Thursday, July 5, 2018

Citizens of London

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson  471 pp.

From the beginning of war between Germany and Great Britain in 1939 there were Americans living and working there. This book focuses on three main players in the situation, Edward R. Murrow, head of CBS in England, Averell Harriman, Roosevelt's pick to run the lend-lease program, and John Gilbert Winant, former governor of New Hampshire and the newly appointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom. These three, along with others, devoted themselves to supporting Churchill and the country throughout the Blitz while trying to convince FDR to get the U.S. involved in the fight against Hitler. Once the Americans joined the fight, these men along with General Eisenhower, spent much of their time trying to make the two culturally different sides understand each other. But it wasn't all work and fight. All three of them had love affairs with Churchill family members, Winant with Churchill's daughter Sarah while Harriman and Murrow both had affairs with Churchill's daughter-in-law Pamela. Harriman would marry Pamela many years later. There is much about the high life lived by the Americans in fancy London hotels while the British people suffered severe food and housing shortages. I found this book to be a fascinating look at the wartime relationship between the U.S. and Britain.

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