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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Citizens Of London



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson.  The book is a little outside my usual reading scope, being non-fiction.  However, it is the March selection for my 'new' book group and so I'm keeping an open mind.  Plus, I'm going to listen to it on audio in a couple of weeks.  See what you think:



      On a chilly night in early 1947, a tall lanky American with tousled dark hair emerged from a theater in London's West End.  Other playgoers, pouring into the street from nearby theaters, stopped and stared.  They had seen the man's angular face and slightly stooped frame in wartime newsreels and newspaper photographs, and most knew immediately who he was.  As he and two companions headed down Shaftesbury Avenue, they were surrounded by a throng of people.  'Good evening Mr. Winant,' several in the crowd said.  A couple of men doffed their hats.  One woman reached out and shyly touched his coat.
     For those gathered around him, the sight of John Gilbert Winant conjured up memories of smoke-filled nights in early 1941 when Winant, the American ambassador to Britain, walked the streets of London during the heaviest raids of the Blitz, Germany's nine-month terror bombing of British cities.  He asked everyone he met--firemen, dazed victims, air wardens pulling bodies out of the rubble--what he could do to help.  In those perilous times, one Londoner remembered, Winant 'convinced us that he was a link between ourselves and millions of his countrymen, who, by reason of his inspiration, spoke to our very hearts.'
     Yet, while he was instantly recognizable in Britain, few American had ever heard of Winant...


Blurb:

The acclaimed author of Troublesome Young Men reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Averell Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain.  Each man formed close ties with Winston Churchill—so much so that all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister’s family.  Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Lynne Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and reluctant American public to back the British at a critical time.  Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field.

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I'm willing to give this one a try.  It sounds like a book that might do well for me as an audiobook and I was intrigued by the blurb.  We'll see how it goes.

43 comments:

  1. It has an interesting start that's for sure so I'd like to know more about this one. I do like a good story set in this time period.

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    1. I must admit that I'm one of the Americans who didn't recognize Mr. Winant's name.

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  2. I like the way that first paragraph mysteriously pulls us along. It does make me want to keep reading about Winant.

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    1. Yes, me too. We'll see how it translates to audio. Probably the only way I'd try to read it.

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  3. Wow, I loved the opener -- and it's true, I don't know anything about Winant .. I definitely want to read more.

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    1. I'm hopeful that the audio will be good.

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  4. I read this several years ago, and it is excellent. America wasn't the perfect ally I'd been led to believe, but Harriman, Murrow, and Winant are men we can be proud of. I had planned to read more by Olson--The Murrow Boys and Troublesome Young Men, but never did. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Oh, so glad that you chimed in here Jenclair! And I'm happy that this receives a thumbs-up from you. That bodes well.

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  5. This sounds really good! I think it work better for me on audio. Will be curious to hear what you think of it.

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    1. Yes, JoAnn, me too. This is a book club pick, not my pick, so we shall see.

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  6. It's a decent intro but, guessing this is not for me. Hope you like it Kay.

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    1. I'm going to try it since it's for a book group.

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  7. I'm interested, but am completely burned out of WWII books. Would probably give it a bit longer.

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    1. I am a little burned out too, Sarah, but it's a book group pick. We'll see how I do.

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  8. I'm fascinated by this one! I like the intro and I love WW2 history and books about little known historical figures. I'll definitely have to look for this one. I hadn't heard of it.

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    1. I had not heard of it either until it showed up as a book group pick. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Not until mid-March though.

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  9. Very admirable! Thanks for stopping by :)

    Colletta

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  10. Hope it's intriguing and keeps you interested. Here's Mine

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    1. Me too! I'm going to give it a shot.

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  11. I am always eager to learn more about those whose lives were hidden from public view, for whatever reason. You've piqued my curiosity. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

    I see Find Her in your sidebar...I can't wait to read this one!

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    1. Yes, I'm hopeful about this one. And by the way, Find Her is starting out very, very good. :-)

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  12. I don't often read nonfiction, but this is the type I enjoy most when I do! I like the opening you shared. It's very approachable and makes me want to continue on.

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    1. You know that I don't read much non-fiction either. When I saw the list for the spring, I kind of sighed. But...I'll give it a shot.

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  13. Sounds like just my kind of book! Hope it lives up to its beginning. I shall be awaiting your review...

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    1. Well, be sure and be patient. This is for the mid-March book group meeting. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

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    2. Ha! That's OK - I think I've got enough books to keep me going meantime... ;)

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  14. This does sound outside my comfort zone too but I like the sound of it. I will be looking forward to your review.

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    1. Tune in at mid-March for the 'rest of the story'. LOL

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  15. I love books set during during WWII. Thanks for sharing. Girl Who Reads

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    1. They are certainly popular these days. I'm hopeful about this one.

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  16. I enjoy nonfiction that is written in the style of fiction, rather than a recitation of facts, so this sounds like a book I'd enjoy.
    Thank you for visiting my blog today.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

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    1. Sandra, I'm hoping that's the way this book will play out. We'll see. Going to try it on audio.

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  17. I bet it would make a good PBS show. I would watch it.

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    1. I think you're right. Maybe it will become one or already is one for all I know.

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  18. I have an earlier Lynne Olson book about WWII and Churchill called Troublesome Young Men, but I haven't read it yet! Your post today makes me want to read it and your book!

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    1. Jenclair mentioned that book in an earlier comment. I can see that if this one works well for me, I can have more books to add to my list.

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  19. The opening is fantastic! It makes me want to know more about Mr. Winant.

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    1. Yes, I liked the opening pretty well too. I'm curious to see what comes next.

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  20. Hope it turns out to be a good book club read.

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    1. I think it probably will be. This 'new' group likes non-fiction pretty well.

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  21. I bet this has a lot of fascinating information. I am very bad about not reading history which is odd given that I like historical novels! Hope you enjoy it.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!