Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War

In This Review

Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War

By Warren F. Kimball
William Morrow, 1997
422 pp. $25.00
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An excellent study of the uneasy collaboration between the two "improbable warlords" who directed their countries to victory in the Second World War. The author, a historian at Rutgers University, is the editor of the three-volume Churchill-Roosevelt correspondence and a leading authority on FDR's foreign policy. Kimball is sometimes quite critical of Churchill -- dismissing, for instance, the assumptions behind Britain's proposed Mediterranean operations as a "pipe dream" -- but on other occasions cleverly employs Churchill's authority to defend Roosevelt. The author disputes those critics who would find in FDR's actions before the war a prelude to the imperial presidency, and he thinks wise the emphasis Roosevelt placed throughout the war on keeping the Grand Alliance intact. Kimball, in effect, follows the recipe for jugged hare that Churchill said was to be found in Mrs. Glasse's Cookery Book: "First catch your hare." That the imperative of defeating the Nazis justified Roosevelt in all his cooperative approaches to the Soviet Union -- so central to his vision of the postwar world -- is a more dubious judgment than the author allows, but even those more inclined to Churchill's side of this old argument will find much merit in this well-written and authoritative study.