Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson
Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941


8 Critic Reviews

...Olson adroitly sifts through the many conflicting currents. A vivid, colorful evocation of a charged era.



From the acclaimed author of Citizens of London comes the definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World War II—a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world.
At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America’s isolationists emerged as the president’s most formidable adversary. Their contest of wills personified the divisions within the country at large, and Lynne Olson makes masterly use of their dramatic personal stories to create a poignant and riveting narrative. While FDR, buffeted by political pressures on all sides, struggled to marshal public support for aid to Winston Churchill’s Britain, Lindbergh saw his heroic reputation besmirched—and his marriage thrown into turmoil—by allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer.
Spanning the years 1939 to 1941, Those Angry Days vividly re-creates the rancorous internal squabbles that gripped the United States in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor. After Germany vanquished most of Europe, America found itself torn between its traditional isolationism and the urgent need to come to the aid of Britain, the only country still battling Hitler. The conflict over intervention was, as FDR noted, “a dirty fight,” rife with chicanery and intrigue, and Those Angry Days recounts every bruising detail. In Washington, a group of high-ranking military officers, including the Air Force chief of staff, worked to sabotage FDR’s pro-British policies. Roosevelt, meanwhile, authorized FBI wiretaps of Lindbergh and other opponents of intervention. At the same time, a covert British operation, approved by the president, spied on antiwar groups, dug up dirt on congressional isolationists, and planted propaganda in U.S. newspapers.
The stakes could not have been higher. The combatants were larger than life. With the immediacy of a great novel, Those Angry Days brilliantly recalls a time fraught with danger when the future of democracy and America’s role in the world hung in the balance.

Praise for Those Angry Days
“Powerfully [re-creates] this tenebrous era . . . Olson captures in spellbinding detail the key figures in the battle between the Roosevelt administration and the isolationist movement.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Popular history at its most riveting . . . In Those Angry Days, journalist-turned-historian Lynne Olson captures [the] period in a fast-moving, highly readable narrative punctuated by high drama.”—Associated Press
“Filled with fascinating anecdotes and surprising twists . . . With this stirring book, Lynne Olson confirms her status as our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.”—Madeleine K. Albright
“[An] absorbing chronicle . . . [Olson] doesn’t so much revisit a historical period as inhabit it; her scenes flicker as urgently as a newsreel.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Masterfully describes America’s conflicting opinions before Pearl Harbor . . . a comprehensive take on another era of angry divisions.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

From the Hardcover edition.

About Lynne Olson

See more books from this Author
Lynne Olson is the author of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour; Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England; and Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970, and co-author of two other books. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
Published March 26, 2013 by Random House. 576 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Apr 14 2013
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Those Angry Days
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1


on Dec 15 2012

...Olson adroitly sifts through the many conflicting currents. A vivid, colorful evocation of a charged era.

Read Full Review of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jan 21 2013

Olson tells the story unerringly, but the book—however lively—is largely descriptive and short on ideas, argument, and point of view.

Read Full Review of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by Muriel Dobbin on Apr 03 2013

Perhaps too much of “Those Angry Days” is devoted to the awful Lindbergh and not enough to the indecisiveness of Roosevelt. However, this is a solidly researched history of how America fought its way out of isolationism...

Read Full Review of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, ... | See more reviews from Washington Times

The Economist

on Apr 27 2013

“Those Angry Days” describes a divided America that is little remembered now, amid (well-earned) praise for the greatest-generation years that followed.

Read Full Review of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, ... | See more reviews from The Economist

Christian Science Monitor

Reviewed by Danny Heitman on Mar 27 2013

Olson, a former journalist, proves especially resourceful at combing through newspaper archives to flesh out her narrative with evocative detail.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Reviewed by Charles Stephen on May 19 2013

This is a brilliant book, opinionated but not harsh, and thorough. It never slows down. It tells the reader of a vital period in our history as a nation, a period some of us might have forgotten or overlooked.

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Reviewed by Jordan Michael Smith on May 29 2013

“Those Angry Days,’’ a factual account of America’s years immediately preceding World War II. No fictional characters are included, and none are needed.

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Lehigh Valley Live

Reviewed by Jerry Harkavy on Apr 01 2013

“Those Angry Days” is popular history at its most riveting...

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