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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

HARDBALL's Chris Matthews Reviews and Praises WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys; Chartwell Bulletin Offers Interview with Author

There's a terrific review of WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys" contained in The Churchill Centre's latest newsletter, The Chartwell Bulletin, which is written by television Hardball's Chris Matthews. You can read it all here on their website and you can also take a peek at my interview with Chris Matthews on Hardball recently and Chris's televised editorial about Churchill and Kennedy citing my book. (Many thanks to Chris, an author and journalist I've long admired). 
Along with the review, the Churchill Centre also offered this interview with me about the new book.
Hope you enjoy!

When_Lions_Roar_DJAuthor of When Lions Roar: The Churchills and The Kennedys
Discusses His Book With The Chartwell Bulletin


Thomas 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 theChartwell 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

To learn more about Winston Churchill, please visit www.winstonchurchill.org.

Best TV of the Year? NYTimes, Variety, Rolling Stone and Others Call "Masters of Sex" one of TV's top programs in 2014: "Never Plays It Safe", says RS, a fitting tribute.


The New York Times, Variety, Rolling Stone include "MASTERS OF SEX" on their best of the year lists. In talking about the "Fight" episode from Season 2 this year, Rolling Stone said:
"The episode "Fight" sums up everything that makes Masters of Sex so devastating. The 1950s sex researchers — played by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan — sneak off to a posh hotel, under fake names, for a little horizontal (and vertical) (plus diagonal) lab work. Strictly business, all in the name of science. But all the bedroom role-playing opens up the NSFW feelings they spend the rest of their lives ignoring. They expose the flesh under their bathrobes — as well as way too much of the pain under their flesh. An hour of erotic agony, from a drama that never plays it safe.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys: Several Good Reasons to Learn about JFK, Winston Churchill and Their Dynasty


  1. "When Lions Roar makes for riveting reading from start to finish.” – WASHINGTON POST
  2. "When Lions Roar -- you gotta get this book," HARDBALL's Chris Matthews.
  3. "A captivating chronicle" -- USA TODAY.
  4. "I want that -- I'm bringing that home!" Mika Brzezinski, MORNING JOE
  5. “A well-researched historical masterpiece.” –BookReporter.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chris Matthews' HARDBALL gives high praise for "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys", talking about these two great families with author. Then Chris weighs in with his own editorial about Winston Churchill and JFK.


For many years, I've admired the work of Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC's "HARDBALL". And so, I was delighted that he read all of "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys" and invited me on the show. We talked about the impact of Churchill on JFK, and about the relationship of fathers and sons in these dynastic families.


And after our segment, Chris weighed in again with an editorial about "WHEN LIONS ROAR" with his own thoughts about Churchill and JFK.


Thanks again to Chris Matthews and the HARDBALL producers for all your kind words!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Compare Churchill and JFK? Watch HARDBALL on Monday 12/8 at 7PM For Discussion about WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys.

I'm scheduled to be on HARDBALL Monday night to talk with host Chris Matthews about my new book WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys. Hope you enjoy! -Thomas Maier


Salon Runs Excerpt from WHEN LIONS ROAR: What Young Churchill Learned -- or Didn't-- from that American Sage Mark Twain: Read the Excerpt from the Book


When Mark Twain roasted Winston Churchill: Two master wits on the same stageMark Twain, Winston Churchill (Credit: Wikimedia/AP)
Nov. 30 marks the 140th birthday of the famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965), whose leadership during World War II made him unforgettable to Americans. This excerpt from “When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys,” by Thomas Maier (Crown), which appeared in Salon, 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 theFerdinand 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.
THOMAS MAIER is the author of four books, including The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings and Masters of Sex, the basis for the Showtime series.

Monday, December 1, 2014

WHEN LIONS ROAR Gets Great Review in Washington Post; Talking about Churchills and Kennedys on Morning Joe; also check out Salon excerpt





Book review: What The Washington Post said:


"Weaving the life stories of nearly 30 Churchills and Kennedys into a seamless narrative, Maier smartly anchors his reportage on the clans’ larger-than-life cornerstones: Winston Churchill and Joseph Kennedy. The sheer accumulation of colorful anecdotes in “When Lions Roar” makes for riveting reading from start to finish.... Maier documents the two patriarchs’ ups and downs during the war quite well. It rains espionage, skullduggery, adultery and parlor gossip in the World War II chapters. But it’s Maier’s ability to substantiate various bold claims with original Cold War-era research that is most impressive. His most startling revelation has to do with Churchill’s clamor to drop atomic weapons on the Soviet Union in the early Truman years. Although estranged during World War II, Churchill and Kennedy became Cold War allies in their searing distrust of the Soviet Union. Maier writes brilliantly about Churchill’s historic visit to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., on March 5, 1946. ...By the 1960s, the drama shifts to Churchill’s son Randolph, as well as Kennedy’s son Jack. Maier does an admirable job of documenting JFK’s lifelong obsession with all things Churchill. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Is the Kennedy-Roosevelt-Churchill liquor Deal one of History's great political mysteries? Read WHEN LIONS ROAR To Find Out

      Did Joe Kennedy offer a bribe, a gratuity or just a friendly stock tip to Winston Churchill in gaining a 1933 British liquor deal at the end of Prohibition with the help of President Roosevelt's son Jimmy? Why didn't we know about this secret deal that involved two presidential families and the future British Prime Minister?

     In Sunday's Washington Post review of WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys by Thomas Maier (Crown), historian Douglas Brinkley writes:
 "Churchill obtained a lucrative portion of stock in two U.S. companies associated with Kennedy in what reeks as influence-buying. This coincided with Kennedy's getting a post-Prohibition franchise to ship scotch and other liquor to the United States. Both Churchill and Kennedy come off as slippery businessmen, playing just within the legal margins."
JFK's personal items on display in Kennedy Presidential Museum
Read more in Time.com which has the whole story about this Kennedy-Roosevelt-Churchill liquor deal in this excerpt from WHEN LIONS ROAR: 
http://time.com/3529756/kennedy-churchill-roosevelt-investment-deal/

Sunday, November 9, 2014

USA Today Calls WHEN LIONS ROAR "a captivating chronicle'; Bookreporter calls it "A well-researched historical masterpiece" which makes news with London's DAILY MAIL and around the world

WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys is just out in hardcover from Random House's Crown and has gained worldwide attention and some outstanding reviews from the critics. 

1. CRITICAL ACCLAIM: This week, USA TODAY calls it "a captivating chronicle" shedding new light on this untold story between the two well-known families. As for character-driven drama, here's what America's biggest newspaper said:
WHEN LIONS ROAR is "a captivating chronicle of the surprisingly many ways that Winston Churchill and Joseph P. Kennedy (and their progeny) crossed paths (and swords) over the course of the 20th century...What Maier beautifully factors in is the effect of these struggles on the children. When Lions Roar zeroes in on Kennedy's eldest two boys – the doomed, fair-haired Joe, Jr., who echoed all of his father's repugnant views, and the invalid Jack, who ultimately escaped them – pointedly contrasting Kennedy's loving, dutiful, dominated scions with Churchill and his only son, the gifted, yet agonizingly self-destructive Randolph."
http://usat.ly/1xk7Rsk

"A well-researched historical masterpiece," said BOOKREPORTER.com, the industry website. "WHEN LIONS ROAR is a lengthy but masterful dual biography and a genuine tribute to the two families whose public and private lives became intertwined."


LIBRARY JOURNAL: "In this fascinating dual biography ... Maier delves into archives on both sides of the Atlantic to bring to his narrative an impressive grasp of the two clans and the rich array of personalities that interacted with them over the decades. This is a book that cannot be put down, and its wealth of details, smoothly told, will hold the reader's attention from beginning to end. An excellent work for all history collections, especially those devoted to 20th-century political history.”

2. BLOCKBUSTER FINDINGS: TIME magazine ran a big book excerpt revealing the secret deal of how Joe Kennedy enlisted the help of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt's son to make a fortune selling British liquor in America as Prohibition ended in 1933. 
http://time.com/author/thomas-maier/

3. WORLDWIDE REACTION: In London this weekend, The DAILY MAIL covered the story from my book about how an FBI memo says Churchill urged the US to drop the atomic bomb on the Kremlin during Cold War. That story has now made headlines around the world. http://dailym.ai/10JU5DD

4. TV TIE-IN: Random House, as part of the promotion, even asked me to write how WHEN LIONS ROAR would be cast if made into a television series like Masters of Sex. 
http://www.wordandfilm.com/2014/10/casting-kennedy-churchill-masters-sex-writer/


I hope you enjoy WHEN LIONS ROAR. It's got two wars, spying for the Nazis and at the Vatican, White political intrigue, ambitious families, plenty of sex among powerful men and women, shady business deals, and a memorable story about famous fathers and their sons.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Winston Churchill's 'bid to nuke Russia' to win Cold War - uncovered in secret FBI files: London's Daily Mail Quotes From WHEN LION ROAR

In London, The Daily Mail on Sunday is quoting "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys," about an FBI memo claiming Winston Churchill urged the US to nuke the Soviet Union in 1947. To read the whole story click here. 


   As the DAILY MAIL ONLINE reports, "the memo is published for the first time in a book called When Lions Roar: The Churchills And The Kennedys, by award-winning investigative journalist Thomas Maier. It is due to be published in Britain next month. John F. Kennedy regarded Churchill as his hero and made him an honorary American citizen in 1963 – the first person to be given such an accolade.



An excerpt from the book appeared on the ICIJ website:


Friday, November 7, 2014

Investigative Reporting Involved with "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys" -- Interview with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists As Part of Churchill A-Bomb Excerpt


International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The World’s Best Cross-Border Investigative Team

'LET DOCUMENTS BE YOUR GUIDE' TO INVESTIGATIVE WRITING

Thomas MaierICIJ member Thomas MaierICIJ member Thomas Maier is an award-winning investigative journalist at Newsday. He has written five books, including Masters of Sex - the basis for the Showtime series - and the newly-published When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys, of which his publisher, Random House’s Crown, says “never before has there been a sweeping study of the complex and long-standing relationship that existed between these two families—and the profound effects of that association on history.”
What sparked your interest in this particular topic?
America in our times has been the focus of all my biographies, including this one about the Anglo-American “special relationship” between the Churchills and the Kennedys. Generally, I choose individuals or families who I hope will fascinate readers but also provide a deeper understanding about the times we live in and what they mean. 
After finishing Masters of Sex—with its detailing of the intricate personal lives of Masters and Johnson—I wanted to write a big historical saga, the sort that you might find in Tolstoy (or for the TV crowd, George R. R. Martin) with family dynasties, wars, wealth, passion, and politics. Joseph P. Kennedy and Winston Churchill were born into a world vastly different than that of their sons, and what’s more, the Kennedy and Churchill families were instrumental in changing it on both sides of the Atlantic. 
As an investigative historian, I seek out new information that other historians have yet to uncover. InWhen Lions Roar, there are ground-breaking disclosures about the many overlapping relationships between the families and friends of British prime minister Winston Churchill and U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Some of the best stories hide in plain sight for years. I was surprised to realize no one had ever put together all these connections into a larger dramatic narrative. 
How did you go about writing this book, and what sort of research was involved?
For more than 30 years, I’ve worked as an investigative reporter so this work has taught me to let documents be my guide to history. I have accumulated files that overflow with letters, diary notes, financial statements, old photos, and transcripts of oral histories. 
For this book, I put together a writing outline in my computer that totaled some 230,000 words—about the size of the finished text. Yes, investigative reporters tend to turn over every rock in researching a story, but this training has proved invaluable in seeking out new information about two families as extraordinarily well-known as the Churchills and the Kennedys. 
That was certainly the case in finding and examining the documents that reveal the previously unknown aspects of the liquor deal involving the Kennedys, the Churchills, and President Roosevelt’s son. What my book shows for the first time is that Winston Churchill obtained a lucrative amount of stock in two U.S. companies associated with Joseph P. Kennedy in an apparent “pay to play” arrangement, around the same time Kennedy received British approval to ship Scotch whiskey and other liquor to America as Prohibition was ending. A 1933 London trip by Kennedy and James Roosevelt, the son of FDR, helped secure the liquor contracts and involved a meeting with the financially troubled Churchill at his estate, Chartwell Manor. Using previously unreleased documents, my book shows how both Kennedy and Churchill benefitted from this arrangement and how President Roosevelt became alarmed when he learned that his son James was involved in this secret deal.
In another example from my research, FBI records showed Churchill favored dropping the atom bomb on Soviet Union in the early days of Cold War. Shortly after World War II ended with devastating atomic bomb explosions in Japan that killed more than 100,000 people, the former British Prime Minister suggested, privately, that the U.S. strike first against the Soviet Union before the Communist-run government developed the nuclear weapon. According to these FBI records, Churchill urged Sen. Styles Bridges, a conservative Republican active in foreign affairs, to push for a preemptive and devastating A-bomb attack on Moscow, a recent ally during the war.
Many documents about the Kennedys and Churchills have become available only in the past decade or so, and this book benefitted greatly from these new revelations.
When Lions Roar book coverWhy do you think this book is important, and what surprises can readers expect?
In large measure, When Lions Roar re-writes history. The conventional wisdom portrays the Churchills and Kennedys as antagonists due to their opposed views on Allied engagement in World War II. For many months, British prime minister Winston Churchill attempted to enlist the U.S. in his battle against Hitler, while U.S. ambassador Joe Kennedy in London tried to keep isolationist America out of the conflict for fear of seeing his young sons killed. 
For reasons that I explain in the book, the friendly connections in the mid-1930s between the two families weren’t known beyond a handful of associates, mainly to avoid potential political embarrassment and scandal. In my book, I describe the very important relationships that both families, and generations, had with press magnate Lord Beaverbrook, wealthy financier Bernard Baruch, writer Clare Boothe Luce, Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and the little-known Kay Halle, and a slew of other significant figures of the 20th century. 
The stage for this drama is played out over two wars, several presidential campaigns, and across the White House, Parliament, and the inner sanctum of the Vatican. Add to that fateful battles in the South Pacific, North Africa, and the D-Day shores of Normandy and you have a sense of the terrain. 
However, the small, intimate discoveries about the two families found in their personal letters were often the most memorable to me. For instance, people don’t know much about JFK’s 1958 visit with Winston Churchill aboard Aristotle Onassis’s yacht in the Mediterranean—a meeting that would be the first time Ari met Jackie Kennedy. I think readers will be surprised to learn JFK’s sister Kick was best friends with Pamela Churchill, the prime minister’s daughter-in-law, who was nearly killed in the same fatal plane crash that took Kick’s life in 1948. I certainly didn’t know much about the World War II spy case that haunted the Kennedys for years afterward or Winston Churchill’s provocative view about atomic warfare at the start of the Cold War. 
Though rancor still existed between the two families because of World War II, it slowly dissipated as JFK became president in 1960, assuming many of the global challenges that Churchill had tried to manage with the fading British Empire. I found a surprising amount of friendly interaction between this next generation—Winston’s son Randolph and Jackie and Bobby Kennedy—though it was generally kept out of the public eye, not unlike the families’ initial relationship. I was also surprised when I learned Bobby Kennedy wanted Randolph Churchill, the prime minister’s son, to become JFK’s biographer after Randolph finished writing a biography of his father. When Lions Roar explains how Randolph became friends with Jackie after JFK’s assassination, and how Randolph gave a gift to JFK Jr., the deceased president’s son, that would connect the two dynasties forever in history.
Churchill, the atom bomb, and the Iron Curtain - an excerpt from Thomas Maier's When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys
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