Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939–1941

Lynne Olson, Author
Lynne Olson. Random, $30 (576p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6974-3
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 03/26/2013
It’s hard to recall, but going to war used to take a long time. The protracted two-year battle over F.D.R.’s gradual, hard-fought, bitter, and often necessarily devious campaign to prepare the U.S. for war and overcome powerful isolationist sentiment is the subject of this snappy, comprehensive book. At its center are Charles Lindbergh, a tin-eared, pro-German, unappealing, obtuse naïf, and F.D.R., wily but hemmed in by political forces. Olson, author of numerous books on the WWII era (including Citizens of London), manages to keep her complex, character-filled story on keel as she describes the forces bearing down on F.D.R.’s administration while the world slipped into war. Familiar and unfamiliar figures—military and civilian, private and public—people the book, and delicious tales abound. Overall, the story is sobering, and it’s hard to understand now how the run-up to America’s greatest war was so fraught with political and cultural explosives. Olson tells the story unerringly, but the book—however lively—is largely descriptive and short on ideas, argument, and point of view. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Literary Agency. (Mar. 26)
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