From Publishers Weekly
"It is as well that the ironies of history are hid from participants," says Charmley, the revisionist author continuing the history begun in Churchill: The End of Glory; A Political Biography (LJ 9/1/93). Churchill, the optimistic, myopic imperialist, turned to America for help in facing down Germany's onslaught in 1940. FDR, cool, pragmatic, unemotional, finally entered the war with his own agenda, which relegated the British to junior players on the world stage. Churchill never understood or expected that alliance to strip Great Britain of its colonial power; FDR knew full well that there was no place for the "old" Britain in America's new, postwar plans. Charmley will have his detractors (he is, after all, casting a cold, skeptical eye on venerable British institutions), but he has crafted a solid, balanced portrait of a frightening, chaotic time. Recommended for public libraries.Nancy L. Whitfield, Meriden P.L., Ct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
As did his Churchill: The End of Glory
(1993), Charmley's latest sally into "declinology," the study of how Britain faded from first-to third-rate power, should stir controversy, at least among historians. His comprehensive research rests on two ideas: that Churchill, the romantic, was less perceptive than foreign secretary Anthony Eden to the drift of American foreign policy in the 1940^-56 period, and that that policy meant "America wanted a compliant, non-imperial Britain as part of a European federation." Because Churchill ascribed often and eloquently a unique character to U.S./UK relations, Charmley has a fat target. He hits it repeatedly with his interpretations of FDR, who he believes inflicted permanent damage to British interests. In finance, sterling fell to dollar supremacy. In geopolitics, the British received no support outside Europe and eventually sustained the decisive setback as a world power in the Suez fiasco of 1956. In proving the relation was special on American terms only, Charmley surely succeeds, but Churchill idolaters may not notice as they recoil from the constant criticism of their hero. A brave, iconoclastic work. Gilbert Taylor