Thursday, 5 May 2011

Broadcasts from the Blitz. How Edward R. Murrow helped lead America into the war

This book, by Philip Seib, is an extremely well-written and well-researched book into the part of the life of famed American journalist and broadcaster Edward R. Murrow where he spent time and effort  (at considerable cost to himself and his very supportive wife, Janet, who worked tirelessly to arrange for comfort parcels to be sent from America to Britain) countering the, at times, rabid isolationism of such people as US ambassador Joseph Kennedy and one time war hero and suspected Nazi collaborator Charles Lindberg who felt that America should not join in the fight against Nazi oppression.   

Seib tells how Murrow became the true and firm friend and confidant of powerful people on both sides of the Atlantic like Roosevelt and Churchill how he used his reports back to the States to show that far from being on the point of collapse and surrender Britain would fight on, but needed help with, as Churchill so ably put it, the tools to do the job.

Murrow put himself at great personal danger both in the bombed cities in Britain, including London, during the Blitz and above Germany during air raids as an observer on RAF bombers.

By chance Murrow was in America when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Had Roosevelt known in advance of the planned attack? Murrow was most emphatic on the point. By the shocked and pained reaction of Roosevelt and others at the attack it was plain to Murrow that they had not.

The book briefly touches on other aspects of the professional life of Murrow post Word War Two he was also famous for the pointing out the problems with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Un-American Activities Committee and helping to bring an end to the arguably un-American activities of McCarthy.

The book is published in hardback by Potomac Books at $24.95.

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