However, even in Hitler-ruled Nazi Germany, there were plenty of people who refused to cower to absolute evil and who did everything they could to usher families like Stoessinger’s to freedom.In From Holocaust to Harvard, Stoessinger recalls heartbreaking moments from his childhood and of living a life of secrets in Shanghai. He then presents the second part of his story-the part where he attempts to untangle himself from his previous life and devastating memories and is able to relocate to America, earn a graduate-level degree from a prestigious university, and later become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations despite making a decision that nearly lands him in prison and threatens his hard-earned freedom.Throughout his story, Stoessinger expresses his gratitude to those who helped him through the toughest parts of this life and put him on a path that led him to a Harvard education, a successful career, and inner peace.Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
The fires on Bataan burned on the evening of April 9, 1942--illuminating the white flags of surrender against the nighttime… sky. Woefully outnumbered, outgunned, and ill-equipped, battered remnants of the American-Philippine army surrendered to the forces of the Rising Sun. Yet amongst the chaos and devastation of the American defeat, US Army Captain Donald D. Blackburn refused to lay down his arms. With future Army Special Forces legend Russell Volckmann, Blackburn escaped from Bataan and fled to the mountainous jungles of North Luzon, where they raised a private army of more than 22,000 men against the Japanese. Once there, Blackburn organized a guerrilla regiment from among the native tribes in the Cagayan Valley. "Blackburn's Headhunters," as they came to be known, devastated the Japanese 14th Army within the western provinces of North Luzon and destroyed the Japanese naval base at Aparri--the largest enemy anchorage in the Philippines. After the war, Blackburn remained on active duty and played a key role in initiating Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia. In 1958, as commander of the 77th Special Forces Group, he spearheaded Operation White Star in Laos--the first major deployment of Army Special Forces to a country with an active insurgency. Seven years later, Blackburn took command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG), charged with performing secret missions now that main-force Communist incursions were on the rise. In the wake of the CIA's disastrous Leaping Lena program, in 1964 Blackburn revitalized the Special Operations campaign in South Vietnam. Sending cross-border reconnaissance teams into Cambodia and North Vietnam, he discovered the clandestine networks and supply nodes of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. Taking this information directly to General Westmoreland, Blackburn received authorization to conduct full-scale operations against the NVA and Viet Cong operating in Laos and Cambodia. In combats large and small, the Communists realized they had met a master of insurgent tactics--and he was on the US side. Following his return to the United States, Blackburn was appointed "Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities," where he was the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid. Officially termed Operation Ivory Coast, the Son Tay raid was the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission--and indeed, the largest Army Special Forces operation--of the Vietnam War. During a period when United States troops in Southeast Asia faced guerrilla armies on every side, it has been little recognized today that America had a superb covert commander of its own, his guerrilla skills honed in resistance against Japan. This book follows Donald D. Blackburn through both his youthful days of desperate combat against an Empire, and through his days as a commander, imparting his lessons to the newly realized ranks of America's own Army Special Forces.
By Karen Bartlett. 2018
A sobering story of an industrial family’s cold efficiency behind the design of the ovens at AuschwitzArchitects of Death tells… the astonishing story of how the gas chambers and crematoria that facilitated the murder and incineration of more than one million people in the Holocaust were designed not by the Nazi SS, but by a small respectable family firm of German engineers. Topf and Sons designed and built the crematoria at the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Belzec, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Gusen. At its height, 66 Topf triple muffle ovens were in operation—46 of which were at Auschwitz. These were not Nazi sadists, but men who were playboys and the sons of train conductors. They were driven not by ideology, but by love affairs, personal ambition, and bitter personal rivalries. Even while their firm created the ultimate human killing and disposal machines, their company sheltered Nazi enemies from the death camps. The intense conflagration of their very ordinary motives created work that surpassed in inhumanity even the demands of the SS. But the company that achieved this spectacularly evil feat of engineering typify the banality of evil. In the 1930s their family firm produced apparatus for all sorts of industries—baking, brewing, the firing of ceramics. Ovens for crematoria accounted for only a small proportion of their business, but it is for these that the Topf brothers became infamous. Their name can still be seen stamped on the iron furnaces of Auschwitz.
By Dennis M. Spragg. 2017
On December 15, 1944, Maj. Alton Glenn Miller, commanding officer of the Army Air Force Band (Special), boarded a plane… in England bound for France with Lt. Col. Norman Francis Baessell. Somewhere over the English Channel the plane vanished. No trace of the aircraft or its occupants has ever been found. To this day Miller, Baessell, and the pilot, John Robert Stuart Morgan, are classified as missing in action. Weaving together cultural and military history, Glenn Miller Declassified tells the story of the musical legend Miller and his military career as commanding officer of the Army Air Force Band during World War II. After a brief assignment to the Army Specialist Corps, Miller was assigned to the Army Air Forces Training Command and soon thereafter to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, in the UK. Later that year Miller and his band were to be transferred to Paris to expand the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme, but Miller never made it. Miller’s disappearance resulted in numerous conspiracy theories, especially since much of the information surrounding his military service had been classified, restricted, or, in some cases, lost. Dennis M. Spragg has gained unprecedented access to the Miller family archives as well as military and government documents to lay such theories to rest and to demonstrate the lasting legacy and importance of Miller’s life, career, and service to his country.
By U.S. War Department, Jeffrey Ethell, David Isbey. 1991
In 1944 the U S Army published this manual for its officers in the Pacific Theater an expanded version… of the original 1942 manual of the same name--and ever since it has been the best single reference source on the wartime Japanese military available in the English language By 1944 the army had had time to assess its enemy closely and was coming to understand him and its vast knowledge was distilled into the handbook The handbook details the Japanese military system field organization tactics and weapons and equipment and the strengths and weaknesses that resulted from them Extensively illustrated it contains sections on the Japanese special forces the military police uniforms and insignia and conventional signs and abbreviations It covers besides the army the Japanese Air Service with emphasis on its tactics and organization Issued to officers for briefings and periodically updated the handbook s purpose was to assist in the winning of the war and thus it strove to be absolutely reliable for its users in combat It was compiled by a team of officers who integrated the research of others and it contains information provided by the U S Marines and also by British and Australian intelligence Packed with information it is a major primary source that military historians and World War II buffs will find fascinating
By Lawrence N. Powell. 2000
This powerful work tells the story of Anne Skorecki Levy the Holocaust survivor who transformed the horrors of her… childhood into a passionate mission to defeat the political menace of reputed neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke The first book to connect the prewar and wartime experiences of Jewish survivors to the lives they subsequently made for themselves in the United States Troubled Memoryis also a dramatic testament to how the experiences of survivors as new Americans spurred their willingness to bear witness Perhaps the only family to survive the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto as a group the Skoreckis evaded deportation to Treblinka by posing as Aryans and ultimately made their way to New Orleans where they became part of a vibrant Jewish community Lawrence Powell traces the family s dramatic odyssey and explores the events that eventually triggered Anne Skorecki Levy s brave decision to honor the suffering of the past by confronting the recurring specter of racist hatred Breaking decades of silence she played a direct role in the unmasking and defeat of Duke during his 1991 campaign for the governorship of Louisiana Brilliant Even readers who are knowledgeable about the Holocaust should be warned Troubled Memory has the power to sting --American Jewish History Powell tells this tale with wonderful narrative grace and moral force He deftly explores ethical compromises and nuances --Time A powerful harrowing account Troubled Memory reads like a gripping novel of family survival against impossible odds --New Orleans Times-Picayune A fine piece of historical scholarship Troubled Memory is also an inspiring story about standing up against evil --Journal of American History Combines the sweep of history with the intimacy of memoir --Chicago Tribune An important and riveting book --ChoiceThis compelling work tells the story of Anne Skorecki Levy a Holocaust survivor who transformed the horrors of her childhood into a passionate mission to defeat the political menace of reputed neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke Through Levy s tale Lawrence Powell connects the prewar and wartime experiences of Jewish survivors to the lives they built in the United States and shows how their experiences as new Americans spurred their willingness to bear witness --
In the aftermath of World War II historical accounts and public commentaries enshrined the French Resistance as an apolitical… unified movement committed to upholding human rights equality and republican values during the dark period of German occupation Valerie Deacon complicates that conventional view by uncovering extreme-right participants in the Resistance specifically those who engaged in conspiratorial anti-republican and quasi-fascist activities in the 1930s but later devoted themselves to freeing the country from Nazi control The political campaigns of the 1930s against communism republicanism freemasonry and the government taught France s ultra-right-wing groups to organize underground movements When France fell to the Germans in 1940 many activists unabashedly cited previous participation in groups of the extreme right as their motive for joining the Resistance Deacon s analysis of extreme-right participation in the Resistance supports the view that the domestic situation in Nazi-controlled France was more complex than had previously been suggested Extending beyond past narratives Deacon details how rightist resisters navigated between different options in the changing political context In the process she refutes the established view of the Resistance as apolitical united and Gaullist The Extreme Right in the French Resistance highlights the complexities of the French Resistance what it meant to be a resister and how the experiences of the extreme right proved incompatible with the postwar resistance narrative
A remarkable look at day-to-day life of the codebreakers whose clandestine efforts helped win World War II Bletchley Park looked… like any other sprawling country estate. In reality, however, it was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School—and the site where Germany’s legendary Enigma code was finally cracked. There, the nation’s most brilliant mathematical minds—including Alan Turing, whose discoveries at Bletchley would fuel the birth of modern computing—toiled alongside debutantes, factory workers, and students on projects of international importance. Until now, little has been revealed about ordinary life at this extraordinary facility. Drawing on remarkable first-hand interviews, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers reveals the entertainments, pastimes, and furtive romances that helped ease the incredible pressures faced by these covert operatives as they worked to turn the tide of World War II. .
By Michael Fullilove. 2013
The remarkable untold story of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the five extraordinary men he used to pull America into World… War II In the dark days between Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 and Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt sent five remarkable men on dramatic and dangerous missions to Europe. The missions were highly unorthodox and they confounded and infuriated diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic. Their importance is little understood to this day. In fact, they were crucial to the course of the Second World War. The envoys were magnificent, unforgettable characters. First off the mark was Sumner Welles, the chilly, patrician under secretary of state, later ruined by his sexual misdemeanors, who was dispatched by FDR on a tour of European capitals in the spring of 1940. In summer of that year, after the fall of France, William Wild Bill” Donovanwar hero and future spymastervisited a lonely United Kingdom at the president’s behest to determine whether she could hold out against the Nazis. Donovan’s report helped convince FDR that Britain was worth backing. After he won an unprecedented third term in November 1940, Roosevelt threw a lifeline to the United Kingdom in the form of Lend-Lease and dispatched three men to help secure it. Harry Hopkins, the frail social worker and presidential confidant, was sent to explain Lend-Lease to Winston Churchill. Averell Harriman, a handsome, ambitious railroad heir, served as FDR’s man in London, expediting Lend-Lease aid and romancing Churchill’s daughter-in-law. Roosevelt even put to work his rumpled, charismatic opponent in the 1940 presidential election, Wendell Willkie, whose visit lifted British morale and won wary Americans over to the cause. Finally, in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Hopkins returned to London to confer with Churchill and traveled to Moscow to meet with Joseph Stalin. This final mission gave Roosevelt the confidence to bet on the Soviet Union. The envoys’ missions took them into the middle of the war and exposed them to the leading figures of the age. Taken together, they plot the arc of America’s trans¬formation from a divided and hesitant middle power into the global leader. At the center of everything, of course, was FDR himself, who moved his envoys around the globe with skill and élan. We often think of Harry S. Truman, George Marshall, Dean Acheson, and George F. Kennan as the authors of America’s global primacy in the second half of the twentieth century. But all their achievements were enabled by the earlier work of Roosevelt and his representatives, who took the United States into the war and, by defeating domestic isolationists and foreign enemies, into the world. In these two years, America turned. FDR and his envoys were responsible for the turn. Drawing on vast archival research, Rendezvous with Destiny is narrative history at its most delightful, stirring, and important. .