Roosevelt's Secret War by Joseph E. Persico
FDR and World War II Espionage

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Despite all that has already been written on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Persico has uncovered a hitherto overlooked dimension of FDR's wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations.

Roosevelt's Secret War is crowded with remarkable revelations:
-FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector from Hitler's inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office
-Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler's plan to invade Russia
-Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers' lives in order to protect Ultra, the British codebreaking secret
-An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with a direct pipeline into Hitler's councils

Roosevelt's Secret War also describes how much FDR had been told--before the Holocaust--about the coming fate of Europe's Jews. And Persico also provides a definitive answer to the perennial question Did FDR know in advance about the attack on Pearl Harbor?

By temperament and character, no American president was better suited for secret warfare than FDR. He manipulated, compartmentalized, dissembled, and misled, demonstrating a spymaster's talent for intrigue. He once remarked, "I never let my right hand know what my left hand does." Not only did Roosevelt create America's first central intelligence agency, the OSS, under "Wild Bill" Donovan, but he ran spy rings directly from the Oval Office, enlisting well-placed socialite friends.

FDR was also spied against. Roosevelt's Secret War presents evidence that the Soviet Union had a source inside the Roosevelt White House; that British agents fed FDR total fabrications to draw the United States into war; and that Roosevelt, by yielding to Churchill's demand that British scientists be allowed to work on the Manhattan Project, enabled the secrets of the bomb to be stolen. And these are only a few of the scores of revelations in this constantly surprising story of Roosevelt's hidden role in World War II.

About Joseph E. Persico

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Joseph E. Persico is the author of Roosevelt's Secret War; Franklin and Lucy; Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour; Piercing the Reich; and Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, which was made into a television docudrama. He also collaborated with Colin Powell on his autobiography, My American Journey. He lives in Guilderland, New York.
Published November 6, 2001 by Random House. 592 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Roosevelt's Secret War

Kirkus Reviews

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Pausing occasionally to introduce another great man (always a man), the author describes how, under FDR’s benign but never inattentive authority, they directed the war from the frustrations of neutrality, the outrage and scramble to arm after Pearl Harbor and the massive if often clumsily fought ...

Mar 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR a...

Kirkus Reviews

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Persico reveals that FDR was convinced that Charles Lindbergh was a Nazi and that Churchill did not conceal any knowledge of an imminent Luftwaffe raid on Coventry to prevent the Nazis from concluding that the British had cracked the German Enigma code.

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Publishers Weekly

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Persico (Roosevelt's Secret War ) engagingly and eloquently narrates the tangled relationships between Franklin and the various women to whom he became close, including his mother;

Jan 21 2008 | Read Full Review of Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR a...


But this psychologically perceptive book is as much an emotional biography of Franklin and Eleanor as it is about the somewhat elusive Lucy, the "intelligent listener."

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London Review of Books

Johnson is an emeritus fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he taught politics and sociology.

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Project MUSE

Persico considers FDR's support of OSS, which paved the way to the CIA, as one of the president's greatest accomplishments—"FDR built espionage into the structure of American government when he created OSS" (p.

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