Peter Shinkle worked for 19 years as a reporter before bringing an investigative journalist’s eye to writing about American history. His forthcoming Uniting America, How FDR and Henry Stimson Brought Democrats and Republicans Together to Win World War II paints a detailed picture of how the Democratic president, Franklin Roosevelt, and the former Republican secretary of state, Henry Stimson, built a bipartisan alliance to defend American democracy from its fascist enemies, Japan and Nazi Germany.
Uniting America breaks new ground, revealing that Stimson and Roosevelt met repeatedly and shared a philosophy of defending democracy as long as six years prior to FDR’s appointment of the Republican as secretary of war in 1940. It also reveals Stimson’s successful effort behind the scenes to broker a pivotal relationship between FDR and the Republican 1940 presidential nominee, Wendell Willkie. Uniting America depicts Stimson’s bipartisan collaboration with FDR all the way through the war and then, after FDR’s death in 1945, with his successor, President Harry Truman.
In 2018, Shinkle published Ike’s Mystery Man, the Secret Lives of Robert Cutler, a biography of the closeted gay man who was at the center of President Dwight Eisenhower’s national security team as Cold War tensions and the nuclear arms race ratcheted up. Cutler, who was Shinkle’s great uncle, helped Eisenhower issue an executive order in 1953 that spurred a purge of homosexuals from the federal government.
Cutler himself narrowly escaped an investigation into homosexuals in the Eisenhower White House that was personally conducted by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Cutler also secretly fell in love with a young Russian-speaking intelligence officer whom he hired to work on the staff of the National Security Council.
A native of St. Louis, Shinkle graduated from the University of Virginia in 1983 with a major in Russian Language and Literature. He then worked in France as a translator of Russian and French for organizations including CNN, NBC and the US government-run Voice of America. Shinkle later attended the Columbia University School of Journalism, earning a master’s degree in journalism in 1987.
He subsequently worked for news organizations including the Associated Press, the Baton Rouge Advocate and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He covered various beats, ranging from education to the federal court system. He also wrote investigative stories on subjects ranging from improper disposal of radioactive waste to the political influence of the payday loan industry. After leaving daily journalism, Shinkle earned an Executive MBA degree from Washington University in St. Louis and worked in industrial construction and digital marketing while writing on Ike’s Mystery Man.
Shinkle lives with his wife Meg in Barrington, Rhode Island. They have two adult children and one dog.
How FDR and Henry Stimson
Brought Democrats and Republicans
Together to Win World War II
As Adolf Hitler’s Nazi armies seized control of European countries, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged a divided America to mobilize in preparation for war to defend democracy and freedom. Many Republicans accused FDR of leading the nation needlessly into war and demanded that America remain neutral. Then, on June 20, 1940, FDR shocked the world by announcing that two prominent Republicans would take posts in his Cabinet in the name of national unity. Henry Stimson, former President Herbert Hoover’s secretary of state, became Secretary of War, and Frank Knox, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1936, became Secretary of the Navy.
Forming an alliance across party lines was a bold move that ran contrary to partisan pressures and political convenience. It also placed a bipartisan relationship at the center of America’s confrontation with global fascism. Stimson and Knox drew other Republicans in to support Roosevelt, garnering public approval and helping FDR win the 1940 presidential election. Stimson and Knox played critical roles in leading the war effort, the nation’s capital gained a new spirit of collaboration, and many bills passed Congress during the war years with backing from both parties.
Stimson was the alliance’s most high-profile Republican member, and after Roosevelt’s death he extended his bipartisan partnership to FDR’s successor, President Harry S. Truman, until the end of the war. In a nation so often marked by political upheaval, the FDR-Stimson bipartisan coalition stands as a historic act of political courage that led America to victory in World War II.
Uniting America by Peter Shinkle is the first book to paint a full portrait of this extraordinary collaboration, tracing it back to its origins in 1933. Shinkle reveals the true extent of bipartisanship during the war, including previously undisclosed information about Stimson’s work with 1940 Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie and other Republicans who supported FDR. This fascinating and deeply researched book is a must-read for anyone who believes America must once again unite to defend democracy.
Ike's Mystery Man
The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler
Ike's Mystery Man tells how Eisenhower's National Security Advisor Robert "Bobby" Cutler - working alongside Ike and also the Dulles brothers at the CIA and State Department - shaped US Cold War strategy in far more consequential ways than has been previously understood. Bobby also left behind a six-volume diary which reveals that he was in love with a man half his age, NSC staffer Skip Koons. Their friend Steve Benedict, who also is gay, became Ike's White House Security Officer. In addition to Bobby's diary, Ike's Mystery Man relies on thousands of personal letters, interviews, and previously classified archives to tell a gripping story that has never before been told.
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