A Blueprint for War FDR and the Hundred Days That Mobilized America Susan Dunn

The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series
Publication date:
17 Apr 2018
Yale University Press
264 pages: 235 x 156mm
16 b-w illus. in 8-pg insert

One hundred days that set the stage for the American Century

During Franklin Roosevelt’s “First Hundred Days” in 1933, he dealt with a devastating economic crisis; during the summer of 1935, the period historians call his “Second Hundred Days,” he signed transformational social legislation. Less well known are the hundred days following his election, in November 1940, to an unprecedented third term in the White House, when he faced a worldwide military and moral catastrophe. All the European democracies except Great Britain had fallen to the ruthless Nazi forces, and Japan had extended its tentacles deeper into China. Susan Dunn brings to life the most vital and consequential months of FDR’s presidency in the winter of 1940–41, when he initiated the crucial programs and approved the strategic plans for America’s leadership in World War II. As the nation began its transition into the preeminent military, industrial, and moral power on the planet, FDR laid out the stunning blueprint for the American Century.

Susan Dunn, the Massachusetts Professor of Humanities at Williams College, is the author of a dozen books, including Roosevelt’s Purge; 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler -- the Election amid the Storm;  and The Three Roosevelts, cowritten with James MacGregor Burns. She lives in Williamstown, Mass.

A Blueprint for War should become the definitive telling of a pivotal episode in American history.”—Edward J. Larson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Return of George Washington

“A superbly researched and written history of how FDR and his top aides moved decisively after the 1940 election to provide massive American aid to Great Britain to support its lonely fight against Hitler, and how FDR set forth an enlightened and lasting vision of America's international responsibilities in the future.”—James T. Patterson, Bancroft Prize-winning author of Grand Expectations

"Susan Dunn is one of the great Roosevelt historians of our time, and with this fresh and fascinating book, she has proven it once again.  Especially in these times, it is inspiring to read this story of a President surely exercising moral leadership at a moment of looming world crisis.”  — Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage

“In the first ‘hundred days,’ Roosevelt proposed but Congress disposed. In the hundred-day crisis of late 1940-41, it was the opposite, as Susan Dunn persuasively demonstrates.  FDR had no master plan, but his instincts proved unerring. Dunn has given us a thoughtful, readable examination of presidential leadership.”—Warren Kimball, author of Forged in War:  Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War