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Lynne Olsen's, Citizens of London


Just finished reading a couple of books. The first was:

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olsen. Doubleday, 2011

                     

This is an excellent account of a time in history that is rapidly fading from living memory. This book tells the stories of Americans living and serving in London during World War Two. 

The writer provides a vivid description of the waves of American journalists, soldiers, politicians, and bureaucrats that were welcomed by Londoners, and detailed descriptions of a few prominent individuals.


There was Edward R. Murrow,



the voice of CBS News in Europe, bringing the tragedy and heroism of the British at war to the more comfortable and well-fed citizens of America.


Averell Harriman, was an ambitious and wealthy player on the political and business scenes. Harriman ran President Roosevelt's Lend-Lease program, which would assist the British at war and impoverish the country for years following the war.



I found that the most interesting character of all was someone I had never heard of before: John Gilbert Winant.
Winant was much-loved by the British as the brilliant, ethical, and compassionate U.S. ambassador to Britain during the war.



Each of these men formed complex and close ties to the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and his family. The described interactions with the American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, and others are illuminating, particularly in observing leaders under enormous responsibility and personal stress to body and mind.


Much thanks to Lynne Olsen for the quality of her writing, fascinating character studies, and an excellent refresher for a period that is receding into the past.

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