- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (April 19, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802125115
- ISBN-13: 978-0802125118
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 89 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War Hardcover – April 19, 2016
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"Admirable work . . . superbly depicted." Winnipeg Free Press
"A wide-ranging examination of America's entry into World War II . . . [Wortman] displays a nice sense of the dramatic scene and a solid ear for telling quotes, and ample documentation gives readers the opportunity to look further into the history. Even readers familiar with the broad history of the era are likely to find new insights and new details of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that preceded Pearl Harbor. An engaging and well-researched look behind the scenes of an important historic era. Highly recommended." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In this probing chronicle of that tense year, Wortman illuminates the largely forgotten politics of a time when a fractured America debated the wisdom of joining the Allied cause in WWII. . . . A fascinating narrative of a domestic conflict presaging America’s plunge into global war." Booklist (starred review)
"Like the rumble of thunder before a storm, Marc Wortman's 1941: Fighting the Shadow War creates a mesmerizing sense of ominous and terrifying foreboding. This is the fascinating story of the global war that most Americans know almost nothing about: the bitter and even deadly struggle pitting American against American as the United States confronted Hitler and Japan before our country's actual entrance into World War II. There were heroes and villains and, as Wortman depicts so richly up to Pearl Harbor, nobody knew who would win." Nathaniel Philbrick, winner of the National Book Award for In the Heart of the Sea
"Marc Wortman's 1941: Fighting the Shadow War tells the story of America's plunge into World War II in a way that is smart, suspenseful, and full of surprising historical twists. 1941 has the sweep and intimacy of an epic novel and the pace of a military thriller." Debby Applegate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
"With the skills of a mosaicist, Marc Wortman creates a fresh portrait of the most crucial year of the war, when the United States became the 'arsenal of democracy,' when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and when the nation had its rendezvous with destiny at Pearl Harbor. Wortman brings into a single view both the war abroad and the 'shadow war' at home between supporters and opponents of American intervention, a battle that continued until the end of that tumultuous year." Susan Dunn, author of 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitlerthe Election Amid the Storm
"The story of Mr Roosevelt's Hidden War on Nazi Germany and support of the British effort in 1940-1941 has been told before, of course, but not I think with such verve and delightful panache as in Marc Wortman's new book. Its strength lies in his blend of characters high and low, from FDR and his highest confidantes to a normal family at Pearl Harbor to the U.S. journalists in Berlin as they saw war advancing across Europe and, then, towards America itself. It's a smart book, and a great read." Paul Kennedy, J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University, and author of The Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War
"Narrated with panache and a fastidious eye for detail, Wortman’s 1941: Fighting the Shadow War tells how FDR ingeniously helped Churchill by any means he could without breaking the Neutrality Act. Beset by furious, powerful domestic rivalries, who had the country in their grip, they were bested only when Pearl Harbor was attacked. An on-the-edge-of-your-chair thriller." Geoffrey Wolff, author of The Hard Way Around: The Passages of Joshua Slocum, and most recently A Day at the Beach
About the Author
Marc Wortman is an independent historian and award-winning freelance journalist. He is the author of two previous books, "The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power" (the inspiration for the prize-winning, feature-length documentary by Humanus Films) and "The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta." He has written for many popular publications, including "Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, " and "Town & Country," and his essays and reviews appear frequently on The Daily Beast. He and his family live in New Haven.
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Wortman brilliantly narrates the “secret” war against Germany as well as Japan throughout the year leading up to December 7, 1941. Beginning with a focus on such American Nazi supporters as famed architect Phillip Johnson, Wortman tells a tale that hasn’t been told — and tells it in such a way that will lead most readers to “binge read” the book. It is simply impossible to put down. He relates as well the stories of anti-Nazi journalist and author William Shirer; famed pilot (and admirer of fascism) Charles Lindberg; and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who began as a staunch isolationist yet finished his life a military hero, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Wortman also examines other key players in America’s struggle to determine whether it would stay out of the war or join it on Great Britain’s side, chief among them FDR’s mainstay, Harry Hopkins. You will meet these characters and still others, and gain an insight into how Roosevelt and Churchill became key allies in the fight to save democracy and Western liberalism.
Full disclosure: Wortman is an old pal, I won’t hide it and I’m proud to say it. However, he did not ask me to write this review; truth to tell, I couldn’t wait to write it upon finishing the book. I have now read all three of his narrative histories (including the brilliant World War I saga, The Millionaires' Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power and The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta, his book about Sherman’s march to the Sea during the Civil War. Simply put: Wortman writes narrative with the sweep of history, and writes history like a great novelist. Put down whatever you’re currently reading, and pick yourself up a copy of 1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War. Then thank me for the recommendation.