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It has been nearly 70 years since the end of the World War II. In that time, thousands of books have been written on every facet of the war. Authors continue to find new stories to tell that explore new aspects of the war and its horrible toll. Bestseller lists continue to feature books - both fiction and nonfiction - that consider the war from a new perspective, showing that readers are endlessly fascinated by this six-year struggle against fascism.
Lynne Olson's Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour is the incredible story of three men who were key in developing and sustaining the alliance between Great Britain and the United States that defeated the Nazis. Edward R. Murrow, familiar to many Americans even now, reported from London during the dark days of the Blitz and helped American listeners understand the brutality inflicted on civilians by German bombers. Averell Harriman, known as a wealthy playboy before the war, was selected to oversee the Lend-Lease program which aimed to get needed supplies and equipment to the Allies prior to U.S. entry into the war. The real star of the book, though, is a man unknown to most Americans today. John Gilbert Winant, a former school teacher and Republican governor of New Hampshire who idolized Abraham Lincoln, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain by President Franklin Roosevelt at a time when Britain's ability to survive the Nazi onslaught was in serious doubt. Winant developed close personal relationships with key figures in the British government, including Winston Churchill, and a great sympathy with the people of the country that was crucial in creating the alliance that won the war.
Olson deftly weaves together an intricate story that connects the lives of these individuals with the larger forces and events going on around them. She doesn't overwhelm the reader with facts and figures, but instead focuses on the key information that helps the reader understand the context of events in the big picture.
This well-written book will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in history who enjoys an interesting story about people living in extraordinary circumstances with courage and resilience.