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The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler 1st Edition

139 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199891955
ISBN-10: 0199891958
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  • Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
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Bonus Photographs of Harry Hopkins

Angry Birds: Buzzards
At the Tehran conference outside the Soviet embassy, December 1943, left to right: General George Marshall shaking hands with British Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Archibald Clark Kerr, Hopkins, V. N. Pavlov (Stalin’s interpreter), Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov (with mustache).(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
Angry Birds: Bird Chasing Cat
Hopkins at the 1940 Democratic national convention in Chicago with daughter Diana, age seven. From left to right behind them: John Hertz, founder of the Hertz car rental empire, thoroughbred race horse owner and a close friend of Hopkins; David, Hopkins’ twenty-eight-year-old son; and Edwin Daley.(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
Angry Birds: Bald Eagle
Under the fourteen-foot guns of the British battleship Prince of Wales in August 1941, Churchill, Hopkins and British officers discuss the forthcoming meetings with President Roosevelt off the coast of Newfoundland in what became known as the Atlantic Conference.(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
Angry Birds: Red-Tailed Hawk
Hopkins conferring with Roosevelt in the Oval Study, June 1942.(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
Angry Birds: Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
After visiting American troops in Rabat, Morocco, Hopkins, General Mark Clark (second from left), Roosevelt and General George Patton (right) discuss the North Africa campaign during a lunch in the field.(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
Angry Birds
Roosevelt celebrating his sixty-first birthday in the roomy cabin of his Boeing Clipper with Admiral Leahy (left), Hopkins and Captain Howard Cone, the Clipper commander (right). They were on the final leg of their return from the Casablanca conference.(Photo by Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)


"Displaying a strong grasp of the intervening half-century of historical scholarship, delivering a strong and clear-eyed appraisal of Hopkins's personal life, and demonstrating considerable narrative talents."--Wall Street Journal

"The Hopkins Touch is the best biography of a crucial figure at pivotal moment in American history since Robert E. Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1948 classic, Roosevelt and Hopkins."--Steven Casey, author of Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion and the War against Nazi Germany, 1941-1945

"Harry Hopkins was FDR's left-hand man. He helped the maestro direct the American-British-Russian alliance that won World War II. David Roll shows just how he did it, this quiet deal-maker Churchill called 'Lord Root of the Matter.' The Hopkins Touch deserves its place aside Robert Sherwood's Roosevelt and Hopkins and Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston." --Chris Matthews, host of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC

"It is refreshing to read an account of a time when commitment to the national interest, personal depth in history, vision, loyalty and discretion were the watchwords. Such is the portrait of Harry Hopkins, Franklin Roosevelt's closest confidante and trusted surrogate, drawn by David Roll in this absorbing update of Robert Sherwood's defining work. Drawing on material never before available, Roll revisits Hopkins roots, his intimate relationship with the president, how deeply he was revered by Prime Minister Churchill, and trusted by Joseph Stalin--all in one of the best researched, and well-written biographical works I've ever read. The Hopkins Touch deserves a place in the American political history stacks of every library in America--and also on your night stand."--Robert (Bud) McFarlane, National Security Adviser to Ronald Reagan

"Mr. Roll's use of previously unavailable materials enables him to present a far more comprehensive story. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the period. A truly magisterial biography."-- The Washington Times

"David Roll has captured the essence of one of the most important non-governmental figures in American history. Crisply written, meticulously researched, The Hopkins Touch is a pleasure to read."--Jean Edward Smith, author of FDR, and Eisenhower in War and Peace

"A masterful portrait of one of the most fascinating political figures this country has ever produced. David Roll has vividly captured the infinite complexities and extraordinary influence of FDR aide Harry Hopkins -- part playboy, part reformer-- whose peerless diplomatic efforts in World War II helped cement the Anglo-American alliance and pave the way for the Allies' victory."--Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Finest, Darkest Hour

"That FDR created the world in which we live is a commonplace; as David Roll demonstrates in this highly readable book it was a world created by FDR and Harry Hopkins. The material on Hopkins' maneuvering the U.S. to the North African invasion in the fall of 1942 is by itself imaginative and persuasive. I wish that I'd had Roll's book at my elbow when I was writing about those years."--Warren Kimball, editor of Churchill and Roosevelt, the Complete Correspondence

"If Franklin D. Roosevelt had an alter ego, it was the brilliant and cunning Harry Hopkins. David Roll does a marvelous job of documenting the heroic importance of Hopkins during the Second World War. Hopkins emerges as one of America's indispensable patriots. This is a surefooted and brilliantly researched biography that deserves a wide readership."
--Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite and The Wilderness Warrior

"Sharply observed, gracefully written, David Roll's portrait of FDR's closest adviser offers us an intimate look at the wise, brave, and humane exercise of power. If only other presidents were blessed with advisers like Harry Hopkins!"--Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle to Save the World

"In 1940, Britain stood alone; it's survival in doubt. As the US edged closer to war, Harry Hopkins became FDR's confidant on geopolitical issues. In creating the 'grand alliance' his role was crucial. In this splendid, well-researched biography, David Roll has portrayed the decisive actions taken by this 'grey eminence.'" --James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

"In this important new book, David Roll brings Hopkins out of the shadows and casts a bright and unblinking light on the central--even essential--role that Harry Hopkins played in forging and maintaining the alliance that won the Second World War."--Craig L. Symonds, author of The Battle of Midway

"This delightful book-a genuine page turner-portrays the relationship between FDR and Hopkins in a balanced manner while maintaining the reader's interest with insights into the important players of World War II. Scholars and general readers interested in the era will thoroughly enjoy it. An essential purchase."-- Library Journal

"A compelling portrait of a World War II hero whose victories took place far from the battlefield." -- Kirkus


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (January 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199891958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199891955
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.4 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By R. Schwenk VINE VOICE on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite being a peace-nik, I can't resist histories of World War II. One reason is that so many things could have turned out differently at so many key points of the struggle. Another is that personalities really mattered.

One personality whose story merits this excellent book is Harry Hopkins. Hopkins was a social worker (and founder of the National Association of Social Workers) who rose to prominence during the New Deal, ultimately becoming Franklin Roosevelt's right-hand man, alter-ego, and go-to guy for all the most difficult problems. (Think of Robert Kennedy's many roles during his brother's presidency.)

It was natural that Harry Hopkins would end up as the liaison among the big three: FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. All three trusted him. All three valued his "touch": his ability to get to the root of the issue, his ability to defuse tensions, and his ability to handle three world-class egos.

Readers of this book will need to have a cursory knowledge of some of the main events of the war:
* Britain's desperation after the fall of France in 1940.
* The power of isolationism in the U.S. prior to Pearl Harbor.
* The scale of the sacrifice of Soviet lives to defeat the German army with little assistance from the Western allies.
* The desperation with which the U.S. wanted the Soviets to enter the war against Japan.

Important historical questions form a compelling backdrop to the story:
* What moral responsibility did the Western allies have to sacrifice soldiers in order to draw off German strength from the Eastern front during the Soviets' darkest hours?
* What moral responsibility did the Western allies have for the imposition of Stalinist dictatorships throughout eastern Europe after the war?
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There were many men of great influence in the twentieth century, many for the better and many for the worse. One of the most influential men on the positive side was Harry Hopkins, considered for years to be the deputy president to Franklin Roosevelt. Hopkins was a major figure in implementing the New Deal, but rose to his highest level during World War II. He had a significant effect on policy making and was perhaps the only American trusted by the Soviets and the British.
There were many times during World War II when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was angered by a real or imagined slight and it was Hopkins that smoothed things over. Hopkins was so highly regarded by Joseph Stalin that there was an event where Stalin committed a major breach of protocol when he broke the pattern to go over and warmly greet Hopkins. Considering the level of mistrust and paranoia Stalin exhibited, this was an amazing event.
As Roll points out, Hopkins was regularly criticized by opponents of Franklin Roosevelt, and he served a valuable purpose in being a lightning rod for that criticism. There were times when Roosevelt developed a policy and then had Hopkins work at it, but when there was criticism Roosevelt was slow to cover Hopkins' back. Yet, to his eternal credit Hopkins kept his focus on the most critical goal, the defeat of Nazi Germany. Roll points out many things that could have been done differently, from bombing the infrastructure of the death camps to standing up against Stalin, but it all came back to the fact that Hopkins knew that the war had to be won. He also knew that the German armies were defeated on the plains of the Soviet Union and the over 25,000,000 deaths in the Soviet Union must be acknowledged.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E.M. Bristol VINE VOICE on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My American history classes covered the founding of our country in great detail but never quite made it up to the Great Depression and World War II; thus there are gaps in my knowledge that I occasionally try to fill in by reading. "The Hopkins Touch," by David Roll tells the story of a man who was instrumental in shaping history from the Great Depression up until the start of the Cold War; who hobnobbed with world leaders like Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, but whose programs also benefited hundreds of ordinary Americans affected by the economic crisis of the times.

Born in 1890 in Iowa, Harry Hopkins was the fifth child of a harness maker with a penchant for gambling and a deeply religious mother who believed in service to others. Though a lackadaisical student while in college, Hopkins became inspired by two professors, eventually deciding to go into social work as a result. The skills and experience he acquired proved invaluable during the Great Depression, when he was named head of Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, then later the Works Progress Administration by President Franklin Roosevelt. This marked the beginning of a fourteen year relationship. Plagued by poor health, marital troubles and opposition by conservative critics, Hopkins would nevertheless provide invaluable aid to the President as a diplomat, critic and friend, putting his stamp on history, though usually behind the scenes. Believing that a wartime alliance with Great Britain and Russia that provided economic cooperation with the US would result in victory, he helped shape policies that brought just that about, including implementing a lend-lease program for Great Britain, giving the country access to badly needed weapons to defend themselves against the Germans.
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