Roosevelt's Lost Alliances by Frank Costigliola
How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War

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In the spring of 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe was approaching, the shape of the postwar world hinged on the personal politics and flawed personalities of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Roosevelt's Lost Alliances captures this moment and shows how FDR crafted a winning coalition by overcoming the different habits, upbringings, sympathies, and past experiences of the three leaders. In particular, Roosevelt trained his famous charm on Stalin, lavishing respect on him, salving his insecurities, and rendering him more amenable to compromise on some matters.

Yet, even as he pursued a lasting peace, FDR was alienating his own intimate circle of advisers and becoming dangerously isolated. After his death, postwar cooperation depended on Harry Truman, who, with very different sensibilities, heeded the embittered "Soviet experts" his predecessor had kept distant. A Grand Alliance was painstakingly built and carelessly lost. The Cold War was by no means inevitable.

This landmark study brings to light key overlooked documents, such as the Yalta diary of Roosevelt's daughter Anna; the intimate letters of Roosevelt's de facto chief of staff, Missy LeHand; and the wiretap transcripts of estranged adviser Harry Hopkins. With a gripping narrative and subtle analysis, Roosevelt's Lost Alliances lays out a new approach to foreign relations history. Frank Costigliola highlights the interplay between national political interests and more contingent factors, such as the personalities of leaders and the culturally conditioned emotions forming their perceptions and driving their actions. Foreign relations flowed from personal politics--a lesson pertinent to historians, diplomats, and citizens alike.


About Frank Costigliola

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Frank Costigliola is professor of history at the University of Connecticut and former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is the author of "France and the United States" and "Awkward Dominion".
Published December 27, 2011 by Princeton University Press. 544 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Roosevelt kept the three Allies working together to fend off the Nazi menace, balancing the tenacity of Churchill with the ruthlessness of Stalin by sheer dint of Roosevelt’s magnetic personality.

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Publishers Weekly

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With all the trappings of a dramatic HBO series (sex, intrigue, hierarchy, and global and historical resonance) Costigliola dutifully traces the reasons Roosevelt's vision of three (or four) world policemen committed to global stability failed to win out in the post-war near-term.

Feb 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: H...

London Review of Books

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The New York Review of Books

Halik Kochanski, the author of a new and most thorough book on Poland during World War II, argues that in the summer of 1941, when the Soviets were desperate for Western help, “Britain could credibly have bargained with the Soviet Union over Poland’s future.”6 But in fact, as Kochanski herself ad...

Mar 21 2013 | Read Full Review of Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: H...

Literary Review

The origins of the Cold War can be traced as much to these countries opting for an alliance with the United States in order to stave off potential Soviet aggression as they can to the changing perceptions in the United States itself - even though the two, of course, are linked.

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