1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History – Book Review

Jay Winik, the No.1 bestselling author of books like The Great Upheaval, April 1865, On the Brink, etc is notable for his creative work in terms of history. 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History is yet another accomplished chronological book unveiling the anonymities and events of 1944, the last year of World War II, and sheds light over the agonizingly decisions taken by the then President Franklin Roosevelt.

According to Winik, somewhere in the winning of World War II, which at that point seemed it would never end, Roosevelt missed his only “Liberation Proclamation Moment”; the one chance he had to make this war turn into something bigger, especially for the cosmic humanitarian tragedies that occurred in the Nazi-controlled Europe.

1944 could have been the year that thwarted the Allies and ended Hitler’s weakening power forever. But because of Roosevelt’s failure to decisively address the Holocaust which Winston Churchill calls ‘the greatest outburst in the history’, millions died leaving a perturbing gap echoing in the history aggravating historians for decades. Preoccupied with his re-election campaign, combined with a sluggish indifferent bureaucratic structure, Roosevelt ignored and left the desperate refugees in death camps, despite welcoming them initially. He knew sending them back would mean death for them and yet took despotic decisions. The moment the President truly faltered was when his acquiescence was implied in the mass genocide of the Jews, placing a dark cloud in history forever.

Winik brings a stunningly fresh look to the most pivotal year of the 20th century which he believed could have been the turning point in the history of the world.  The book tells the event with such moral clarity, detailed scene-settings, unprecedented sweep, and deft storytelling that you will be left astonished and awed.

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