The inside story of how FDR and the towering personalities around him waged war in the corridors of Washington, D.C., to secure ultimate victory on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific during World War II.
Lacey deals with issues and strategies, including complex economic considerations, that many others have largely bypassed ... Comparisons to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals (2005), about Lincoln’s cabinet, are inevitable, and, in fact, the two books make an excellent pairing. A convincing addition to the literature of WWII.
Mr. Lacey’s summary judgment, coming near the end of this superb book, is a fair one: 'World War II challenged Americans to rise to greatness. . . . Roosevelt led the way and stood at the pinnacle of events.'
This broad-gauged approach is at once the strength of the book and its weakness. The literature on World War II includes biographies of all the major actors and histories of the principal institutions. But no one before Lacey has wrangled such a large cast and covered so much bureaucratic ground. There is scarcely a significant quarrel or even mild dispute that Lacey doesn’t address, except the ones he deliberately avoids ... The weakness of the book is that the reader sometimes gets lost among all the characters ... This is great fun, and enlightening after a fashion, but the reader can wish for a more judicious weighting of the vignettes according to the heft of the participants. A similar reaction applies to coverage of topics. Lacey devotes a page to D-Day and a chapter to the Morgenthau Plan. Even if the punitive blueprint for postwar Germany had been adopted — it wasn’t — the largest amphibious operation in history deserves better.