Roosevelt and Churchill: Men of Secrets

David Stafford, Author Overlook Press $35 (359p) ISBN 978-1-58567-068-0
Stafford (Churchill and Secret Service, etc.) wants nothing to do with the popular view of the great wartime partnership between Churchill and FDR. Not content with the sentimentalized portrait of a warm friendship based on shared pedigrees and world views offered in Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time, Stafford demonstrates that the alliance of these two cunning leaders was the product of need and hard bargaining, not sentiment. He further contendsDquite rightlyDthat the complex relationship between the two was mirrored by the actions of their intelligence operatives. Stafford writes: ""The most sensitive touchstone of trust between individuals, as well as nations, is how far they are prepared to share their secrets."" When Churchill learned that Hitler had called off his 1940 invasion of Britain, he kept the information from FDR and continued to implore the president to come to England's aid. Five years later, as the war wound to its close, Churchill criticized FDR's intelligence chief, William ""Wild Bill"" Donovan, for his successful efforts to thwart British plans to restore colonial outposts in Asia. As Stafford shows, similar intelligence clashes occurred throughout the war. Both FDR and Churchill kept much to themselves while at the same time building an often-productive joint intelligence infrastructure. In the end, Stafford's book goes a long way toward proving the truth of an old adage favored in spy circles: ""There are no friendly secret services; only the secret services of friendly powers."" Strong reviews and the continuing broad interest in WWII and FDR will produce respectable sales, which might be boosted by a major fall focus on FDR as the final volume of Kenneth S. Davis's monumental biography comes out in late November. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 9 pages - 978-1-57270-857-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57270-227-1
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-58567-249-3
Hardcover - 589 pages - 978-0-7838-9346-4
Show other formats
Discover what to read next