During World War II the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain cemented the alliance that won the war. But the ultimate victory of that partnership has obscured many of the conflicts behind Franklin Roosevelt’s grins and Winston Churchill’s victory signs, the clashes of principles and especially personalities between and within the two nations.
Synthesizing an impressive variety of sources from memoirs and letters to histories and biographies, Lewis Lehrman explains how the Anglo-American alliance worked--and occasionally did not work--by presenting portraits and case studies of the men who worked the back channels and back rooms, the secretaries and under secretaries, ambassadors and ministers, responsible for carrying out Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s agendas while also pursuing their own and thwarting others’. This was the domain of Joseph Kennedy, American ambassador to England often at odds with his boss; spymasters William Donovan and William Stephenson; Secretary of State Cordell Hull, whom FDR frequently bypassed in favor of Under Secretary Sumner Welles; British ambassadors Lord Lothian and Lord Halifax; and, above them all, Roosevelt and Churchill, who had the difficult task, not always well performed, of managing their subordinates and who frequently chose to conduct foreign policy directly between themselves. Scrupulous in its research and fair in its judgments, Lehrman’s book reveals the personal diplomacy at the core of the Anglo-American alliance.