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The Roosevelts and the Royals: Franklin and Eleanor, the King and Queen of England, and the Friendship That Changed History Hardcover – June 7, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This melodramatically subtitled footnote to history by Swift, a longtime writer on royal history for Majesty magazine, focuses on the brief visits, in the summer of 1939, by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Washington, D.C., and Hyde Park. Foreign visits by heads of state are carefully choreographed. This one was especially so, as the president was wheelchair-bound and the king, more withdrawn than his outgoing queen, was a stammerer and still new to his role as sovereign. On both sides of the Atlantic, the abdication of Edward VIII to marry a twice-divorced American was still deplored. The colorless George VI was on probation. Massive press hype—as well as diplomatic reticence—made the brief visits, which also included a stop at the New York World's Fair, a success. King George was still colorless, but few noticed, and his royal style during the war beginning that September was sufficiently self-effacing and quietly steadfast to erase concerns about his authority on the throne. Even stretched with asides, though, the royal progress encompasses only 47 pages. The rest— following the protagonists from the 1880s to the 1950s—is padding. A passionate collector of royal memorabilia, Swift has packaged a book for collectors of royal memorabilia. 44 b&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Psychologist Swift is an American royal-watcher and contributor to niche publications devoted to monarchical celebrities. Here he assembles meetings that in various permutations occurred among Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Britain's King George VI and consort Queen Elizabeth, and ancillary members of the four principals' siblings and progeny. He covers a century of chronology, beginning with the youthful Franklin's encounters with British blue bloods and ending with a 2002 trip by Prince Andrew to Roosevelt's Hyde Park home. Prince Andrew went there to commemorate the central event of Swift's compendium, George VI's 1939 visit to the U.S., the public relations highlight of which was Their Majesties' (as Swift loyally denominates his subjects) plebeian consumption of hot dogs. Swift's rendition of that trip captures all details of protocol, whether trumpeted in the press at the time or committed to a diary, and characterizes his presentation of subsequent royal-Roosevelt meet-ups during World War II and afterward. Historical minutiae much of it may be, but Swift's work strikes an undeniably popular chord of interest. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most of us are aware how FDR and Churchill worked together to build the "special relationship" between America and Britain, but this book rounds out the story by showing the complicated three-way partnership between Churchill, Roosevelt and the king. I was surprised by how little I knew about the king and queen's role in softening American isolationism and in persuading Roosevelt to send war materials to Britain when it was at the brink of extinction.
I was fascinated by how the king and queen won over Americans in Washington and New York during their 1939 state visit. The author gives us the full drama of the hot dog picnic at Hyde Park and explores how it helped to heal British-American relations.
The Roosevelts and the royal family remained friends until Eleanor's death in 1962. There is a wonderful vignette in the book about Eleanor's visit with her granddaughter to Buckingham Palace for tea with Queen Elizabeth II in 1957. The Roosevelt- royal connection has recently been revived by Prince Andrew on visits to Hyde Park.
The author has obviously done his homework- with careful research at both the FDR Library and Windsor Castle- and has talked to many of the Roosevelt grandchildren. Like Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston, and Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time, this book brings historical relationships to life, and provides an accurate depiction of a period in time. This is a truly impressive biography of four of the twentieth century's greatest leaders.
While the narrative builds up to its symbolic climax with the Windsor's famous visit to Hyde Park in June 1939, all of the complex events, personalities and issues surrounding the alliance of the United States and Great Britain in the years preceding and following World War II, are covered and synthesized with clarity. And while the focus is certainly the War years, the respective chapters offer comprehensive and intriguing personality-centered biographies of the four individuals whose lives they weave together.
I have long been an admirer and student of both the Roosevelts and of British royalty - a combination that is not unlikely, and clearly has contemporary parallels in the popular linkage between Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana and their respective personalities and experiences.I found "The Roosevelts and the Royals" a wonderful addition to the literature of both Anglo-American relations, and the distinctive culture of both countries. It's a great read, fun and even suspenseful as it's subject unfolds... the lavish praise of the leading scholars of the Roosevelts and the Royal Family are richly deserved !