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The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitlerby David Roll
Synopses & Reviews
The Hopkins Touch offers the first portrait in over two decades of the most powerful man in Roosevelt's administration.
In this impressive biography, David Roll shows how Harry Hopkins, an Iowa-born social worker who had been an integral part of the New Deal's implementation, became the linchpin in FDR's--and America's--relationships with Churchill and Stalin, and spoke with an authority second only to the president's. Hopkins could take the political risks his boss could not, and proved crucial to maintaining personal relations among the Big Three. Beloved by some--such as Churchill, who believed that Hopkins "always went to the root of the matter"--and trusted by most--including the paranoid Stalin--there were nevertheless those who resented the influence of "the White House Rasputin."
Based on newly available sources, The Hopkins Touch is an absorbing, substantial work that offers a fresh perspective on the World War II era and the Allied leaders, through the life of the man who kept them on point until the war was won.
"Roll makes the case in this lively book that Harry Hopkins was 'arguably the most powerful presidential aide in the history of the American republic.' Even if not, Hopkins surely acted as Franklin Roosevelt's alter ego, intimate, and sounding board for all of WWII. An emollient presence admired by both Churchill and Stalin, this frail and sickly man brought a natural prudence and impeccably balanced judgment to the advice he offered FDR and the duties he performed for him. Unjustifiably feared by those who didn't really know him as a kind of Rasputin to the president, as Roll makes clear, Hopkins was instead implementer of others' decisions as much as the source of ideas and advice. The author can't seem to make up his mind whether he's writing a biography, often overdetailed, of Hopkins during the war years — when he actually lived much of the time in the White House — or trying to illuminate, using interviews and freshly opened documents, the sources of WWII policy making. But there's no doubt that Roll, in his debut book, has added to WWII history by illuminating Hopkins's 'indispensable behind-the-scenes role.' 32 b&w illus. Agent: Kirsten Neuhaus, Kirsten Neuhaus Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Franklin Roosevelt's friend and advisor Harry Hopkins, an Iowan social worker who became the president's political "point man" during World War II, was one of the most improbable and important political operators of the twentieth century. Having gained Roosevelt's trust assisting on campaigns and leading relief and jobs programs--including the WPA--during the 1930s, Hopkins helped the president confront the growing threat, and later the reality, of war. From the beginning, Hopkins grasped that the key to victory was the creation and maintenance of an Allied coalition of military power sustained by economic cooperation. He acted as the self-described "catalytic agent" between the Allied leaders, meeting frequently with Churchill and Stalin both before and long after Pearl Harbor and coordinating the $50 billion Lend-Lease program. David Roll's portrait of Hopkins discusses his early life and career, but emphasizes his role alongside FDR (and later Truman) in World War II, making use of previously private diaries and letters.
About the Author
David Roll is a partner at Steptoe and Johnson LLP and founder of Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, a public interest organization that provides pro bono legal services to social entrepreneurs around the world. He was awarded the Purpose Prize Fellowship by Civic Ventures in 2009. He lives with his wife Nancy and their dog Thatcher in Washington, DC and Glen Arbor, Michigan.
Table of Contents
Prologue: A Room Upstairs
Chapter 1: Ambitious Reformer
Chapter 2: Asks for Nothing Except to Serve
Chapter 3: They are Sowing the Wind
Chapter 4: Even to the End
Chapter 5: First Glimpse of Dawn
Chapter 6: Vodka Has Authority
Chapter 7: At Last We Have Gotten Together
Chapter 8: We Are All In the Same Boat Now
Chapter 9: Some Sort of a Front this Summer
Chapter 10: Harry's Invaluable Aid
Chapter 11: Striking Back
Chapter 12: Casablanca: A Pretty Feeble Effort
Chapter 13: Trident: A Mollifying Influence
Chapter 14: Quadrant: Churchill Converted?
Chapter 15: Tehran: Lining Up with the Russians
Chapter 16: A Soldier's Debt
Chapter 17: From Malta to Yalta
Chapter 18: A Leave of Absence From Death
Chapter 19: We Do Well to Salute his Memory
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