- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812979354
- ISBN-13: 978-0812979350
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 964 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour Paperback – May 3, 2011
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“Engaging and original, rich in anecdote and analysis, this is a terrific work of history.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion
“Citizens of London is a great read about the small band of Americans and their courageous role in helping Britain through the darkest days of early World War II. I thought I knew a lot about this dangerous period, but Lynne Olson has taught me so much more.”—Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
“A deeply inspiring chronicle of the special relationship between America and Britain when it mattered most.”—Chris Matthews, anchor, MSNBC’s Hardball
“Ingenious history . . . All three men were colorful, larger-than-life figures, and Olson’s absorbing narrative does them justice.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An engaging history . . . a vibrant city fueled by courage and resolve.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“An original and fascinating book.”—Lincoln Journal Star
“[A] cracking good read.”—New York Post
About the Author
Lynne Olson, a former Moscow correspondent for the Associated Press and White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, is the author of Troublesome Young Men and Freedom’s Daughters and co-author, with her husband, Stanley Cloud, of A Question of Honor and The Murrow Boys. She lives in Washington, D.C.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Murrow, of course, was the CBS radio reporter wunderkind whose "This is London... " signature brought World War II into the homes of Americans on a regular basis, opening their minds and hearts to the plight of Great Britain and the danger of German aggression. His reports from the rooftops of London helped to pave the way for a lifting of isolationism as FDR cautiously prodded America to enter the fray.
John Gilbert Winant, Olson tells us, was a natural leader and the American ambassador who soothed British spirits and soul following former Ambassador Joe Kennedy's brash, appeasement-centered, diplomatic relations. And Averill Harriman, a rich businessman anxious to play power games at a global level, lived large romantically as he cut a wide social swath across London.
When you have a few hours to yourself, pick up this paperback and settle in. I promise you a fascinating read and a thoughtful study of the men who helped lay the foundation for the FDR/Churchill special relationship. They deserve more attention than other authors have given them.
In this book three well-to-do Americans wind up in Winston Churchill’s coterie as advisors and watchdogs over the activities between the US and Britain as the war escalates. They eventually end up very sympathetic to the plight of the Britishers and less than approving of the opposition from FDR and reluctant US citizens to getting America involved. The hardy and determined British citizens suffered greatly as the United States refused to come to their assistance in battling the German forces that threatened to obliterate their nation and the misery was exacerbated by this obstinacy.
John Winant was the idealistic US ambassador to Britain, Averell Harriman ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London, and Edward R. Murrow was head of CBS news in Europe. They all developed such close ties with Churchill that they were actually considered part of his official circles. More than that, all three became romantically involved with Churchill’s daughters. The author handles this touchy situation with aplomb, sparing the reader any salacious details that would detract from her scholarly approach.
Each of the three had serious personality traits that they were able to muffle as they assisted Churchill with his decisions. All three were immensely wealthy and/or influential, they were idealistic, and their interest in the British situation was genuine. Winant was extremely shy and a poor speaker, but his boyish charm and unquestionable loyalty made him a favorite with the British people. Harriman, an industrial scion, was intensely self-centered and tended towards covert attempts to ingratiate himself with Churchill. He was refereed to as a “bum-sucker” in the book. Murrow was outspoken and given to critical comments about the US in his broadcasts and writings, something greatly appreciated by Churchill in his never ending attempts to get America involved in the war.
When America entered the war after Pearl Harbor, all three, along with Churchill and the rest of the country, were giddy with the decision. The intricate dance of collaboration performed by all the principals throughout the war, and the successful conclusion, is wonderfully chronicled in this intriguing book.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
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John Winant was the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James.Read more