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No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War Hardcover – April 8, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Michael Beschloss, New York Times Book Review
“[A] judicious, detailed and soundly researched history.... Kaiser has brought us a careful, nuanced, credible account of the events and complex issues surrounding America’s entry into World War II, which, however historical fashions change, is likely to wear well over the years.”

Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Kaiser…offers a tightly focused examination of Roosevelt’s foreign policy from the defeat of France in May 1940 to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941…Most will value Mr. Kaiser's clearly written narrative, which focuses on the improvisational planning of the president and the men around him.”

Washington Post
“Others have written about this period, but few with his precision and insight… His thoroughly researched and well-informed narrative of what happened on the road to war makes the book fully worth the cover price.”

Charleston Post & Courier
“Engaging and excellent.”

Choice
“Offering a fresh interpretation of a frequently treated topic…Because of such thorough research presented in lucid, straightforward prose, Kaiser’s first-rate account offers material that even specialists in the field might find surprising and provocative.”

Indiana News-Sentinel
“This is a fascinating read, and if you are a lover of history, you'll have a wonderful time.”

Military History Quarterly
“An extraordinary book.... For those interested in American strategy during the run-up to World War II, this is a must read.”

Battles and Book Reviews
“An interesting and compelling account of the events in America during the 18 months prior to American entry into WWII.... I highly recommend this book to anybody interested in World War II, but especially to people who think they are familiar with America’s role in that war. An outstanding book.”

Kirkus
“Kaiser’s research is both comprehensive and illuminating....An admiring, richly textured portrait of a leader confronting the unthinkable.”

Williamson Murray, author of A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War
"David Kaiser has written an outstanding book on Franklin Roosevelt's strategic course in the dark days, from the late 1930s to America's entrance into the Second World War. Among its many strong points is a revealing and persuasive reconsideration of Roosevelt's strategic thinking during this period. Above all Kaiser's portrait underlines that without the president's wisdom and political sagacity, the Germans might well have won the war. This is a book that anyone with an interest in that terrible conflict must read."

Jeremi Suri, author of Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama
“Franklin Roosevelt remains the most important and puzzling American war leader of the last century. David Kaiser's fascinating book offers powerful and relevant insights into how Roosevelt transformed an isolationist country with an ill-prepared military into a united and formidable fighting force. Kaiser shows how Roosevelt anticipated dangerous developments, how he invented new procedures for war preparations, and how he persuaded a skeptical public to fight an extended war. Roosevelt displayed a mix of strategic foresight, political acumen, and public charisma that our country has not seen again. Kaiser's book is vitally important because it demystifies Roosevelt, making him a realistic model for our own times.”

Douglas Porch, Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School and author of The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in WWII
"David Kaiser combines meticulous research with a fluent and compelling chronicle of FDR's crucial impact on U.S. preparedness on the eve of World War II.”

Jeremy Black, Professor of History at the University of Exeter
“An effective and important account of a key episode in American and world history. Noted historian David Kaiser skilfully links domestic and international developments to tell a fascinating story.”

About the Author

David Kaiser has taught history at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the Naval War College, and Williams College. The author of seven books, including The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kaiser lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 046501982X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019823
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Otto Wood on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
There are certain aspects of the US participation in World War II that have long puzzled me. One is: How was the country so prepared, relatively speaking, once Pearl Harbor was attacked? I had always heard that isolationism was a powerful current in American society and politics after World War I. How then did Franklin Roosevelt engineer the build-up in armaments, the many-fold increase in the size of the army, and the all-but-official alliance with Britain during a period when the US was legally bound to be neutral?

David Kaiser explains all this in fascinating detail. He makes you feel the urgency that motivated the president, his advisors, and not a few of his political opponents. “Not since the British had landed their forces on Long Island in 1776 had the United States faced such a potentially critical situation,” he says of the country’s prospects in the grim spring of 1940. At that point, as German forces swept through the Low Countries into France, America was still a year and a half away from joining the conflict. But Roosevelt had already been getting the nation ready since the beginning of his second term in 1937.

You can’t appreciate the drama of America’s role in World War II or its ultimate success without understanding the backstory that preceded the actual combat. In Kaiser’s retelling, that momentous, complex series of events is its own nail-biting epic.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dale P. Henken on April 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No End Save Victory by David Kaiser is a credible and thorough history of Roosevelt (FDR), the consumate politician, practicing the art of the possible in preparing the US for a war it did not want to fight. The premise is FDR's prescience, his certainty that the US would be dragged into a global conflict against facism, was the thread which ran through our dilatory preparation for war.

The premise requires FDR as the primary agent who through the force of his will persevered from long before even the German invasion of Poland until finally the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. It was his single-minded purpose to engage the popular will behind government mobilization to fight a global war involving maximum utilization of national manpower and resources.

Roosevelt early on understood that democracy as a way of life and as a core set of values was under attack by the facists. He also understood involvement by the US could not be limited to defense of our shores or even the Western Hemisphere but would mean fighting the Germans on the European mainland and defeating the Japanese in the Pacific. Kaiser's story does a good job in supporting or perhaps proving this premise.

It also tells about FDR's indirect methods of managing people. He had to restrain those who wanted to drag the US into the war until the time was right. But he had to restrain them while enlisting their passion and experience in mobilizing for war. At the same time he had to win over the isolationists. He could only do this by letting the flow of events outside our hemisphere erode isolationist resistance. This was a Herculean feat and the fact that FDR was successful validates the premise even more.

FDR understood that the core of mobilization is national will.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America's greatest twentieth century president. FDR ranks at the very top of the presidential performance poles along such fellow legends as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt his distant cousin Teddy Roosevelt. The author of this work is. Dr. David Kaiser, a college professor and author of several works on diplomacy. Kaiser has added a feather to his cap with this new detailed account of the months from May 1940 to the outbreak of war on December 7, 1941 when the United States Pacific Fleet was bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Kaiser says FDR was a member of the missionary generation of strong leaders born after the Civil War and before the birth of the twentieth century.
Kaiser gives us almost a day to day report of how FDR led America the land of isolationism to prepare itself on the following fronts": political, military and economic. During this crucial time the USA become the Great Arsenal of Democracy giving aid to a Great Britain during the Battle of Britain. Lend-Lease aided this effort as did the Atlantic Charter signed by FDR-Churchill in August 1941 stating that the US was allied with England in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
During this terrible time the president was well served by such men as Secretary of State Cordell Hull; Henry Stimson the War Secretary and military leaders Admiral Stark and General George Catlett Marshall who headed the army. Troop strength increased from a paltry 100,000 to over ten million. Industry cooperated as plants were constructed turning out the millions of tanks, planes, weapons and equipment needed to defeat the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R.Michael Fisher on August 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
FDR and the Americans could and did BIG things to prepare for WWll. I thought I knew a lot about WWII but this book has all of the details from the politics to the faith it took to prepare for and win the war that claimed 60 million people. The book left me with the thought - would we be capable of doing these BIG things today? I hope we are never faced with all the challenges FDR faced and knew just how to get them accomplished. Getting America through the Great Depression and then through 4 terms as president and winning WWII with polio FDR was the right man at the right time. God blessed us and the world with FDR.. Mike Fisher 8-10-14
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