Author: Nigel Hamilton
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
June 7, 2016
(Courtesy of the Biography Institute website)
Although many biographies have been written about Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), they have largely ignored or dismissed his command of all U.S. Armed Forces throughout the global conflict we call the Second World War.
Since the role of Commander in Chief in peace and war is one of the essential tasks of a U.S. President – mandated by its Constitution – and since that role has been exercised with both success and failure over the past seventy years of American global hegemony since his death, this dearth is a surprising gap in our biographical understanding and knowledge. Was America’s military victory in World War II only attributable to its generals and admirals – men like Marshall, MacArthur, Leahy, Arnold, King, Nimitz, Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley? Was Churchill really the architect and strategic mastermind behind the Allied winning of the war – as Churchill painted his own performance in his great six-volume memoir, The Second World War, which helped win him the Nobel Prize for Literature after the war?
Clearly, the death of Franklin Roosevelt from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, several weeks before the fall of Adolf Hitler, was a calamity for his biography as the dominant military leader of the western Allies, for the President had fully intended to write his war memoirs, and had already begun assembling the materials. He had, after all, rallied his country after defeat at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and had been the ultimate figure responsible for turning that misfortune into military victory – victory that then permitted the United States to become the world’s foremost postwar superpower, for good and ill.
This biography seeks to re-examine and more deeply research the character, modus operandi, decisions, relationships and true role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt – who often called himself an ‘obstinate old Dutchman’ – as U.S. Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States in World War II.
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