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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The machinations of the Grand Alliance, August 11, 2010
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This review is from: Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another (Hardcover)
Early in the book background information of each leader is given in order to allow the reader to understand the motivations of each person. All the key events are then discussed as well as how each of the leaders reacted in solving those issues while trying to influence and outmaneuver the other two in the triumvirate. It was quite a deceptive, manipulative history for all three participants and by the end of the war the Grand Alliance was faltering badly. Roosevelt had basically abandoned Churchill to throw his support to Stalin in order to achieve a world view of FDR and Stalin running the world. The author levies criticism to each person where deserved.

The book is laid out step by step chronologically beginning with Churchill's attempts to influence FDR's participation in the war, to dark days once again when toward the end of the war Churchill lost his influence with FDR and saw the victory of German defeat overshadowed by the hegemony of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Churchill knew Britain couldn't defeat Germany alone as well as keep the empire together so he courted the two major powers to come to his aid.
The American President, the ultimate and constant politician, who would give billions in aid to the Soviet dictator, overlook the horrible crimes the Russian did against humanity, ignore his advisors of the Russian dictator's duplicity and looked the other way as the dictator started devouring Eastern Europe in order to keep America out of the war as long as possible.
For both of these leaders they would forgo their moral values and the Atlantic Charter agreement of early 1942 to appease Stalin. Stalin who outplayed the others in this world class poker game needed huge quantities of supplies and even more urgently a second front and would work with these capitalists but wouldn't trust them. While never forgetting the differences in heritage as well as ideology between Stalin and the other two, the Soviet dictator was able to manipulate them to overlook his brutal deeds, break their moral codes and fulfill most of his wishes.
The manipulative Russian dictator who played friend and foe better than the others, would gain the admiration of his Allies. This is the person who had treaties with Hitler and sat back and watch France and Britain be defeated in 1940. This is the same person who annexed parts of Finland, Poland, Rumania and all of the Baltics and who executed thousands of Polish soldiers after Poland surrendered but was still sought out and even admired in some ways. Its also pointed out that the aristocratic heritage of Churchill and FDR as well as the anti-Communism ideologies of the two would be too much of a hurdle for Stalin to truly trust his partners. Its also shown that the belief of the two western partners could befriend and control Stalin as being totally naive, vain and delusional.

The rest of the book is packed with all the key events of the war dealing with these three leaders and the people surrounding them that were also influential in the leader's decisions. For example, Joseph Davies, the former Ambassador to Russia, was a very strong supporter of Stalin and Communism and as a close friend of many years with FDR had a huge impact on the president. Davies lied and distorted the truth, almost acting like an agent for Stalin, to get needed supplies flowing to the Soviet Union after the German invasion. Hopkins, a Pro Communist, is also a loyal supporter of the president and is pursued actively in the book. Brooks, Cripps, Eden, Halifax, Harriman, Elliot Roosevelt also play a part as a supporting cast. The major conferences either between the two or all three during the war also play heavily into this story.
There are many reasons why I liked this book. The author was fair and evenhanded with his criticism and praise of the big three. The narrative was wide ranging and comprehensive, covering the events and the relationships of the three and with their associates. The author was also good at bringing out the varied emotions and attitudes of the key players: desperation, fear, doubt, anger, confusion, suspicion, miscalculation and over confidence. The three leaders were so very different from each other, having their different needs and agendas and world views and Mr Fenby does a nice job of covering all the bases in showing the Grand Alliance was not only an ordeal for each but also how these three people shaped the post war world.

This is an ideal book to learn about the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of these important leaders as well as the impact their political decisions had on the war and on the world after the war. You will learn much of their personal lives as well as their political lives. Its an easy, engaging read that would satisfy most but it would also make a great foundation if further study is desired for the Bibliography is most impressive.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding History and Writing! World-Changing Decisions Told Through Great Storytelling, July 20, 2009
This review is from: Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another (Hardcover)
This is one of the most engrossing stories I have ever read on the history of World War II. The world we live in today was monumentally changed during the diplomacy of World War II. It's all here. The book shows how the seeds of the Cold War were planted during the uneasy alliance. Stalin repeatedly wanted a second front and then Roosevelt and Churchill kept having to delay it. The leaders squabbled and tried to woo each other. The decisions were epic. What makes this book so excellent is the outstanding writing. It reads like a great story. I have read several books on this subject and I give it the highest recommendation. The old world was destroyed and then build again anew. But what kind of world? Look at what it used to look like before and then after.

Franklin Roosevelt was manipulative and thought he could charm Stalin to get what he wanted, which was a world based on his Four Freedoms and freer markets. Read this book. Read the wording of the Atlantic Charter. Read the actual wording of the Yalta agreement. Churchill later said that if the Yalta agreement was such a bad deal for the West, then why did Stalin break it? Before the war, colonialism ruled much of the world. Churchill became a futile defender of the British Empire but came to realize that his power was waning as the war neared its end. Stalin was the most effective at getting his post-war goals because he had armies on the ground in Eastern Europe. During the war, USSR carried the brunt of the fighting, losing 17 million people in the war (to about 450,000 for US). USSR, in the short term, gained control of Eastern Europe but would falter later against the winds of freedom. In the end, Franklin Roosevelt's vision of the Four Freedoms and economic freedom would change the world. Churchill later said that if the Yalta agreement was such a bad deal for the West, then why did Stalin break it? Read A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights. The biggest loser was Hitler, who sought to expand German living space and rule the world for the Aryan race. He failed. Also read Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, outstanding at covering the diplomacy during World War Two, which the Economist Magazine called it "A masterpiece."
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War, vodka, Cigars and jokes, May 2, 2009
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Dalton C. Rocha (Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.) - See all my reviews
I read this good book, here in Brazil.This book, writen by Jonathan Fenby is centered talking about inside contacts, between Winston Churchill, American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt e Stalin.There's many space dedicated to banquets with many vodka, cigars and jokes, but this book doesn't forgets his real work.
I didn't found many new things, but the history is well told.
One example is when this book talks about the japanese attack to Pearl Harbor, on 7th december 1941.This book tells that Churchill went to sleep very well and also very happy, Stalin (ever with paranoia) thought about a plot to lent he into another front and the ever abstemious Hitler took a cup of champagne.
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Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another
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