Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London was a very fine read and a sequel of sorts to her previous work, Troublesome Young Men. That book was a wonderful choice for table reading as well. In both books, the key figure in the background is Winston Churchill at the time of World War II. The first book describes his rise to power at the beginning of World War II by looking at the activities of those young MPs who successfully organized to have him become Prime Minister. In this new book, Olson concentrates on the American presence in London during the war. Churchill appears on nearly every page, but the direct focus of the book is on three prominent Americans: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and Gil Winant.
Of these three perhaps the most interesting is the least well-known, Winant, who became the American Ambassador to the U.K after the end of Joseph Kennedy’s term. Even though Winant had been a governor of New Hampshire, he is virtually unknown, even to those of us living in the Granite State. Olson does a wonderful job of telling his story, not only his love of the Bow Hills outside Concord, NH, where he went to school at St. Paul’s, but also his steadfast support for the British during the grave difficulties of World War II. More than one monk was inspired to visit his grave or Winant Park in Concord.