The Washington War: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Power That Won World War II

Bantam. May 2019. 592p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780345547583. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780345547590. BIOG
Lacey (military history, Marine Corps War Coll.; The First Clash) provides a comprehensive portrait of the intricacies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political system leading up to and during America’s involvement in World War II. Showcasing a cast of little-known and behind-the-scenes politicians, and the inevitable ineptitude of officials and organizations to navigate government bureaucracy and political showdowns, Lacey shows how Roosevelt’s whim impacted almost every decision regarding foreign policy. This period saw the rise and fall of numerous government agencies along with the realignment of the American government, including the legal system and the Supreme Court. Lacey’s work is one to pair with a social history such as William K. Klingaman’s The Darkest Year in order to better understand the depth of World War II pandemonium on the home front. Includes several underutilized and primary sources now being revisited in the run up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
VERDICT A fantastic account for political scientists, 20th- century World War II and policy historians, and history aficionados. Lacey’s flow of language and wit make this an accessible and compelling read.

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