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Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His…
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Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler (utgåvan 2021)

av David McKean (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
524502,378 (4.29)1
"A gripping and groundbreaking account of how all but one of FDR's ambassadors in Europe misjudged Hitler and his intentions As German tanks rolled toward Paris in late May 1940, the U.S. Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, was determined to stay put, holed up in the Chateau St. Firmin in Chantilly, his country residence. Bullitt told the president that he would neither evacuate the embassy nor his chateau, an eighteenth Renaissance manse with a wine cellar of over 18,000 bottles, even though "we have only two revolvers in this entire mission with only forty bullets." As German forces closed in on the French capital, Bullitt wrote the president, "In case I should get blown up before I see you again, I want you to know that it has been marvelous to work for you." As the fighting raged in France, across the English Channel, Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy wrote to his wife Rose, "The situation is more than critical. It means a terrible finish for the allies." Watching Darkness Fall will recount the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the road to war from the perspective of four American diplomats in Europe who witnessed it firsthand: Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long, and William Bullitt, who all served in key Western European capitals-London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Moscow-in the years prior to World War II. In many ways they were America's first line of defense and they often communicated with the president directly, as Roosevelt's eyes and ears on the ground. Unfortunately, most of them underestimated the power and resolve of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Third Reich. Watching Darkness Fall is a gripping new history of the years leading up to and the beginning of WWII in Europe told through the lives of five well-educated and mostly wealthy men all vying for the attention of the man in the Oval Office"--… (mer)
Medlem:Blythewood
Titel:Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler
Författare:David McKean (Författare)
Info:St Martin’s Press (2021) Edition: First, 396 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:****
Taggar:Franklin Roosevelt, Winston S. Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Nazi, Woodrow Wilson, World War I, Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement, Charles Lindbergh

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Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler av David McKean

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A solid contribution to our understanding of how America came to turn from Isolation to Internationalism in the face of Nazi Germany's increasingly belligerent actions in Europe largely through the eyes of FDR's ambassadors in Europe. ( )
  Blythewood | Jun 11, 2024 |
I don’t know much about FDR. It was a good read and I didn’t feel it lagged anywhere. The book mostly centers around FDRs ambassadors to German, Britain, France and Italy and relates their experiences in each of those countries during the build up to World War II. Starting with America’s isolationist policy to the war up to Pearl Harbor and FDRs sudden death. Very informative and well written. ( )
  Arkrayder | Sep 6, 2022 |
FDR, His Ambassadors and the Rise of Adolph Hitler

“Watching Darkness Fall” is of considerable interest for those fascinated in history especially in the Roosevelt era. The account provides us with a broad-ranging study of the role of ambassadors in delivering information about the rise of Europe’s regimes from 1933 to 1941.

Mr. McKean delivers a biography of four American diplomats as they struggle to handle the rise of fascism. The information taken from diaries, letters and records reveals that the President counted on his ambassadors in France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy to collect information needed to make proper decisions. All but one of FDR’s ambassadors misjudged Hitler and his intentions.

From the perspective of Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long and William Bullitt who witnessed the rise of the Third Reich firsthand often communicated with the president to inform him. McKean argues that although Roosevelt was more interested in domestic concerns at the time he was also very skeptical of his emissaries’ correspondence. Eventually Roosevelt intelligence channels led him away from being cautious over international involvement to the certainty that his country would be facing a European war. Then Pearl Harbor happened and all changed.

This account covers a lot and is so loaded with facts and people it can be overwhelming at times, I know I was and needed to put it aside multiple times and concentrate on something lighter. Although, this book is a long read and a tedious one the vivid depiction of the individuals will make the reader (me) want to pursuit and not abandoned it in order to broaden knowledge, we learn a lot: not only of FDR but also the diplomatic dance before America plunged into the war and what transpired during the event all the way to FDR collapse and death and beyond his tenure. I could say more but this is one of those books that should be read and appreciated individually.

No doubt, “Watching Darkness Fall” is an interesting book for all. Historical buffs will love it and rookies will have their interest piqued.....and some will pass on it, definitely not for everyone.

I would like to thank St-martin Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Nov 21, 2021 |
David McKean’s insightful history of President Roosevelt’s ambassadors offers a unique view of history through the men who were FDR’s ears and eyes abroad during the rise of Hitler. On the homefront, Watching Darkness Fall is the story of how FDR contended with American isolationism while knowing that the rise of fascism in Europe meant America would be forced to become involved.

FDR had a wonderful insight into human nature that allowed him to inspire loyalty–and manipulate and contain would-be adversaries. For his ambassadors, he chose an academic–Dodd, trusted friends–Bullitt and Long–and a man he owed a political favor but did not trust–Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.

William Bullitt came from a politically connected, wealthy family. FDR sent him on several fact finding missions in Europe. Bullitt charmed FDR’s office wife Missy LeHand, along with numerous other women. FDR identified him as the right man for ambassador to the Soviet Union; during the war, he was assigned to France and painfully experienced the Nazi takeover of his beloved Paris.

William E. Dodd was a professor of history who spoke German. “I want an American liberal in Germany as a standing example, FDR told him. Dodd was appalled by the Nazis and warned of impending war. His daughter became a Soviet spy!

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. understood money. FDR offered him government positions as a reward for his support, but Kennedy wanted a cabinet position. He was offered the ambassadorship to London. The Kennedy family at first charmed the Brits, but Joe became persona non gratis with his entrenched insistence on American isolationism. He had no sympathy for the Jews and thought fascism had provided economic stability for Germany and was the future for all democracies–including America.

Breckinridge Long was in the Wilson administration and FDR sent him to Italy where he came to admire Mussolini. As Secretary of State, his inaction to refugees fleeing Nazi persecution was based on national security concerns and his antisemitism, and he suppressed information about the mass murder of Jews.

Watching Darkness Fall greatly contributed to my understanding of this critical time. I found it an interesting study in context of the rise of fascism in the 21st c.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Oct 13, 2021 |
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"A gripping and groundbreaking account of how all but one of FDR's ambassadors in Europe misjudged Hitler and his intentions As German tanks rolled toward Paris in late May 1940, the U.S. Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, was determined to stay put, holed up in the Chateau St. Firmin in Chantilly, his country residence. Bullitt told the president that he would neither evacuate the embassy nor his chateau, an eighteenth Renaissance manse with a wine cellar of over 18,000 bottles, even though "we have only two revolvers in this entire mission with only forty bullets." As German forces closed in on the French capital, Bullitt wrote the president, "In case I should get blown up before I see you again, I want you to know that it has been marvelous to work for you." As the fighting raged in France, across the English Channel, Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy wrote to his wife Rose, "The situation is more than critical. It means a terrible finish for the allies." Watching Darkness Fall will recount the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the road to war from the perspective of four American diplomats in Europe who witnessed it firsthand: Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long, and William Bullitt, who all served in key Western European capitals-London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Moscow-in the years prior to World War II. In many ways they were America's first line of defense and they often communicated with the president directly, as Roosevelt's eyes and ears on the ground. Unfortunately, most of them underestimated the power and resolve of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Third Reich. Watching Darkness Fall is a gripping new history of the years leading up to and the beginning of WWII in Europe told through the lives of five well-educated and mostly wealthy men all vying for the attention of the man in the Oval Office"--

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