cover image The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

James B. Conroy. Simon & Schuster, $34 (432p) ISBN 978-1-982168-68-1

As lawyer-turned-historian Conroy (Jefferson’s White House) notes in this in-depth account of the January 1943 Casablanca Conference, by the time Allied leaders met in Morocco, it was more than two years since France had fallen and the British had barely escaped Dunkirk. Meanwhile, the U.S. had only arrived in the European theater two months earlier, when Gen. George Patton (“a cursing comic book warlord with a high-pitched voice”) landed his troops in North Africa. Seeking to hammer out a plan for victory, Churchill and Roosevelt brought their top lieutenants to Casablanca, including White House adviser Harry Hopkins, U.S. Army chief of staff George C. Marshall, and British generals Alan Brooke and Bernard Montgomery. In 10 days of rigorous planning, attendees plotted amphibious landings, discussed the merits of daytime versus nighttime bombing raids, and debated whether to launch or delay an Anglo-American invasion of northwest Europe; the British, mindful of the horrors of WWI, wanted the latter; Marshall and other Americans preferred the former. Conroy vividly describes daily conference sessions at the Anfa Hotel and draws sharp, memorable character sketches of the participants (“no one admired Charles de Gaulle more than Charles de Gaulle”). This gaze into the corridors of power enlightens. (June)