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Rendezvous With Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World
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Rendezvous With Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  207 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The remarkable untold story of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the five extraordinary men he used to pull America into World War II

The period between Hitler’s invasion of Poland and the attack on Pearl Harbor was the turning point of the twentieth century.

When war broke out in Europe in 1939, Americans were eager to isolate themselves from the conflict. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hardcover, 468 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Penguin Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This book deals almost entirely of the diplomatic exchanges between England and America and the events between 1939 and 1941 which led to America becoming involved in what would become WW2. It goes into quite a bit of detail about the background and politics of the the five men Roosevelt depended on to bring about our involvement, which makes it an interesting read for those interested in the history of that era, as well, of course, W. Churchill.
That being said, I felt it got a bit bogged down
Courtney Smith Atkins
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Do you play trivia very much? Are you able to retain interesting facts easily? This is the book for you! I don't play trivia and always like to think I can retain these interesting tidbits but never seem to! This book was too long for me and lost my interest. I couldn't wait to be done. I do feel a splash smarter and can see how those that love FDR (did you know he slept on a cot?) would love this book.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every eye in the room in the small Scottish town filled with tears when Harry Hopkins said: 'Whither thou goest, I shall go...' The charming Harry Hopkins was one of the five envoys who President Roosevelt sent to Europe in the lead-up to the Second World War. This enthralling book by the Australian author, Michael Fullilove tells their stories.

There was the endearing Harry Hopkins, who had to be dressed properly by the valet at the prestigious Savoy Hotel, 'wild' Bill Donovan, patrician Sumner
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book covers the foreign policy of the Roosevelt Administration between the start of WWII in September 1939 and our joining the war in December of 1941. During this time FDR sent various envoys such as Wendell Willkie, Harry Hopkins, and Sumner Wells to Europe to both try to help broker an end to the war and, failing that, to prepare both the Allies and the American people for our joining the war. FDR's men were amazing. The story of Sumner Wells is my favorite. Wells was sent to meet with b ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very concentrated narrative about FDR’s personally chosen envoys to monitor and be his spokesman to Churchill and Stalin before the start of the US entry to WW II.
Sumner Welles, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Harry Hopkins, Averell Harriman, and Wendell Willkie were the non-official people he trusted.

I would say this was the best book for me that explained how FDR got around Congress and public opinion to assist Britain and Russia. He knew the US had to enter the war, but the isolationists (C
Grady McCallie
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Michael Fullilove is an Australian foreign policy thinker and writer. In Rendezvous with Destiny, Fullilove recounts the missions of five prominent Americans sent abroad by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his personal envoys between February 1940 and September 1941. During that time, FDR worked to ease a mostly isolationist America into a posture of support for Britain (and, to a much lesser extent, in support of the Soviet Union as well, at least in its opposition to Nazi Germany).

The bo
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very personal, well written history of how FDR got the information he needed to chart his course re WWII and our entry into the war on the side of Great Britain and Russia. It pulls from diaries, letters and personal accounts of this period, focusing on the men FDR used as his personal envoys since he didn't trust the State Department or some of his own ambassadors. He wanted a personal assessment of both Churchill and Stalin and about the commitment of the people of Great Britain and Russia t ...more
Peter Bono
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is well written and a quick read. Author Michael Fullilove describes the five men Franklin Roosevelt appointed as his personal envoys to England, Soviet Russia and pre-war Nazi Germany before the entry of the U.S. into WW2.
A quick bio is also given about each man. Sumner Welles, Bill Donovan, Harry Hopkins, Wendell Willkie and Averell Harriman. The book goes into each man's mission, their observations and reports to the President.
A plus is the thinking of FDR and why he chose each man
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Astounding and original work of history. This book chronicles the United States ramp up to ww2 by tracing the endeavors of a series of FDR's envoys whom he sent to Europe between the nazi invasion of Poland and Pearl Harbor to gather as much information as possible before leading a very reluctant nation back into war. Much of the stories in here have never been told, culled from personal papers of the envoys locked up in archives and attics.

The biggest hero (and I don't use that word lightly) i
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dont usually read books about the diplomatic endevours of other countries and found this one by Michael Fullilove to be really good. It took a little while to read and was really all about the beginnings of the Lend Lease program between Britain and the United States. The people involved were varied and different to each other and FDR was an excellent person to play his games. I had thought he book would span most of the war years, but it did not do so. This was something I found to be of inte ...more
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, wwii
I like how the author carefully distilled the reams of information that must exist on these five extraordinary presidential envoys to create a compact, easy-to-read history of the two years President Roosevelt inched the US into WWII. I became curious about Harry Hopkins and Averell Harriman after reading Churchill's WWII volumes, and this was a perfect supplementary introduction to those two men, along with Sumner Welles, Bill Donovan, and Wendell Wilkie, all of whom Roosevelt sent sniffing out ...more
Joshua Taylor
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do I give anything full marks, but after careful consideration I've decided the value and insight offered by Fullilove's WWII entry warrant a 5 out of 5. It is rare with a topic as heavily-covered as World War II to find something that provides a great deal of insight into a vital but rather obscure corner of the history. This book does just that by shedding light on the personal envoys that Roosevelt used to build bridges first with Churchill in Britain and then Stalin in the USSR. While ...more
How nations are brought into war vary from war to war and country to country. This work provides interesting details into how FDR prepared the country for entry into WW II on the side of the Allies. Knowing he faced isolationist and non-interventionists in both parties FDR used special envoys to ascertain the morale and capabilities of the Allies and the assistance they needed. This book covers the five special envoys and their missions. Each had his foibles and special capabilities all of which ...more
Mike Gabor
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellently researched and well written book about five men, dispatched by President Roosevelt to Europe from 1939 to 1941, in order to give him a full accounting of the situation there. The men were Sumner Welles, Bill Donovan, Harry Hopkins, Wendel Wilkie and Averill Harriman. The author gives us capsule biographies of all five and a detailed telling of their missions. I was pretty well informed previously of the missions by Donovan, Hopkins and Harriman but still found the retellings quite ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 4-stars
I won this book for free in a Goodreads Giveaway.
This book was pretty good considering I don't like to read history books mainly for the fact that history isn't as interesting as other genres that I indulge in. Rendezvous With Destiny is set around World War II and depicts in great detail of the events that occurred back in that time. It's an okay book to read if you happen to find a copy in your hands. Give it a try.
I hope you enjoy my review and the book Rendezvous With Destiny by Michael Full
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn't aware of this aspect of the early part of the war at all; however, reading this book makes you ask how it could have been done otherwise. Some things that come through especially clearly are Churchill's ebullience, the clarity with which the envoys completed their missions and FDR's guile in using them to achieve his ultimate aim of swaying public opinion toward the war. This book is very well done.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
An account of how FDR picked 5 men (Sumner Welles, Bill Donovan, Harry Hopkins, Wendell Willkie & Averell Harriman) to help him deal with our allies before our official entry into WW2 & to help him persuade the American public into accepting our role in helping them (Great Britain & Russia) & entering the war itself. Lots of notes & a comprehensive bibliography are included. I thought this book was well-written, interesting & informative.
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent history of special events that helped shape the final entry of the US into the war. Always more concerned with the defeat of German and helping England - FDR used emissaries in lieu of personal visits in part due to his infirmities. Well written, researched and easy to read, I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the history of WW2. Not much new ground covered, but familiar events put into new perspective.
Robert Melnyk
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting book about events leading up to America's entry into WWII, and the involvement of 5 men who assisted FDR during this time. The book delved into the relationships/interactions between these men, FDR, Churchill, and Stalin during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and how they impacted and determined America's foreign policy, and our eventual entry in WWII.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
My favorite history is about this period. This excellent book ties the actions of noteworthy, even extraordinary men, in a couple of cases, into a whole. It makes their roles in changing history clear. The United States was lucky to have the conjunction of such bright, energetic and loyal patriots at work.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
FDR and his 5 emissaries - Though set in recent history and recording the momentous events of USA entering WWII this book is a riveting tale of key characters their decisions and actions that may have changed the course of world history. Great language and imagery
Carla Cruit
Jul 11, 2013 marked it as to-read
James Brandtjen
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting look at the machinations behind the big dogs....
Vince Greensill
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed reading this Fullilove book. Great style and readability. The researching seems to have been extraordinary.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting look how FDR helped push public opinion toward supporting a struggling Great Britain at the beginning of WWII. More for serious history students than the casual reader
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A PBS/Ken Burns mini series waiting to happen. Excellent overview of the 5 personal envoys FDR used as his eyes and ears before the start of WWII.
Hud (Bob) Huddleston
Very informative, but read mainly like Dragnet...just the facts. Huge number of citations which made it very blah at times. But I did learn things...and that I appreciate.
Paul Hagle
rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2014
John Richmond
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2013
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Michael Fullilove is the executive director of the Lowy Institute in Sydney, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. A Rhodes scholar and a former prime ministerial adviser, he writes widely on global issues for publications such as The New York Times, Financial Times, The Daily Beast and Foreign Affairs.
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