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Roosevelt's Lost Alliances:
How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War
Frank Costigliola

Winner of the 2013 Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
Honorable Mention for the 2012 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in U.S. History, Association of American Publishers

Paperback | 2013 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691157924
Hardcover | 2012 | $35.00 | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691121291
544 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 26 halftones.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400839520 |
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In the spring of 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe was approaching, the shape of the postwar world hinged on the personal politics and flawed personalities of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Roosevelt's Lost Alliances captures this moment and shows how FDR crafted a winning coalition by overcoming the different habits, upbringings, sympathies, and past experiences of the three leaders. In particular, Roosevelt trained his famous charm on Stalin, lavishing respect on him, salving his insecurities, and rendering him more amenable to compromise on some matters.

Yet, even as he pursued a lasting peace, FDR was alienating his own intimate circle of advisers and becoming dangerously isolated. After his death, postwar cooperation depended on Harry Truman, who, with very different sensibilities, heeded the embittered "Soviet experts" his predecessor had kept distant. A Grand Alliance was painstakingly built and carelessly lost. The Cold War was by no means inevitable.

This landmark study brings to light key overlooked documents, such as the Yalta diary of Roosevelt's daughter Anna; the intimate letters of Roosevelt's de facto chief of staff, Missy LeHand; and the wiretap transcripts of estranged adviser Harry Hopkins. With a gripping narrative and subtle analysis, Roosevelt's Lost Alliances lays out a new approach to foreign relations history. Frank Costigliola highlights the interplay between national political interests and more contingent factors, such as the personalities of leaders and the culturally conditioned emotions forming their perceptions and driving their actions. Foreign relations flowed from personal politics--a lesson pertinent to historians, diplomats, and citizens alike.


"The premise that 'the Cold War was not inevitable' launches this penetrating, personality-focused exploration of its WWII roots and the late 20th century conflict whose aftershocks are still being felt today. Costigliola (Awkward Dominion) is deft in his characterization of the Big Three: Churchill--boyish, flamboyant, and thrilled by armed conflict; Stalin--a piercingly intelligent former seminarian capable of merciless brutality for the sake of a cause; and FDR--the fulcrum, a blue-blooded trickster willing both to humor Churchill's nude effusiveness as a guest in the White House and win at Yalta the honest admiration of the insecure Stalin. With all the trappings of a dramatic HBO series (sex, intrigue, hierarchy, and global and historical resonance) Costigliola dutifully traces the reasons Roosevelt's vision of three (or four) world policemen committed to global stability failed to win out in the post-war near-term."--Publishers Weekly

"Even with 60 years of writing on the Cold War's origins behind us, Roosevelt's Lost Alliances can boast of a novel thesis."--Jordan Michael Smith,

"This well-written work, based on extensive use of the private papers, personal correspondence, and published memoirs of the major participants, provides an interesting perspective on the wartime alliance and the origins of the Cold War, guaranteed to spark discussion."--Choice

"In Roosevelt's Lost Alliances Costigliola deploys a finely tuned methodology to produce a learned and satisfying histoire totale of the inner workings of the Big Three wartime alliance and the reasons for its demise. He re-examines familiar material in the light of new questions and draws on previously ignored or under-utilized sources, of which the ones by women are especially important."--Michaela Hoenicke Moore, H-Diplo

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