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V Is For Victory

Franklin Roosevelt's American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II


About The Book

New York Times bestselling historian Craig Nelson reveals how FDR confronted an American public disinterested in going to war in Europe, skillfully won their support, and pushed government and American industry to build the greatest war machine in history, “the arsenal of democracy” that won World War II.

As Nazi Germany began to conquer Europe, America’s military was unprepared, too small, and poorly supplied. The Nazis were supported by robust German factories that created a seemingly endless flow of arms, trucks, tanks, airplanes, and submarines. The United States, emerging from the Great Depression, was skeptical of American involvement in Europe and not ready to wage war. Hardened isolationists predicted disaster if the country went to war.

In this fascinating and deeply researched account, Craig Nelson traces how Franklin D. Roosevelt steadily and sometimes secretively put America on a war footing by convincing America’s top industrialists such as Henry Ford Jr. to retool their factories, by diverting the country’s supplies of raw materials to the war effort, and above all by convincing the American people to endure shortages, to work in wartime factories, and to send their sons into harm’s way. Within a few years, the nation’s workers were producing thousands of airplanes and tanks, hundreds of warships and submarines. Under FDR’s resolute leadership, victory at land and sea and air across the globe began at home in America—a powerful and essential narrative largely overlooked in conventional histories of the war but which, in Nelson’s skilled, authoritative hands, becomes an illuminating and important work destined to become an American history classic.

About The Author

Photograph by Beth Mickalonis

Craig Nelson is the author of Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness and the New York Times bestseller, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, as well as several previous books, including The Age of Radiance (a PEN Award Finalist chosen as one of the year’s best books by NBC News, the American Institute of Physics, Kirkus Reviews, and FlavorWire), The First Heroes, Thomas Paine (winner of the Henry Adams Prize), and Let’s Get Lost (shortlisted for W.H. Smith’s Book of the Year). His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, National Geographic, The New England Review, Popular Science, Reader’s Digest, and a host of other publications.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (May 23, 2023)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982122911

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Raves and Reviews

“Nelson chronicles what went into efforts to ramp up production of needed supplies such as tanks and bombers, reviving a moribund military supply and making the oft-quoted Roosevelt line about the 'arsenal of democracy' come alive for readers. . . . Nelson manages to make what is essentially a history of logistics just as compelling as battlefield heroics.” —Associated Press

“A strong argument that 'if any one human being is responsible for winning World War II, it is FDR.' . . . [Nelson] points out that one American Revolution established the country in 1776, but another began in 1933 with the Franklin Roosevelt. . . . A compelling and convincing history lesson.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“A must-read equally for WWII history buffs and students of supply-chain logistics.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Deeply researched and fluidly written, this is a rousing portrait of the partnership between America’s public and private sectors firing on all cylinders. . . . [A] comprehensive and colorful account." —Publishers Weekly

V Is for Victory belongs in the library alongside the histories and biographies of Martin Gilbert, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and David McCullough. Immensely readable and engrossing, rich in detail and deeply reported, these pages possess that rare charm of omniscience flush with surprise at every turn. Nelson’s prose springs FDR and America to new life—we’re in the rooms as history is made. A rich feast of history and storytelling.” —Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers

"Time and again, Roosevelt's foresight and leadership saved the world. Craig Nelson recounts this most essential of all American stories with epic sweep and telling detail. In our time of great strife and fear, his powerful book inspires hope that, like America under FDR, we, too, can build a better future." —Marc Wortman, author of 1941: Fighting the Shadow War

"Craig Nelson’s lucid prose invites his readers into the opaque workings of FDR’s mind. Across a wide-ranging account of Roosevelt’s sublime and at times manipulative grasp of every aspect of American involvement in World War II—from politics and diplomacy to strategy and operations to social and economic issues—V is for Victory is a revelation of a master leader on the world stage." —Thomas Alexander Hughes, professor of history and dean of academics, Air University School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and author of Admiral Bill Halsey and Overlord

“Craig Nelson has written a brilliantly researched and compellingly written story of the American home front at war. The book inspires as it instructs." —Laurence Leamer, author of Capote’s Women

“In Craig Nelson’s highly compelling account, readers will meet Roosevelt’s team of politicians, industrialists, entrepreneurs and bureaucrats who pulled America from the depths of the Great Depression, fought a multi-front world war against fascism and emerged from victory as a world leader. V Is for Victory is an engrossing contribution to World War II history.” —James M. Fenelon, author of Angels Against the Sun and Four Hours of Fury

“Each page of this book crackles with an historian’s insight, a scientist’s research, a writer’s confidence, and a storyteller’s charm.” —Jim DeFilippi, author of The Mules of Monte Cassino

“Gifted storyteller Craig Nelson weaves together the fascinating backgrounds of the men and women – some famous, most lesser known – who built the machine that defeated Germany and Japan.” —Bill Whiteside, author of The Barbarians Sat Back and Laughed

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