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Those Angry Days

ISBN: 978-1400069743
Review Date:

Full Title: Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

In 1940 and 1941, war had already, for years in some places, ravaged Europe and Asia, but the geographically remote United States remained on the side lines. During "those angry days", as author Lynne Olson described it in her book under that title, interventionists and isolationists bitterly debated what America's role would be, if any. Franklin Roosevelt and Charles Linbergh were undoubtedly the two main characters of Those Angry Days, perhaps with a bit more focus on the latter. The author described Roosevelt as a leader who wished to become involved in the war in Europe, but was constrained to take only baby steps to ensure solid political footing as he was still recovering from a major political defeat in the "court-packing plan" debacle of 1937. Meanwhile, popular aviator Lindberg, blinded by the efficiency of fascist governments and agreeing with the pseudo-scientific eugenics, thought the United States should not interfere with the European situation as Germany was exactly what the world needed to counter the growing threat of communism. To complete the story, Olson introduced a full cast of characters including Wendell Willkie, Harold Ickes, Burton Wheeler, and many others, nicely illustrating the confusion (and at times, "anger") haunting the Americans at this time, unsure of how to deal with the rapidly evolving world situation. Ultimately, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt and the interventionists the reason that they needed to finally enter the war fully, and the isolationist movement died out quickly, with even Lindbergh seeking ways to support the war effort.

I had reviewed this title both in print and as an audio book at the same time. Robert Fass did a good job with the narration, while the book offered wonderful photographs to accompany the text. On the topic of the photographs, while most books bound photographs on glossy pages usually in the center of the book, the photographs in this book were shown within the text on various pages; this was nice in that the visuals were presented timely. Both formats, audio and printed, were executed well in my opinion.

Lynne Olson continued to be a great storyteller in Those Angry Days just as she had been in her previous works about this period in history, and I would say that this book could serve as an informative primer to pre-war United States. For one thing, this book had sparked my interest to learn more about Charles Lindbergh, who I had known very little about prior to reading this book. Any book that could inspire us to dig deeper about a certain topic should be worth recommending to others, wouldn't you say?

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Thomas Dodd, late 1945

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