My Summer Book Club Recommendation: Those Angry Days

August 5, 2013

Those Angry DaysFor my summer reading this year, I chose Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson.  Those Angry Days covers the period of 1939-1941 and details the bitter conversation and discussion over whether or not the United States should enter the Second World War.  President Roosevelt realized the danger to Great Britain and the world from Nazi Germany. But our aviator hero Charles Lindbergh thought we should not be involved in the war, and although he was not pro-Nazi, he was certainly friendly and familiar with the Germans.

Roosevelt was a terrific leader.  The author points out that most Americans would follow his direction no matter what.  Of course, not all did. He gave great speeches of support for Great Britain, but was very slow to act and prepare the nation for the confrontation that was sure to come.  America had a large group of 40 destroyers from World War I that were resting in various naval bases around the country. Britain badly needed these war ships to escort their convoys in the North Atlantic, as most of their food and supplies came by ship from the western world.

In early 1940, Churchill notified Roosevelt that Britain entered the war with 176 destroyers, but in less than a year German U-boats and surface raiders had reduced the number to 68.  In my opinion, Roosevelt should have acted immediately to lend America’s 40 destroyers to Britain, but he decided he would negotiate with Great Britain to procure American naval bases in British possessions in the Atlantic.  So, it took several months before the destroyers arrived in the U.K. – almost too late to help.

Roosevelt wanted to be sure the American people, especially the isolationists, viewed him as a good horse trader. So he worked long and hard at setting up these bases.  In 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt gave several inspiring and supportive speeches about the need to stand up against Nazi Germany, but he refused to approve a plan to arm the United States to go to war. Finally in late 1941, just before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Air Force had only two bomber groups and three fighter groups, hardly enough to take on Germany’s thousands of airplanes. It was a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that pulled the country together in an all-out effort to take on Japan and Nazi Germany.  Overnight there were young men, lined up at the recruiting offices, anxious to go to war and protect their country.  Aircraft tanks and arms production ramped up almost overnight.

As we think about it, had this occurred a year earlier, it may have shortened the war by as much as a year.  Of course, what would have happened if Japan had not attacked Pearl Harbor and if Germany had pulled back from Russia and successfully defeated Great Britain? Germany supposedly had plans to bring troops from West Africa to South America for an invasion of an unarmed United States.

The book gives great insight into the debate about the U.S.A. entering World War II, and a surprising revelation about Roosevelt's reluctance to prepare the country to enter the war, although it seemed inevitable that she eventually would do so.  Those Angry Days is a great read with good history and political intrigue.  It opened up a whole new outlook on the debate that went on prior to entering the Second World War.

What books have you enjoyed reading this summer?  (I hope someone mentions Without Reservations.)

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Now I must read about Bessie Coleman too!

Thanks so much Patricia!

This books seems to be a very interesting one. I like the fact that it is focusing in the history of United States regarding the world war III. -

Although it is many summers since I read it, I still recommend "Woodie Guthrie - A Life", by Joe Klein. It is a nice combination of biography, music and your country's history.

Mr. Mancini- I reccomend "The Book Thief" to pretty much everyone- definitely an all time top ten.

Summer being for escape reading, I am working my way through the Molly Fyde series by Hugh Howey, while I anxiously await the next Wool installment from him- Sci-Fi for Summer.

Yes, it would have shortened the war but America's reputation wouldn't have been as "untouched" as it was.
Roosevelt needed a real excuse to enter the War.
They knew the Japanese were coming, they just let their men died.
Well, that's my point of view.

After all we will never know what really happened.

I'm reading a modern war book entitled "the Good Soldiers" by David Finkel. It's about a Kansas battalion that deploys to Baghdad. It's a true story about the "surge" in 2007 and the good men who fought and died there. It brings the Iraq war home more than any other book that I've read.

...Charles Lindbergh was indeed America's aviator hero, however; from this woman's point of view...Bessie Coleman is my real hero...
As our country will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the march on Washington at the end of this month much discussion will be centered on Martin Luther King and his dreams...
However; out on the front lines have been woman like myself who have been fighting for equal rights and equal pay for women too long.
Aviatrix Bessie Colman fought discrimination also...She however was fighting on two fronts, instead of one-being a woman and black..
(Great read for this summer...half hour at the most...Bessie Coleman -Daring Stunt Pilot by Trina Robbins available on Amazon)
She had one other strike against her...She came from humble beginnings...but my God she walked 9 miles everyday to school just to learn how to fly...and the saddest part of her story she had to take pilot lessons in France, because no one in America would train a black woman to fly....We've come a long way but we need to go further...
2016 is going to be an interesting election...and I'lll wager that we have our first woman President...I don't gamble, with money so this would have to be a friendly wager...maybe a shared root-beer with you, Donna and Debbie and my Robert, and Christine, Billy and the rest of my family in front of the Washington Monument for the winner...Mr Marriott you can help us woman go about that for your legacy...

Respectfully submitted -

Patricia Patterson

Read Without Reservations within days of it being available! It was as enjoyable as I expected! My best book of the summer so far is Kahlad Housseni's And the Mountains Echoed. It is a great story and very well and wonderfully written. Biggest disappointment of my summer reading is Dan Brown's book Inferno. I could not even finish it. I may go back and read one of my favorites The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - one of my all-time top ten.