The Two Hotel Francforts Pdf Summary
It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe—a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal’s neutrality, and the world’s future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters—Julia’s status as a Jew, Pete and Edward’s improbable affair, Iris’s increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage—begin to come loose. This journey will change their lives irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war.
Gorgeously written, sexually and politically charged, David Leavitt’s long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well put together book about a history making national debate in the U.S.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 9, 2016
This book deals with the full throated debate that involved the nation prior to its’ entrance into World War II. It deals with a little known group named America First that existed prior to the Second World War. America First, is a term which has only recently become known again in politics as a slogan for the Trump Campaign. However, avid historians, both amateur and professional are familiar with the slogan’s initial iteration in the 1930’s as the name of that group, which started out as an isolationist group that initially, was all about keeping America or the U.S. out of World War II. At its’ center are two towering figures of the 1930’s, Charles Lindberg, the Lone Eagle – the first man who crossed the Atlantic ocean in an airplane, and FDR, president of the United States. Charles Lindberg was on one side, that of the isolationists, which was a strain of politics, beliefs, nativism and inward looking, that has always existed in this country to varying degrees and fervor, and FDR was on the other side which could only be called the internationalist wing of politics, looking, testing the winds of public opinion, and trying to find a way to bring the country to the aid of the embattled anti-Fascist European countries. The arguments over whether to enter the war was surrounded by controversy and the arguments separated families, newspapers, towns, and colleges all throughout America. It even separated the political parties into various factions. They in turn were surrounded by a vivid cast of characters that seems to include everyone who was anyone at the time, and quite a few people who would later in the century go on to become someone.
This includes Father Coughlin and the anti-Semitic people who followed him and listened to his radio program. These people would later become big followers of the America First groups through its’ local chapters, turning it from a simple isolationist group that advocated staying out of WWII into a group which became more known for its’ anti-Semitic rhetoric and the brawls that occurred outside of isolationist rallies. In addition to Charles Lindberg, his wife Anne Morrow Lindberg, her family who were ardent internationalists also appear. Her father had been ambassador to Mexico and her sister was married to an Englishman whose friends included many people who hoped to bring in the U.S. into WWII, on the side of the British. The author of the children’s classic, The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a pilot for the Free French also makes an appearance shortly before his disappearance as does Henry “Hap” Arnold, the Air Force Chief of Staff, Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, George Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Truman Smith, an anti-Roosevelt critic, who was also an active duty military officer and the top army analyst in Germany for Marshall, and Alfred Wedemeyer, who would rise to become deputy Army Chief of Staff , and the man who created the Victory program of planning for the amount of arms, men, and materiel such as guns, bullets, blankets and food that would be needed to invade Europe. Wedemeyer had attended the prestigious German Staff College, the Kriegsacademie, but he was also an ardent isolationist. Many people who were also ardent interventionists, such as Grenville Clark make an appearance. Clark, a Manhattan attorney, architect of the draft and was a member of the Century Group, a group that was intended to counter balance the America First Group also make an appearance which was full of many people who were then influential, including many newspaper publishers.
Many people who would later become famous also make an appearance, such as Sargent Shriver, who would go on to head the brand new Peace Corps under John F. Kennedy- he later quipped that they thought the Peace Corps would be a failure and didn’t want the bad reputation, and Kingman Brewer who would go on to become the president of Yale and later on ambassador to the Court of Saint James, (Ambassador to the United Kingdom). They had been fervent members of the America First Chapters at their respective colleges. Even appearing are some early feminists such as Helen Reid, publisher of the New York Herald Tribune and Time and Life Magazine publisher Henry Luce.
Also making an appearance are a class of people who were some of the biggest movers and shakers of the time, and as a result were very famous then, but are now largely ignored- newspaper publishers. In a time, before Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Friendster, Myspace or any other sort of social media, where the media was only radio and newspapers and not social, newspaper publishers had outsized influence on the political life of the country, in a way that would seem strange now. Imagine a time when Kim Kardashian having a column in the daily living pages and people looking to her for advice about whether or not to go to war. Their opinion columns and who they backed for president and what they thought should be done in foreign policy carried far more weight than they do today for reasons which are understandable once you stop and look at them. Today, we have a veritable smorgasbord of cable TV channels, online websites and AM and FM radio.
In the late 1930s media was largely limited to newspapers, and a weekly photography magazine, called LIFE. This combined with the then new media of radio were it where media was concerned.. Hence the appearance of newspaper publishers in Chicago(the Chicago Daily Tribune and the Chicago Daily News), Kentucky (The Louisville Courier Journal), New York ( Daily News, New Yorker, Evening World, Herald Tribune, New York Post, the New York Times, the New York Tribune, and the New York World), Michigan (the Dearborn Independent), the Army and Navy Journal, the Atlantic Monthly, Time, the Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Affairs, the Scripps Howard newspaper chain, even the Harvard Crimson, and the appearance of the publisher of LIFE magazine.
People who are also familiar with U.S. politics will also spot familiar figures such as Wendell Willkie, the Republican nominee for the 1940 election and long-time Congressman Claude Pepper to name just a few. However also making an appearance because she was a big backer of him and was instrumental in his entering the race is Wilkie’s mistress. His wife, also makes an appearance but only because she is not on the campaign trail, but back at home. In fact, Wilkie’s mistress campaigned with him, a fact that would make modern day politicians green with envy. The chief thing to note is that no newspaper reporter bothered to point out that the woman who was campaigning with Wilkie was his mistress and not his wife. Newspaper reporters had long known about Wilkie’s relationship, but had left it out of their newspapers- another thing which would make modern day politicians green with envy. In short, everyone who was anyone appears in this book.
All of this narration is brought together by the skillful use of the newspaper articles from around the entire country and books of the time because so much of the politics was local American politics, and writers at the time were frequently in the forefront of this momentous debate. The end result is a unique slice of life about a time in this country’s history that has disappeared, a lengthy debate about a momentous decision the country was about to make, shortly before this country stepped onto the international stage. In less skillful hands, this sort of storytelling could and would have become very boring or become overwhelming.
3.0 out of 5 stars Comparing apples to oranges and a good deal else
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 3, 2020
One of the comments on the book’s initial inside page states that the book is “deeply researched” and “scrupulously even-handed”.
I agree with the first. But, in saying this I think that the author might well have researched too much. As I will explain, there are too many chapters that lead the reader down side streets, and that have little or nothing to do with Roosevelt or Lindbergh, the projected main characters in the book. And, as far as being “scrupulously even-handed” the book comes up short here, also. There are more than double the amount of pages devoted to FDR’s activities, as well there might be in that he was President during these fateful years, and yet his own character is not really explored to the fullest. The author constantly reminds us that he was the consummate politician and did not want to get out in front of American public opinion in his commitments to England and the war in Europe. But, there was so much more about him that might have broken some new ground here. Nor was there any mention of his family or his personal life. Inexplicably, Eleanor was not even mentioned in the book.
On the other hand, the book never appeared to be “scrupulously even-handed” Sure, the author was critical of both Roosevelt and Lindbergh, but simply never in the same way. Although far less of the book’s 461 pages was devoted to Lindbergh, I felt I learned much more about him. It is true that some of this is because I knew much less about him prior to reading the book. Yet, I also felt that I was given a much deeper insight into why Lindbergh acted as he did. There seemed to be more to learn and understand here.
He became a much more interesting personality.
And, then another compelling difference for me was the number of pages the author devoted to his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She became the third leading character in the book and her story was at times quite poignant. I learned that she came from a wealthy family, was highly educated and became a leading author in her day. Left on her own with the children much of the time, she paid the price of her husband’s fame too much and yet did not have any real input into either his activities or his political views, many of which seemed inadvisably controversial. There was also occasional attention paid to her close relation with her mother and sister, several of her children, and, of course, the kidnaping and murder of their first son, Charles. Remember that in comparison, there was absolutely nothing about Eleanor Roosevelt or any other member of their family. Her name isn’t even listed in the book’s index. It really seems that, under the circumstances, it somehow and in some way should have been Put in a different way, the pages on FDR read more like a history text; those on Lindbergh a compellingly personal biography.
As I said initially, a second critique of the book is that I often felt that the author’s effort suffered too much from too much research. Pre-World War Two America was a controversial time and there were certainly many different participants in the national dialogue, but if an important central theme was to be the different opinions of FDR and Lindbergh, too many side roads were ventured down. On the one hand, I was interested to read about 1940 Republican Presidential nominee, Wendell Wilkie, and come to understand the important role he played , not only as a “dark horse’ Republican presidential nominee in 1940, but otherwise for his signal contributions during both the war & the immediate post-war years. Of equal interest was Phillip Kerr, or Lord Lothian, as he was known in both America and England, the British ambassador to the United States in the years both immediately prior to our entry into the war. The appointment of an English ambassador that was well liked in America was seldom, if ever, normal. News of his untimely death in 1940 was sadly received on both sides of the ocean.
But, there were often too many other stories that crowded the pages. The coverage of other pre-war opponents, even more directly involved in the national dialogue than Lindbergh, often seemed endless.. More than considerable coverage was given to the activities of anti-war organization like America First and pro-war advocates like the Century Group. There was frequent mention of disagreements between members of Congress and the military, the disparity of editorial opinion in the nation’s leading newspapers and even an entire chapter devoted to spying activities by both America, Britain & Germany both prior to and after our entry into the war. Getting back to reading about FDR and especially Lindbergh and his family was most often a welcome change.
In fairness, the subtitle on the book’s cover reads “Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War Two.” There was much to learn here, for certain. But, any suggestion that this was to be a book so primarily about the conflict between FDR and Lindbergh, as the inclusion of their two pictures on the cover appears to project, is not fully accurate, and in fact, a fair bit misleading.
Edward B. Crutchley
5.0 out of 5 stars The heroics it took to turn American opinion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 7, 2013
This is a thrilling story and a memorable book, even when knowing the outcome beforehand. It interestingly shows quite a few parallels with today and raises many questions about the democratic process. America believed it had been duped into joining WW1 and, despite the efforts of the likes of William Shirer and Ed Murrow, was not about to put as much trust in perfidious Albion again (anyway, its army then was no bigger than Britain’s today). There was, justifiably so, the pathological fear of giving the President too much power, an incumbent refusing to take the initiative when he needed to and would certainly have won, and all too often bling followed by inertia. Obstructive Republicans, bar some notable exceptions, took positions quite contrary to what the Gallup polls were showing. Influence peddling was rife; opinion swaying was in the hands of the elite plus a few secretly implanted Brits; an East Coast clique showed its profound differences with the rest of the country; Hollywood was fearful that its Eastern European connections would be perceived as sources of propaganda and stir up anti-Semitic fervour. The book explores in detail the huge effort and heroics it took to turn American opinion, the battles required merely to supply a bunch of rusted WW1 destroyers to keep the Atlantic lanes open in 1940 and then for Lend-Lease. Increasingly, those who were not on board, including Lindbergh, were written off as pro-Nazi. The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) invented McCarthyism before the man himself. Even the ACLU banned extremist politics in its ranks. Gradually things started to move, America occupied Iceland in a move that justified the protection of Britain-bound convoys to that point. But in grim reality it took Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war after it before things really got going in order to save Europe. Highly recommended.
About David Leavitt Author Of The Two Hotel Francforts pdf Book
Leavitt Author Of The Two Hotel Francforts pdf Book is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida, where he is the co-director of the creative writing program. He is also the editor of Subtropics magazine, The University of Florida’s literary review.
Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work. He divides his time between Florida and Tuscany, Italy.
The Two Hotel Francforts pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- ASIN : B009UAO1ZG
- Publisher : Random House (March 26, 2013)
- Publication date : March 26, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 7505 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 716 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #371,800 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #282 in International Relations (Kindle Store)
- #1,041 in WWII Biographies
- #1,251 in World War II History (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars 621 ratings
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