The Guardian Review: Uniting America: how FDR and the GOP beat fascism home and away

Charles Lindbergh casts a shadow over Peter Shinkle’s new book, which ends with a warning about Trump and his party

Charles Kaiser
Sun 27 Nov 2022 02.00 EST

The subtitle of this remarkable popular history is “How FDR and Henry Stimson Brought Democrats and Republicans together to Win World War II”, Stimson being the Republican Franklin Roosevelt chose as secretary of war on 19 June 1940, the same day he chose another Republican, Frank Knox, for secretary of the navy.

Those appointments came five weeks after the king asked Winston Churchill to form a unity government in Great Britain, two weeks after 338,000 French and British troops were rescued at Dunkirk, and four weeks before Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented third term, all events featured in this compelling volume.

But Peter Shinkle’s book is a great deal more than a celebration of the bipartisanship that was a key factor in American success. It also offers brisk accounts of all US campaigns in Africa and Europe, a detailed description of how Pearl Harbor happened, and the best explanation I have read of why the government pursued its disastrous policy of interning Japanese Americans.

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