The Sphinx

The Sphinx

Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II

Book - 2015
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May 1938. Franklin Delano Roosevelt--recently reelected to a second term as president--contemplated two possibilities: the rule of fascism overseas, and a third term. With Hitler's reach extending into Austria, and with the atrocities of World War I still fresh in the American memory, Roosevelt faced the question that would prove one of the most defining in American history: whether to once again go to war in Europe. In this book, journalist Nicholas Wapshott recounts how an ambitious and resilient Roosevelt--nicknamed "the Sphinx" for his cunning, cryptic rapport with the press--devised and doggedly pursued a strategy to sway the American people to abandon isolationism and take up the mantle of the world's most powerful nation. Chief among Roosevelt's antagonists was his friend, stock market magnate Joseph P. Kennedy. Kennedy's interests aligned him with a war-weary American public, and he counted among his allies no less than Walt Disney, William Randolph Hearst, and Henry Ford--prominent businessmen who believed America had no business in conflicts across the Atlantic. The ensuing battle--waged with fiery rhetoric, agile diplomacy, media sabotage, and petty political antics--would land US troops in Europe within three years, secure Roosevelt's legacy, and set a standard for American military strategy for years to come.--From publisher description.
Before Pearl Harbor, before the Nazi invasion of Poland, America teetered between the desire for isolation and the threat of world war.
Publisher: New York, NY :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393088885
Call Number: 940.5311 W194s
Characteristics: xvi, 446 pages ; 25 cm


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Dec 26, 2014

This is a superb read, accurately portraying both Roosevelt's deftness in the political arena, and those forces arrayed against him. Much criticism has been cast upon FDR's tenure in the White House, yet he was battling awesome forces, only able to put in place a fraction of what he wanted to comprise the New Deal. And yes, McCloy and Earl Warren's Great Japanese Land Grab [interning Japanese Americans so their rich agricultural lands could be taken] was abominable, and Roosevelt, unlike his wife, should have railed against it. [If you've yet to read Sally Denton's outstanding book, The Plots Against the President, read it after this!]

Dec 26, 2014

Fascinating read about the behind the scenes of the US involvement in the WWII.


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