The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War

Catherine Grace Katz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-358-11785-8
Historian Katz debuts with a vivid and revealing account of the backstage roles played by the daughters of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union W. Averell Harriman at the 1945 Yalta Peace Conference. Recently diagnosed with acute congestive heart failure, Roosevelt relied on his daughter, Anna, to help conceal his poor health from other attendees. Kathy Harriman learned Russian in order to serve as her father’s de facto protocol officer, Katz writes, and oversaw final preparations at the U.S. delegation’s residence. Actor Sarah Churchill had a “deep connection” with her father, according to Katz, and, despite tensions over her marriage to an older man, was the “ideal choice” to serve as his “all-around protector, supporter, and confidant.” Gleaning a treasure trove of details from memoirs, diaries, and letters, Katz documents poor sanitary conditions (too few bathrooms, too many bed bugs) at the ransacked summer palaces where the delegations stayed, analyzes diplomatic maneuverings, and shares plenty of spicy gossip, including Averell Harriman’s affair with Winston Churchill’s much younger daughter-in-law. This sparkling account offers a fresh take on a decisive moment in the history of WWII and the Cold War. Agent: Michael Carlisle, InkWell Management. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/25/2020
Release date: 09/29/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-358-11782-7
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