The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941–1942

by Nigel Hamilton

A dramatic, eye-opening account of how FDR took personal charge of the military direction of World War II.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544227842
  • ISBN-10: 0544227840
  • Pages: 544
  • Publication Date: 05/19/2015
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book
    Longlisted for the National Book Award 


    “This bold argument . . . will undoubtedly change the way we see Franklin Roosevelt.” 

    Christian Science Monitor 



    Wall Street Journal 


    A dramatic, eye-opening account of how FDR took personal charge of the military direction of World War II 


    Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving Roosevelt aides and family members, The Mantle of Command offers a radical new perspective on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s masterful — and underappreciated — leadership of the Allied war effort. After the disaster of Pearl Harbor, we see Roosevelt devising a global strategy that will defeat Hitler and the Japanese, rescue Churchill and the British people, and quell a near insurrection of his own American generals and War Department. All the while, Hamilton’s account drives toward Operation Torch — the invasion of French Northwest Africa — and the outcome of the war hangs in the balance. The Mantle of Command is an intimate, sweeping look at a great President in history’s greatest conflict.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
  • Reviews

    The Mantle of Command is splendid: It’s the memoir Roosevelt didn’t get to write.” 

    New York Times Book Review


    —Wall Street Journal

    “A definitive volume on this aspect of Roosevelt’s career and essential reading for anyone interested in WWII, the Roosevelt Presidency, and presidential leadership.” 

    —Publishers Weekly

    “This convincingly written and gripping volume is essential for historians, political scientists, and history buffs, for a deeper understanding of the principle of civilian supremacy of the military in the U.S. political system.” 

    —Library Journal, STARRED

    “A deeply engrossing study of the first year of Franklin Roosevelt’s prescient military leadership in World War II...Lively, elucidating, elegant and highly knowledgeable.” 

    —Kirkus, STARRED

    “Hamilton is tantamount to the amanuensis for the memoir FDR never wrote...well researched and confident in its conclusions, Hamilton’s study ably augments the gallery of WWII leaders.” 


    “Nigel Hamilton’s Mantle of Command is a stirring and noteworthy book about Roosevelt’s crucial role as commander-in-chief during World War II. Hamilton writes with insight, passion, and a great grasp of history. I believe this book will become the standard by which other books about FDR’s role in World War II will be measured.” 

    —Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War and Warlord: A Life of Churchill at War, 1874–1945

    “This is not the Roosevelt (or Churchill) you'd expect. From the start, an aggressive, in-charge FDR emerges from a wonderful weaving of established scholarship and the fascinating bits and pieces that make history live. Churchill is an inspirational nag, with a busy, unfocused strategic vision. A key entry into the ongoing debate over who made grand strategy in the early war years — Roosevelt or Churchill?” 

    —Warren F. Kimball, author of Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War

    “Nigel Hamilton in Mantle of Command presents a very different wartime Franklin Delano Roosevelt than the one we are used to seeing. Whether or not one agrees with all his conclusions, Hamilton clearly shows that FDR was an extremely strong and effective commander-in-chief. This volume should go a long way to dispelling popular myths about Roosevelt as a naïve and weak war leader.” 

    —Mark Stoler, editor of the George C. Marshall Papers & Professor Emeritus of History, University of Vermont

    “Nigel Hamilton has written a spirited and thoughtful ‘revisionist’ study of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as commander-in-chief during the first phase of U.S. involvement in the Second World War. Hamilton’s narrative skill brings alive the human dramas, logistic hurdles, and strategic debates to show how FDR’s indispensable drive and forward-looking leadership tamed his own ‘team of rivals’ and set the United States and its Allies on the road to victory over the Axis. The books enlivens the often murky worlds of bureaucratic struggle and military detail to demonstrate how important it was for the United States to ‘get it right’ early in the war and how FDR accomplished this.” 

    —Michael Schaller, author of Douglas MacArthur & Regents Professor of History, University of Arizona

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