CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
WHEN LIONS ROAR is 'Brilliant' says Washington Post, Buy Now on Amazon

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
"What I like most in Maier's giant work is the spine of this saga, the all-important record of influence the great soldier-statesman-historian's life exerted on the future American president." -- Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, review in Chartwell Bulletin, The Churchill Centre

Monday, April 18, 2016

Why Americans Love Winston Churchill, the British Leader Who Was Half-American.

The leadership of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965), during World War II made him unforgettable to Americans. This excerpt from “WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys,” by Thomas Maier (Crown) helps explain why his memory endures.

  Mark Twain, the longtime bard of the Mississippi, introduced Winston Churchill to a crowd of wealthy Americans packed inside New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel ballroom in December 1900—one of those rare meetings of historic figures that occurred so often in Churchill’s life.
“I was thrilled by this famous companion of my youth,” Winston recalled of Twain, a literary inspiration. “He was now very old and snow-white, and combined with a noble air a most delightful style of conversation.”
 Winston expected to be lionized by Twain but instead had his tail tweaked. The twenty-six-year-old celebrated British war correspondent was on a lecture tour, picking up handsome fees to talk about his bloody adventures and headline-grabbing writings on imperial conflicts around the globe. By contrast, Twain, at age sixty-five, loathed the chest-beating of war—especially the jingoistic, romanticized accounts of farm boys ground up and left for dead on the battlefield. Twain feared his nation might someday become an empire like Great Britain. The night’s verbal swordplay between the old American and the young Englishman reflected so many differences between the Crown and its former colony.
Within no time, Twain whittled Churchill down a peg or two. Although his friendly introduction wasn’t a tar-and-feathering, Twain made plain how wrongheaded Churchill had been about the British Empire pestering those poor indigent people in places like India and South Africa. Churchill “knew all about war and nothing about peace,” Twain told the standing-room-only audience, many of whom seemed to agree with him. As an account of the evening by the New York Times explained, “War might be very interesting to persons who like that sort of entertainment, but he [Twain] never enjoyed it himself.”
Graciously, Twain ended this battle of wits by proclaiming he’d always favored good relations between England and the United States. He even touted the night’s guest speaker as a product of such amity. “Mister Churchill by his father is an Englishman, by his mother he is an American—no doubt a blend that makes a perfect match,” Twain declared. “England and America, we are kin. And now that we are also kin in sin, there is nothing more to be desired.”
Churchill’s encounter with Mark Twain appears in the former’s 1930 autobiography, My Early Life, certainly one of his most revealing books. On display in it are the conflicting themes of Winston’s life: his tortured relationship with his famous father, whose legacy he strove to exceed; his sense of being half-American despite an unswerving loyalty to the British Crown; and his fascination with war, both as an adventurer-writer and a statesman-politician who deeply understood the power of words.
While war and peace provided a backdrop for his 1900 lecture tour, commerce remained Churchill’s frontline concern. He had been elected recently to Parliament, but without a steady source of income. A seat in the House of Commons then didn’t pay any salary, and Churchill depended on his writing assignments for a living. An agent convinced him he could earn a tidy sum by lecturing in America. “I have so much need for money and we cannot afford to throw away a single shilling,” he confided to his mother.
America always held a special affinity for Churchill. Five years earlier, he had visited his mother’s New York cousins and been mightily impressed by the young nation’s restless energy. “Picture to yourself the American people as a great lusty youth—who treads on all your sensibilities and perpetrates every possible horror of ill manner—whom neither age nor just tradition inspire with reverence—but who moves about his affairs with a good hearted freshness which may well be the envy of older nations of the earth,” Churchill described to his brother in a note echoing Alexis de Tocqueville. In New York, he met Congressman William Bourke Cockran, an Irish American friend of his mother’s and a riveting public speaker, upon whom Winston modeled his own rhetoric. “You are indeed an orator,” Churchill told Cockran. “And of all the gifts there is none so rare and precious as that.” Winston learned to argue convincingly rather than divisively, to persuade rather than condemn.
Although British at heart, he described himself as “a child of both worlds.” His mother, Jennie Churchill, grew up the multi-talented daughter of Leonard Jerome, a Wall Street speculator and racetrack operator (his initial fortune made in Rochester, New York, publishing the newspaper house organ for the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party). In describing the aggressive tycoon Jerome, Churchill biographer Roy Jenkins later said “there was a touch of Joseph P. Kennedy about him.” Jennie wed Lord Randolph in Paris after an abrupt romance that produced Winston’s premature arrival eight months later, on November 30, 1874.
Friends such as Violet Bonham Carter thought of Winston as half-American—both “an aristocrat and yet our greatest Commoner.” This potent cross-Atlantic combination of genes seemed a key to Churchill’s compelling personality, what the British historian A. L. Rowse called “the strength of the two natures mixed in him—the self-willed English aristocrat and the equally self-willed primitive American—each with a hundred-horsepower capacity for getting his way.”
Winston was amused by those who traced his American roots to the Iroquois or to America’s 1776 Revolutionary leader against the British. “It certainly is inspiring to see so great a name as George Washington upon the list,” Winston said of one published genealogy. “I understand, however, that if you go back far enough everyone is related to everyone else, and we end up in Adam.”

Winston Churchill’s American lecture tour in 1931 appeared a great success, as many enjoyed this visiting Englishman’s wit and speaking style. “Some of his epigrams, so it is wickedly asserted by his enemies, are carefully prepared in advance, and even practiced before a mirror,” declared a New York Times editorialist. “But their sting and point are nonetheless delightful.” On December 13, 1931, though, the Churchill bandwagon came to a screeching halt.     That evening, Winston planned to go to bed early at the Waldorf Astoria, his Manhattan hotel. Instead, at nine o’clock he received a telephone call from Bernard Baruch, inviting him to his home on Fifth Avenue to meet with two mutual friends. Into the night, Churchill took a taxicab. Along the way, he realized he didn’t have Baruch’s precise home address, only a general idea of its location from an earlier visit. At one point, Churchill bounded out of the cab toward the sidewalk. He looked left but not to the right. When he turned, he saw “a long dark car rushing forward at full speed.” The driver hit the brakes, but too late. In a lingering split second, Churchill, then fifty-seven, thought to himself, I am going to be run down and probably killed. He fortunately wasn’t—another near miss in a life lucky enough to rival any cat’s. His heavy fur-lined coat seemed to cushion some of the blow. But the automobile took its toll, smacking Churchill’s head to the pavement with “an impact, a shock, a concussion indescribably violent,” and dragging him for several yards. “I do not understand why I was not broken like an eggshell,” he later observed. In the middle of Fifth Avenue, a boulevard of American ambition, Churchill lay prostrate, bleeding and in pain, as police and a crowd rushed to his aid.
“A man has been killed!” someone cried.
While being picked up and carried away by rescuers, this fallen stranger was asked for his name.
“I am Winston Churchill, a British statesman,” he moaned.
By the time he arrived at Lenox Hill Hospital, Churchill felt sharp pain yet realized he would survive. Baruch and Clementine soon stood at his bedside. “Tell me, Baruch, when all is said and done, what is the number of your house?” he uttered, a sure sign he’d get well and that his quick wit never needed a crutch.
This almost-deadly car crash derailed Churchill’s lecture tour, which he needed most urgently to pay his bills at home. Instead, he spent the next several weeks mending, and mulling over his future. “You will find me, I am afraid, a much weaker man than the one you welcomed on December 11,” he wrote to Randolph, back in England. Clementine conceded to her son that Winston had suffered “three very heavy blows” in recent years, leaving him without either political power in Parliament or much of his personal savings on Wall Street. “The loss of all that money in the crash, then the loss of his political position in the Conservative Party, and now this terrible injury—He said he did not think he would ever recover completely from the three events,” Clementine wrote. The prospect of a diminished life seemed more unbearable to Winston than if he had been killed on the street. It marked the darkest period in his “wilderness years,” an agonizing time when he felt pushed aside from his countrymen and good fortune.
By February, Churchill had recovered enough to travel and fulfill most speaking engagements in the United States. His loyal circle of friends and patrons rallied to his cause, deciding to buy him a Rolls-Royce “to celebrate his recovery” and deliverance from oblivion. “We think there is a certain appropriateness in the presentation of a motor car to a man who has been knocked down by a taxi-cab!” wrote Brendan Bracken to Baruch. Though his career seemed over in England, Churchill’s popularity among Americans stayed intact. Some in the press pondered if Winston, born to an American mother, would ever consider running for president. “I have been treated so splendidly in the United States that I should be disposed, if you can amend the Constitution, seriously to consider the matter,” he joked.

  Old Glory and the Union Jack draped the streets of Jefferson City, Missouri—the perfect symbolism for a 1946 visit by President Harry Truman and the man who Truman said had saved Western civilization.
 In an open-air limousine convertible, Winston Churchill sat beside Franklin D. Roosevelt’s successor while thousands of Missourians waved and greeted them at the train station. The two grinning politicians were surrounded by dour security agents (standing guard on the running boards) as the limo drove through the state capital on March 6, 1946. After a long train ride from Washington, the seventy-one-year-old former British prime minister was careful not to exert himself too much. When asked that year about his secret of success, the old warhorse advised, “Conservation of energy—never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.”
Only months after being turned out of high office, Churchill journeyed to a college gym in nearby Fulton to give one of the most significant speeches of his career. With the American president’s blessing, his clarion call for Anglo-American resistance to the Soviet Union’s “Iron Curtain” (his metaphor for the spread of communism dividing up Europe) would launch the decades-long Cold War. But this address in Fulton, entitled “The Sinews of Peace,” also provided another turning point in Churchill’s long life. Instead of retirement, he chose vigorous, almost defiant engagement. Rather than fade away with his glorious victories of the past, he decided to embrace, almost prophetically, the future of the postwar world with its atomic dangers. He would reinvent himself once again as a world statesman, his voice both familiar and brand new.
Not everything about this trip was high stakes, however. On the ride to Missouri, Truman and Churchill demonstrated their personal diplomacy with a card game.
“Mr. President, I think that when we are playing poker I will call you Harry,” Churchill announced.
“All right, Winston,” Truman replied.
For more than an hour, they played with a handful of aides and reporters aboard the Ferdinand Magellan, the specially made presidential train car with a thick concrete floor to protect against explosions. Churchill’s pile of chips dwindled as he lost each hand, downing sips of drink along the way. When the former prime minister, wearing one of his siren suits, excused himself for a momentary bathroom break, Truman quickly issued an executive order.
“Listen, this man’s oratory saved the western world,” Truman commanded the group, which included a young reporter named David Brinkley. “We are forever indebted to him. We’re not going to take his money.”
“But, Boss, this guy’s a pigeon,” cried one of the players, Harry Vaughan, the president’s military aide.
The president wouldn’t allow anything to trump this special relationship. As if a matter of national security, the card sharks were defanged. Winston’s fortunes suddenly turned for the better, Brinkley recalled years later, after “Truman ordered us to let him win.”
Before the evening aboard the presidential train ended, Winston displayed his considerable understanding of American history and wondered aloud about fate. “If I were to be born again,” he mused, he wished to become a citizen in “one country where a man knows he has an unbounded future.”
Truman’s entourage asked what nation that might be.
“The USA,” Churchill declared solemnly, “. . . even though I deplore some of your customs.”
Puzzled, the Americans wondered what Yankee habit so appalled him.

“You stop drinking with your meals,” Winston replied.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Before Superstorm Sandy, A 1998 Warning about Building on Long Island's Fragile Coastline

Back in 1998, this five-part Newsday series warned about the perils of massive building along the Hamptons and Fire Island shorelines - Long Island's fragile environmental jewel. It showed how some owners made millions by speculating on coastline properties. Some were under water but recovered through taxpayer-subsidized sand projects. Then new houses went up again. 

The series appeared during the '98 summer and was essentially ignored. (Although New Yorker editor David Remnick left a message saying how much he liked it).

When Superstorm Sandy came along in 2012, the warnings were realized. Some 100,000 Long Island homes were damaged or destroyed. The before and after photos  of Fire Island are remarkable. 

Not every series has an immediate impact. But I was glad that we did series before the disaster struck -- a real public service. Here's the summary of the series that appeared in the IRE Journal

Shoreline in Peril, 1998 Newsday series: For years, the rich and powerful have built lavish second homes along the 75-mile Atlantic Ocean shoreline from Fire Island to the Hamptons, and for just about as long, the forces of nature have come along to eat away at what some have called one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While building on property they own is the right of anyone who can afford it, this investigation found that to a large extent, property owners on Long Island's ocean shores were doing it at the public expense. By Thomas Maier and John Riley, IRE JOURNAL 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Masters of Sex at the Scripters, Starts Filming Season 4 in Late Spring.

Over the weekend in LA, I attended the Scripters Awards with my wife Joyce and joined Michelle Ashford, the showrunner for Masters of Sex, and Sarah Timberman, the executive producer. Season 4 starts filming in late spring with Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Masters of Sex" Showrunner and Author Nominated for Scripter Award for Adapation of Book; Faces "Game of Thrones" and Others in the Battle of TV Literary Adapts. Touche, George R.R. Martin!

Michelle Ashford and Thomas Maier at
the "Masters of Sex"writers' room in LA.
Director Michael Apted directed this episode
based on Michelle's script.
Always fun to visit with Michelle
   Congratulations to Michelle Ashford on being nominated along with myself for a USC Scripter Award for Masters of Sex Episode 312 "Full Ten Count," which is adapted from the book.
   The Scripter honors both the author and the screenwriter of books adapted into a movie or television series. This is the first time that television shows have been eligible for the 28-year-old Hollywood award. (In recent years, the Scripter has been an early indicator of who will win the Oscar for screenwriting). 
   The winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 20th in ceremonies at the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at the University of Southern California. My wife Joyce and I will be attending the black-tie Hollywood event.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford are serving as honorary chairs of the event.

"Since 1988, the USC Libraries Scripter Award has honored each year's best adaptation of the printed word to film. Scripter celebrates writers and writing, collaboration, and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another. It stands as an emblem of libraries' ability to inspire creative and scholarly achievement. In 2016 the USC Libraries inaugurate a new Scripter award, for television adaptation. Nearly 80 shows are eligible, almost as many as feature films, and the Scripter Selection Committee will recognize the vitality of this genre at the awards show."

Here's the list of nominees:


Game Of Thrones
Screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, for the episode "Hardhome," adapted from the fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin
HBO and Bantam

The Leftovers
Damon Lindelof and Jacqueline Hoyt for the episode "Axis Mundi", based on the novel by Tom Perrotta
HBO and St. Martin's Press

The Man In The High Castle
Frank Spotnitz for the episode "The New World," based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Amazon and Putnam

Masters Of Sex
Michelle Ashford, for the episode "Full Ten Count," based on the biography by Thomas Maier, "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love"
Showtime and Basic Books

Show Me A Hero
Screenwriters William F. Zorzi and David Simon, based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin
HBO and Little, Brown and Company


The Big Short
Screenwriters Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, adapted from Michael Lewis's nonfiction work "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine"
Paramount Pictures and W.W. Norton

Novelist Colm Tóibín and screenwriter Nick Hornby
Fox Searchlight and Viking

The End Of The Tour
Screenwriter Donald Margulies, adapted from David Lipsky's memoir "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace"
A24 and Broadway Books

The Martian
Novelist Andy Weir and screenwriter Drew Goddard
Twentieth Century Fox and Crown Publishing Group

Emma Donoghue for the novel and screenplay
A24 and Little, Brown and Company

Friday, November 13, 2015

"When Lions Roar" is Now Out in Paperback; Q&A with The Churchill Centre About The Book

With the paperback just out, here's a reminder that "When Lions Roar" was reviewed favorably by The Churchill Centre's Chris Matthews (TV's 'Hardball' host) and the Centre's bulletin featured this Q&A with the author from Long Island who never fails to note that Winston's mother was born in Brooklyn.

Author of When Lions Roar: The Churchills & The Kennedys
Discusses His Book With The Chartwell Bulletin

When_Lions_Roar_DJThomas Maier is a best-selling journalist and biographer whose work includes the book that inspired the hit Showtime series Masters of Sex as well as The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings. He recently spoke about his newest book, which returns to the story of the Kennedys and adds Winston Churchill and his family, at Chartwell Booksellers. To watch the video, please CLICK HERE. Additionally, Maier took the time to speak with the Chartwell Bulletin about When Lions Roar: The Churchill & The Kennedys. This interview follows below: 

CB: Tom, welcome to Chartwell Bulletin. You began your career as a journalist; tell us how you made the transition to biography and about some of the subjects that first interested you.

TM: All five of my books are about America in the 20th Century, even this one about the families of JFK and Winston Churchill, (who, in a sense, was half-American because his mother was born in Brooklyn). Many of the best biographies and histories of this generation have been written by those who began in the newsroom rather than the academy. Pulitzer-winner Robert Caro (author of biographies on LBJ and Robert Moses) began at my newspaper Newsday in New York and this year another former Newsday colleague Dan Fagin won the Pulitzer for General Non-Fiction. The skills of an investigative reporter are invaluable in coming up with new historic discoveries and writing a vivid, ground-breaking narrative.

CB: You first wrote about the Kennedy family in your 2003 book, The Kennedy's: America's Emerald Kings. What led to you to them as a subject and what did you find of particular interest in this very well-documented American family.

TM: So many Kennedy histories are caught up in "Camelot" imagery and ignore the impact of the family's Irish Catholic immigrant background on their personal and public lives. If you view JFK as the first US president from a minority background (his Catholicism was the top issue of the 1960 presidential campaign), then looking at his roots seems vital and proved ground-breaking for my first book about the Kennedys. The heart of this new book is the Kennedys' time in London leading up to World War II and how Winston Churchill had a lasting impact on President Kennedy and the US during the Cold War, becoming the successor to the British Empire in today's international arena.

CB: How did you become interested in the Churchill family and in the Churchill/Kennedy relationship? What were your goals when you started your research and what sources did you find interesting and useful?

TM: Both Winston and JFK were warriors, historians and superb statesmen who understood the power of words. Comparing and contrasting their remarkable dynasties provided great insight into the "special relationship" between America and Great Britain and was irresistible once I realized no one had ever written such a saga. It was a story hidden in plain sight, waiting to be told. Overall, my book contains 1783 separate footnotes, much of it from the Churchill archives, JFK and FDR presidential libraries, and collections at the Library of Congress and National Archives in London, where I read the fascinating papers of Lord Beaverbrook, one of many friends of both families.

CB: What was the most revealing part of your research? Did you find things that surprised you?

TM: Many of the biggest disclosures in When Lions Roar come from previously-unpublished documents, including those about the secretive 1933 British liquor deal involving Joe Kennedy, Churchill and FDR's oldest son, Jimmy. Documents about this business deal—and unknown letters from mutual friends such as Americans Bernard Baruch and Kay Halle—show that the Kennedys and Churchill were friendly before they became antagonists over America's entry into World War II, and ultimately how the younger generation became friends again during the 1960s Kennedy presidency era. This arc rewrites the conventional wisdom, in which some claimed the Churchills and Kennedys always disliked each other. This just wasn't so and the documents quoted in my book make their story much more complex and heart-rendering.

CB: Given their legacies today, do you think the Churchills and the Kennedys defined and used "power" in similar or different ways?

TM: Like a modern-day War and Peace, I wanted to write a big narrative history that captures the extraordinary lives of the Churchills and the Kennedys, with their ambitions, desires and legacy of greatness. Both Winston Churchill and JFK understood how great speeches, a sense of history, and intangibles like courage and wit were so important to their legacy. From a long view, When Lions Roar traces how power was transferred from the old British Empire to today's U.S. sphere of influence, and that JFK was perhaps the most effective heir to Churchill's legacy as a champion of freedom.

CB: Why do you think Winston Churchill and Joseph Kennedy, as well as their sons Randolph and Joe Jr., had such opposing views on the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930's? How did this affect their relationship, both professionally and personally?

TM: War for the Churchills meant defending their beloved England—and all the liberties and human dignity that Hitler threatened—whereas war for the Kennedys, like most Americans during those isolationist times, meant only death and destruction in a faraway land and senseless loss of young lives. Eventually Joe lost his oldest namesake son and the war nearly killed Jack Kennedy too. It is so tragic to consider, especially given the many mutual friends these two families shared in the 1930s, how the evil of Hitler's Nazi empire tore them apart for many years. But how the young Kennedys and Churchill reconciled during the early 1960s and became close friends is one of the most surprising aspects of my book.

CB:How would you compare the marriages of Winston and Clementine Churchill from Joseph and Rose Kennedy? How did these characteristics help or hinder the two men?

TM: Both Winston and Clementine came from families with a lot of tumult yet their marriage maintained a rock-steady fidelity to each other and Winston's dream of becoming prime minister someday. Joe and Rose's marriage was upset by his infidelities, but they took great pride in their "family enterprise" with nine children. Joe Kennedy's failure as a politician, ironically, allowed him to pour his energies into his sons' public lives in a way that Winston never did with his son Randolph.

CB: The Churchill and Kennedy sagas contain many interesting side characters who weave in and out of both their own and their family's lives. Were there some you found especially interesting?

TM: The supporting cast of characters in this story who were friends with both families is truly extraordinary—from Lord Beaverbrook, FDR and Bernard Baruch to Aristotle Onassis, Evelyn Waugh and Pamela Churchill. In particular, I'd like to think that my book gives serious consideration to independent-minded women such as Clare Boothe Luce, Kick Kennedy, Pulitzer winner Margaret Coit, Kay Halle and Pamela Churchill, who were too often dismissed in previous books about these two families.

CB: Both Joe Kennedy as an individual and his record as Ambassador to the Court of St. James have been widely disparaged. Did Kennedy have strengths as an ambassador and what do you think ultimately lead to his failure in that position?

TM: Joe Kennedy's desire for respectability in London was understandable, especially in the context of his Irish Catholic roots and his family's ambitions for higher office. But Joe's celebrated selection by FDR was done for a host of bad reasons, as my book explains. Joe's outspokenness was often wrong-headed, as his son Jack eventually realized. For more than ever before, this book closely examines the spy scandal at the US Embassy in London during World War II that would haunt the Kennedys for years to come. (One of the first things new Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked of FBI chieftain J. Edgar Hoover was the file on Tyler Kent, the convicted spy from his father's tenure).

CB: From having examined the lives of both families in detail, would you agree that being the child of a great or famous man is both an advantage as well as a burden? How to you think this affected and was reflected in the lives of the children in both families?

TM: Yes, the dynamic between fathers and sons—both the burdens and the advantages—is a big theme in this book. Both Joe Kennedy Jr. and Randolph Churchill were particularly impacted by their famous fathers and the expectations surrounding them. In a sense, Jack Kennedy, like Winston Churchill, benefitted from lowered parental expectations when they were young, allowing them to find their own voices. My book begins in 1930 when both Winston and Jack were at low moments in their lives and I hope readers enjoy learning how they achieved their respective greatness.

CB: Now that we are approaching the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death, what would Joe Kennedy think about his iconic status today?

TM: One of the most memorable scenes in my book is from April 1963, when a crippled Joe Kennedy, silent from a stroke, looked out a second-floor White House window as his son, President John F. Kennedy, bestowed honorary U.S. citizenship upon Winston Churchill in recognition for all he meant to America during World War II and the fight against Nazi tyranny. For a long time, Joe Kennedy held a great grudge against Winston—responsible in his eyes for bringing America into the war, for the death of so many young people including his son and son-in-law. But later in life, Joe apparently visited with Churchill, arranged by their mutual friend Lord Beaverbrook, and agreed with the need for a strong defense against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Ultimately, I can't help but believe that Joe, sitting silently in that wheelchair in 1963, would wind up agreeing with the judgment of his son Jack who patterned so much of his leadership skills upon Winston's lasting example.Kennedy_Churchill_ceremonyHonorary Citizenship Ceremony

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jackie, Churchill's son and JFK's son

In WHEN LIONS ROAR, the relationship of the Kennedys and the Churchills comes full circle, as the second generation becomes quite friendly in the 1960s. Here's Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK Jr. and Randolph Churchill in Manhattan. The relationship between Jackie, Churchill's son and JFK's son is one of my favorite stories in the book and is very little known. "When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys" is now out in paperback.

Reelz Documentary about Jackie Kennedy by NBC's Natalie Morales; Interviewed as 'When Lions Roar" author and Kennedy expert.

Over the weekend, please check out this documentary about Jackie Kennedy on Reelz, hosted by Natalie Morales of NBC News. I was interviewed as the author "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys", which also refers to my 2003 book about the Kennedys that featured an interview with Rev. Richard McSorley, the Georgetown Jesuit who counseled JFK's widow after his assassination. The book quoted from Jackie's letters to McSorley and the priest's own diary that is housed in the Georgetown University Library. This material has been quoted by several others authors since my 2003 book appeared. Here's a clip from the program.

The nation turned to Jackie in the aftermath of JFK's assassination. How she handled her grief is explored in depth on Jackie Kennedy: Behind Closed Doors hosted by Natalie Morales Saturday night at 9p ET/8p PT.
Posted by ReelzChannel on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lord Beaverbrook, I presume? Read how Lord "Max" Beaverbrook played the Churchills and the Kennedys off of one another, while seeking his own path to power and fame. And that's WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys," out in paperback Oct. 27

Lord Beaverbrook, I presume? One of the great characters of WHEN LIONS ROAR is Max Aitken, aka Lord Beaverbrook, the Fleet Street press magnate who was close friends with both Winston Churchill and Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the future president. Beaverbrook was brilliant, charming and a master manipulator, of world-class Machiavellian sort.

One of my favorite "scoops" from the book is how Beaverbook -- the hero of 1940's Battle of Britain, for quickly building so many aircraft against the Nazis -- had arranged privately with Joe Kennedy to ship his fortune to the US in Kennedy's care if indeed the Germans invaded England as feared. I found this mentioned in Joe's papers at the JFK Library. Talk about covering your bets! But that was part of Max's charm, Winston might concede.

There's only one book that tells that how Lord "Max" Beaverbrook played the Churchills and the Kennedys off of one another, while seeking his own path to power and fame. And that's WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys," out in paperback Oct. 27.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It's Paperback Time for "When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys" --Read the Buffalo News review and check out the video clips

The paperback edition of "When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys" comes out on Oct. 27 and it's time to reprise some of its best reviews, including this one from THE BUFFALO NEWS.
By Edward Cuddihy, News book reviewer
Thomas Maier tapped into the mother lode when he chose to wrap Winston Churchill and Joseph P. Kennedy, along with their families and extended circle of famous friends, into the same volume.
Between those two giants – one, a national leader and world inspiration, the other, a perfidious self-made multimillionaire and father of a president – they met just about every important person in Europe and America during the cataclysmic years before, during and just after World War II.
And the twisted and convulsive lives of their numerous progeny, most of them strong-willed and fiercely independent, make the fictitious escapades of Downton Abbey look like Disney World.
Author Maier, an investigative reporter for Newsday on Long Island and a successful biographer of characters like Masters and Johnson, Dr. Benjamin Spock and Sam Newhouse, has done a masterful job in this latest work, a decade-long effort, and his second book to deal with the Kennedys.... Maier’s book is a near-perfect mix of politics, business, world chaos and bedroom gossip, and even the gossip is documented with the thoroughness of a master investigator. Needless to say, there is ample gossip spread over two generations to make all 650 pages of text sizzle.
At some points, one thinks: This might not be the best history but it is a terrific read. And at other points, one can only marvel at the degree of historic detail. It reads like a novel, but no publisher would accept such outrageous coincidences in fiction.

Monday, August 17, 2015

On The Set of 'Masters of Sex" -- on location the day Season 4 was announced.

I just flew back from Hollywood (and boy are my arms are tired, ugh) but I had a great time visiting the set of Masters of Sex on the Sony lot. They were filming Episode 11, the next to last episode of Season 3. And the best news of all -- Showtime announced a fourth season for next summer!

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Perfume King and The Scent of Love: Read This Excerpt from "Masters of Sex"

 “The Scent of Love”
 by Thomas Maier
Excerpted from “Masters of Sex”

If birds and bees do it, then surely human beings rely on a sense of smell in sexual selection. Olfaction must play a hidden role in the allure between men and women, the sweet and musky odors that excite the senses and signal the inevitability of love. That was the long-held belief of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson after years of study.
Their second book, Human Sexual Inadequacy, underlined the “tremendous undeveloped potential” of smell in affecting human sexual behavior. Sex pheromones—scents that somehow sparked a natural behavioral response—remained uncharted territory in science.
Yet food and fragrance companies, looking for possible methods to make money from this untapped chemistry of desire, turned to the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation run by Masters and Johnson. In a way that government refused to do, these private firms provided grant money to explore this missing link of sexual attraction.
At Masters and Johnson’s clinic, endocrinologist Joan Bauman investigated female scents under funding from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit financed by the food, beverage, fragrance, and pharmaceutical industries. “They were interested in developing perfumes that would be pheromonal—in other words, they would stimulate sexual feelings,” she remembered.
In this search, the biggest supporter of Bill and Virginia’s work was International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) and its charismatic chairman, Henry G. Walter Jr., better known as Hank. His multimillion-dollar global conglomerate provided smells and tastes for a wide variety of products, from lemon-scented furniture polish to chocolate flavor in Cocoa Puffs, the breakfast cereal. Most profitably, IFF provided scents for perfume makers like Revlon and Estée Lauder. By extracting the pheromones from gypsy moths, it synthesized a sex attractant used by Jovan in perfumes for women and colognes for men.
Hank searched the world for a new taste or aroma to adapt to the marketplace. “In China they have floral preparations that make people go to sleep,” he once observed. “Fragrances operate on the same part of the brain as opiates. Maybe we can develop odor equivalents to Valium without the side-effects.” He called his business “the sex and hunger industry.”
At age fifty-seven, Hank Walter exuded health and vitality, capable of riding a bicycle across Manhattan to his office with the speed and dexterity of a messenger boy. With a nest of neatly coiffed hair and tight, tanned skin, he looked out at the world through thick glasses and with a cocksure smile. A Fortune magazine writer later described him as “one of the most distinctive chief executives I’ve ever met—an earthy, saucy kind of guy. . . . His language is earthy, rich in sexual allusion.”
In the office, he avoided the usual gray flannel of corporate chieftains and wore unconventional red suspenders, decorated sometimes by skunks or shamrocks. During
a tedious meeting with security analysts at a posh club in London, Hank stripped off his shirt and rubbed himself with IFF-scented lotion. “I think I woke them up,” he later said with a gleam in his eye.
 Helping to create the Monell Center in 1968, Hank theorized that women emitted pheromones that weren’t easily detected by the human nose. He wanted to develop fragrances that would “amplify the odor signal” or “sharpen the odor receptors.” Without
much difficulty, he enlisted Bill Masters to capitalize on the scents of love. They exchanged several letters over the years on this topic, with an occasional check enclosed for the clinic. Hank suggested several ideas to be pursued. “If you think the whole idea is crazy, please say so, or if you think some other variation of it is desirable, also please say so,” he told Bill in foisting his grand plan.
By far, their biggest success with Hank involved IFF-scented lotions used in sex therapy. Before entering the bedroom, couples received lotions with commercial fragrances, labeled by IFF as masculine or feminine. Four bouquet scents—floral; a mossy green; a floral/woody blend; and “oriental”—were feminine. Aromas on
the menu marked as masculine included lavender bouquet; modern
ambery; sweet bouquet; citrus bouquet; fresh citrus plus woody,
floral bouquet; and a sharp fragrance with balsamic notes.
If couples found one smell objectionable, they switched to another lotion, unscented if they preferred. Of one hundred couples studied, many enjoyed the sensual experience of massaging the glistening cream along their naked skin, helping them overcome their own hang-ups about seminal fluid or vaginal lubrication. Without any
clear-cut conclusions, Bill and Gini found that lotion rubbing could be an accurate barometer of difficulty ahead in the therapy. Of the eighteen couples who rejected the lotions as “juvenile, undignified, unmeaningful, or that they got nothing from the lotion,” more than three-quarters failed to reverse their overall sexual problems during the two-week treatment. In Human Sexual Inadequacy, the two researchers called for more comprehensive olfactory research, convinced they were on to something.
While Hank applauded his company’s contributions in treating sexual dysfunction, he pushed for commercial products for the general public. Imagine, he wrote to Bill, if the study of pheromones in human females could result in a “pleasurable fragrance” sprayed on millions? Were they on the verge of finding an aphrodisiac for the weary, a fountain of youth for the old and shriveled, an over-the-counter rival to the pill’s effectiveness in detecting ovulation in a way that not even the Vatican could object? If they could identify the pheromone that “marks the actual date of ovulation in each
cycle,” women could use it as a natural early-warning system “able
to avoid contraception by avoiding intercourse during the relatively
short fertile ovulatory period,” Hank theorized.
Undoubtedly, the possible bonanza from such a natural-based enticement was well worth an occasional $5,000 or $10,000 tax-deductible check from IFF and its affiliates. As a savvy patron, Hank appealed to Bill’s scientific curiosity, with the smell of money clearly in mind. “How can we best push forward this whole field of investigation?” he urged Bill. “The goals are high and the methodology does not risk interference with bodily function a la the pill or conflict with religious
teachings. The end product should be very cheap.”
While Bill valued this monetary contribution to the clinic, Gini steadily grew interested in Hank Walter himself. After the publication of Human Sexual Response in 1966, Hank’s staff
contacted Bill and Gini “as an exploratory thing, knowing who we were, by publicity,” she recalled. “They wanted to know if there was any interrelatedness between the kind of developmental work
that they did and what we did.”
With Hank’s help, Gini developed the idea of rubbing lotion across the skin as a “medium of exchange” between lovers during sensate therapy sessions. At times, she sounded like an Avon lady, talking so effusively about Hank’s specially designed product. “Gini was doing the smell research with the sensate [therapy] and at times it was as if she had trouble staying focused on the therapy,” said Dr. Marshall Shearer, one of the staffers in the early 1970s. “She would spend fifteen minutes talking about these scents, and another fifteen minutes interviewing them about which they liked better.”
Hank was an older, yet virile man of considerable accomplishment who showered Virginia with attention and delighted in her presence. More handsome than Masters and loaded with money, Hank promised to go anywhere in the world as long as she followed. But Hank was also married. For a time, his marital status may have made it easier for her to consider just a fling. Eventually, though, Hank came along on Virginia’s family vacations, such as a trip to a dude ranch, where their romance intensified and they conversed about being together permanently.
“Wherever I traveled, he would always join me, and that developed
it,” Virginia said. “He said, ‘It’s going to cost me several million
to really divest myself of this marriage I am in, but I will do it because
I want you with me all the time.’”
Despite her fame and increasing fortune after Human Sexual
Inadequacy appeared, Gini had never felt so vulnerable, so open to
such a tempting offer. With Hank’s sophisticated charm, his affection
and sexual magnetism, he offered her both love and escape.
After twelve exhausting years, she longed to leave her partnership with Bill, to give up the ceaseless scientific expedition. She knew full well that Bill had given her so much, the satisfaction of seeing her own theories translated and amazingly accepted by organized medicine. Yet her personal relationship with him, for all of its physical and professional intimacy, never had the tenderness of real love. She had learned to have sex with Bill—at first as part of the implicit job description, but eventually as a way to satisfy her own desires as an unmarried forty-year-old woman with children. She’d learned to become watchful of his moods, anticipate and tend to nearly all of his needs. But now that they had achieved their goals—appearing on television, newspapers, and the cover of Time
magazine—she wanted to let go, be free of Bill Masters.            
“I probably never had loved him,” Gini reflected years later. “We had in common a real devotion to a sexual relationship and that was probably the strongest common denominator that we had.”
Regardless of the complexities of their lives, getting married to Hank might be just the answer her family needed. Deep down, Gini felt remorse about the time she had spent away from her children while they were growing up. “The amount of time she spent in research laboratory was unbelievable,” Bill later wrote. “She was either actively working or on call seven days and three nights a week. In addition, she had two small children at home for whom she was
responsible. To this day, I don’t know how she managed.” She went through a series of housekeepers and babysitters who stayed with Scott and Lisa. Now that her kids were teenagers, she hoped to make
up for lost time. In this new life with Hank, she could change her name once more, so no one would bother her or her family.
Over time, however, their secret affair only became more tangled. During a business trip to New York, Hank invited Bill and Gini to his spacious Manhattan apartment where he lived with his wife, Rosalind. During World War II, Rosalind worked as a riveter building fighter planes on Long Island and supposedly inspired the song “Rosie the Riveter.”
“Roz was a dear lady and Bill and I were good friends with Hank,” Gini recalled. “We were in their home quite a lot.”
Neither Bill nor Roz seemed to sense a romance brewing between Gini and Hank. “She didn’t guess because she used to confide in me a lot,” said Gini, who felt a tinge of discomfort listening to Hank’s wife talk of their marriage, just as Libby talked about Bill. “It was a weird position to be in. He was charmed by her and she was a lovely, charming woman—I liked her very much. But they were just so out of tune with one another. There was nothing I could tell her. I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t make her into what he wanted, or vice versa.”
Years later, when asked about Gini’s claims that she’d considered marrying Hank, Rosalind Walter gave a blunt reply. “It makes sense,” Rosalind said. “She could join the group—a lot of ladies admired my husband.” Upon reflection, Rosalind expressed dismay about such claims, suggesting it was no one’s business, but acknowledged she was none the wiser at the time. “My husband was an extraordinarily intelligent and interesting person,” she said. “He was interested in the work that they did because of his business with IFF. He did pursue it and write about it and read everything they wrote and visited them. Other than that, I know nothing.”
Back in St. Louis, most staffers had no idea of Gini’s affair with one of their wealthiest patrons. In a clinic filled with secrets, this was the least known. Gini assumed Dr. Robert Kolodny might figure out what was going on because he dealt regularly with Hank on the clinic’s studies, yet she didn’t actually confide in him until years later.
“Gini at an earlier time told me that she seduced him,” Bob Kolodny recalled. “I think she sort of hinted around at that. I find it very hard to believe [though] that he would have divorced his wife.” While very different in style, Kolodny liked Hank Walter, who spoke with the confidence of a self-made man and fancied himself a bit of a Casanova. “He talked with me rather boastfully over a few dinners and a bottle of wine about his sexual escapades around the world,” said Kolodny. “He certainly painted very clearly that he felt he could seduce just about any woman around. And he recognized part of that was the allure of his wealth.”
Bill remained clueless until Hank took one of his visits to the St. Louis clinic. Usually on these occasions, Masters and sometimes Kolodny would join Gini in taking their New York patron out to a local restaurant. On this particular night, though, Gini left her kids with the housekeeper so she could entertain Hank alone. That night, she had a marvelous time with him, laughing and conversing about their dreams of seeing the world together. Nights like these reminded her of how much she enjoyed being with him.
When she finally arrived home, Gini discovered that Bill had telephoned
her all night, to no avail. “I got home and my housekeeper
had a whole series of notes of the time of that evening that he
called—all these messages from my housekeeper, with the times
11:30, 12:45, 1:50—the number of times that Bill had called,” recalled
Gini. “That night, I wasn’t home and he knew that this man
was in town, so he [Bill] put two and two together. He was not a
stupid man. So he read the handwriting on the wall there, and
that’s when he got into gear.”
The next day at the clinic, Bill confronted her about Hank. She had never seen her partner so upset with her. His face wasn’t angry as much as worried; his whole demeanor appeared thrown for a loss. “Bill was really afraid that I would marry him,” she said.
“He was startled.”
She made no attempt at hiding the truth of her relationship with this other man. Whatever doubts she harbored about marrying Hank, she didn’t show them. At this point, Bill didn’t deserve any more information than she was willing to reveal. She didn’t want to be manipulated or talked out of doing the right thing for herself and her children. For years, he’d known of her intent to marry again. Bill’s own actions seemed to assume she would never act upon her personal wishes as long as their work remained compelling, as long as their duplicitous affair remained satisfying and concealed, as long as Libby stayed home with the kids, and as long as the income and renown continued from their Masters and Johnson name.
“If you leave, the work will be destroyed!” insisted Bill. He
looked like a man who was about to lose everything.
For the first time in his life, Bill wasn’t sure what Gini might
do. He knew Hank was a formidable contender, a man quite capable
of providing anything she wanted or needed.
Perhaps Bill felt jealous, suddenly realizing that the “perfect woman” he had
trained and elevated was about to leave him. He didn’t plan to stand
around and watch their partnership fall apart. Convinced this threat
was real, Bill resolved to do something about it.