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The New Dealers' War: FDR and the War Within World War II

Thomas Fleming

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Prose: non-fiction, History

Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming brings to life a flawed and troubled FDR struggling to manage World War II. Starting with the leak to the press of Roosevelt's famous Rainbow Plan, then spiralling back to FDR's inept pre-war diplomacy with Japan and his various attempts to lure Japan into an attack on the U.S. Fleet in the Pacific, Fleming takes the reader on a journey through the incredibly fractious struggles and debates that went on in Washington, the nation, and the world as the New Dealers strove to impose their will on the conduct of the War. In bold contrast to the familiar, idealized FDR of other biographies, Fleming's Roosevelt is a man in remorseless decline, battered by ideological forces and primitive hatreds that he could not handle and frequently failed to understand some of them leading to unimaginable catastrophe. Among FDR's most dismaying policies, Fleming argues, is his insistence on "unconditional surrender" for Germany (a policy that perhaps prolonged the war by as much as two years, leaving millions more dead) and his often-uncritical embrace of and acquiescence to Stalin and the Soviets as an ally. The New Dealers' War is one of those rare books that force readers to rethink what they think they know about a pivotal event in the American past.

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