15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2000
An outstanding contribution to World War Two diplomatic history, Warren Kimball lays to rest one of the old chestnuts common to most people - that Franklin D. Roosevelt, the domestic reformer, had no consistent foreign policy, merely reacting to events. Weaving humour, deft insight, an unparalleled knowledge of the sources (Mr. Kimball is the editor of the FDR-Churchill correspondence) and diplomatic history together wonderfully, the Juggler is one of the central texts for anyone looking at the wartime Grand Alliance.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2001
In The Juggler, Warren Kimball attempts to paint a new picture of FDR�s foreign policy. Warren Kimball�s thesis is that FDR had a vision for his foreign policy and did not merely react to events but attempted to craft a post-World War II world. From Lend-Lease to World War II, Kimball argues that FDR was consistent in his beliefs and desires. As a politician, FDR (unlike President Wilson) was willing to compromise to ensure his dream would come to pass.
The tragedy was the FDR�s vision was beyond humanity. Like Communism, he thought that the utopian ideal would allow humanity to transcend our weaknesses. War would no longer be profitable so nobody would want to wage it. This vision went beyond his grasp to attain. He did succeed (whether it was he doing or merely the geopolitical realities of the Russian threat) in ensuring that the UN would be founded and that the US would continue its presence in world affairs.
Warren Kimball wrote an important book to dispel the preconceptions of FDR�s foreign policy. Despite contradictions and vague notions, FDR did have a larger vision and didn�t spent his Presidency merely reacting to foreign events.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2005
Chapter one of this splendid book begins with this incredibly revealing remark that FDR made on May 15, 1942:
"You know I am a juggler, and I never let my right hand know what my left hand does.... I may have one policy for Europe and one diametrically opposite for North and South America. I may be entirely inconsistent, and furthermore I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war."
Franklin Roosevelt was a very charming man. He was so agreeable to so many different people and interests. But as one historian put it, behind that charming mask was a cunning mind. FDR had the perfect temperament to direct World War II foreign operations. It may not have always been obvious what he was up to, but look at the results he achieved.
Another historian titled his FDR biography "The Lion and the Fox." Another historian compared FDR's sly foreign policy to that of looking into a kaleidoscope. You cannot see how the patterns are forming... unless you take apart the kaleidoscope and see its hidden methods.
This brief book takes apart the kaleidoscope. It was written by Warren Kimbell, one of the greatest foreign policy historians of the World War II era, after a long and distinguished academic career. He was the editor of the correspondenses between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
The text itself is brief - only 200 pages. The writing is interesting and concise. The footnotes are extensive - 77 pages - and loaded with useful tidbits. The book mentions the interpretations of several different foreign policy experts and highlights the most credible.
The book uses fourteen chapters to describe Roosevelt's strategies in several different arenas. For example, one focuses on Lend-Lease. Another focuses on Casablanca. Another part mentions FDR's ant-colonialism viewpoint. Another details FDR's vision for a safer, more secure post-war world.
Kimball describes Roosevelt's foreign policy as "Americanism," which was a profound change from America's role in the world before FDR came to power. Read this book to find out what he means.