cover image Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership

Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership

Susan Butler. Knopf, $35 (608p) ISBN 978-0-307-59485-3

Butler, editor of My Dear Mr. Stalin, a collection of correspondences between F.D.R. and Stalin, focuses on the complex negotiations that F.D.R. orchestrated in order to create a version of Woodrow Wilson’s failed League of Nations, in this illuminating and exhaustive book. F.D.R. had been developing a proposal for the United Nations as early as 1939, but in order to succeed where Wilson failed, he understood that he needed the cooperation of the world’s other rising power: Russia. Earning Stalin’s trust required F.D.R. to carefully manage the wartime alliance among America, the U.S.S.R., and Great Britain, a three-way relationship rife with tension and distrust thanks to the antipathy between Churchill and Stalin. What’s most surprising in Butler’s narrative is the warmth that blossomed between Stalin and Roosevelt: a partnership born out of strategic necessity, which transformed into a mutual respect instrumental in winning the war and establishing the United Nations. Despite unnecessary minutiae, Butler effectively demonstrates that there was no greater mediator and champion of peace than Roosevelt, whose sudden death in the final months WWII robbed the world of perhaps the man who could have averted the Cold War. [em](Mar.) [/em]