Citizens of London

Citizens of London

The Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

Book - 2010
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Random House, Inc.
In Citizens of London, Lynne Olson has written a work of World War II history even more relevant and revealing than her acclaimed Troublesome Young Men. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

The three—Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain—formed close ties with Winston Churchill and were drawn into Churchill’s official and personal circles. So intense were their relationships with the Churchills that they all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister’s family: Harriman and Murrow with Churchill’s daughter-in-law, Pamela, and Winant with his favorite daughter, Sarah. 
Others were honorary “citizens of London” as well, including the gregarious, fiercely ambitious Dwight D. Eisenhower, an obscure general who, as the first commander of American forces in Britain, was determined to do everything in his power to make the alliance a success, and Tommy Hitchcock, a world-famous polo player and World War I fighter pilot who helped save the Allies’ bombing campaign against Germany.

Citizens of London, however, is more than just the story of these Americans and the world leaders they aided and influenced. It’s an engrossing account of the transformative power of personal diplomacy and, above all, a rich, panoramic tale of two cities: Washington, D.C., a lazy Southern town slowly growing into a hub of international power, and London, a class-conscious capital transformed by the Blitz into a model of stoic grace under violent pressure and deprivation. Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field.

Baker & Taylor
The behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant.

& Taylor

A major new history of World War II outlines the development of America's pivotal wartime alliance with England while focusing on the contributions played by Averell Harriman, Edward R. Murrow and John Gilbert Winant. By the author of the L.A. Times Book Prize finalist Troublesome Young Men.
Outlines the development of America's pivotal wartime alliance with England while focusing on the roles played by Averell Harriman, Edward R. Murrow, and John Gilbert Winant.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400067589
Branch Call Number: 940.54 OL8c
Characteristics: xix, 471 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports ; 24 cm


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Mar 16, 2017

Olson’s engaging book chronicles the lives of three Americans who were center stage on one of history’s biggest stages—London in WW II. You think you’ve read so much about this time and people. I learned some things. Recommended not only for the history, but the personal stories.

Feb 13, 2016

Excellent look at life in England during WW II. Written so that the personalities of the main characters come alive. Would strongly recommend to any History buff.

Feb 10, 2016

e-book, CD, AD also

Feb 26, 2015

An excellent book about WWII; the characters, strategy, and alliances that contributed to the success of the war. The insights provided by Olson make the pages fly.

Sep 15, 2014

Standard operating procedure, as they used to say in the military. Averell Harriman was an investor in the Third Reich [along with the Rockefellers, Morgans, du Ponts, Ford, et cetera], so it stands to reason his subsequent behavior - - or is that real history? Averell Harriman's rebel-like, traitorous behavior in talks in Vietnam, ignoring the directives of his commander-in-chief and president, John F. Kennedy, was just about to have gotten him fired, save for JFK being assassinated! [Look at the present and all those defense industry consultants - - never properly identified - - who go on Fox and CNN and NPR, et cetera, pushing for war in Ukraine, war in the Middle East and on and on. Who profits, and follow the money, please?

Sep 15, 2014

I highly recommend Citizens of London for anyone interested in US history and our involvement in WWII. It provides a detailed story of what was happening behind the scenes in the US and in England. It gave me a much better understanding of the issues of the time, and renewed appreciation for those who chose to support the British. I hadn't known about Gil Winant before, but have a great deal of respect for the man. At a ceremony to honor the American forces who landed in France on D-Day, he said that if man was to survive in this perilous new period, "he must learn to live together in friendship," to act "as if the welfare of a neighboring nation was almost as important as the welfare of your own." There is lots of food for thought for today throughout this book.

rlbecker Feb 03, 2011

This is a delightful blend of intrigue, diplomacy, British-American cooperation before and during World War II and much more. It is specifically about 3 Americans who help bring the US into the war and helped Roosevelt manage it once it was started. Most people have heard about Edward R. Murrow and some know of Averell Harriman, but few remember John Gilbert Winant, who held many jobs serving Roosevelt after serving as a governor himself before. The book was well written, nicely paced and very educational.


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